This weekend Yordenis Ugas will be stepping in between the ropes to take on Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao, who had been training to face unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr, who was forced out of the fight with an eye injury.
And while Ugas might not be considered as formidable opponent as Spence, Pacquiao knows he can’t afford to look past this fight as he himself was once served as a late replacement Lehlohonolo Ledwala — a fight that would catapult his career.
“This was a great opportunity. There was no way I was going to pass it up. Freddie and I worked every day those two weeks until the weigh-in. That is how we started to get to know each other. Ugas is in a similar situation. He was already training for a welterweight title fight on the same card as mine so he, too, is ready to make the most of this opportunity. I know what Ugas is feeling because 20 years ago I was Ugas.”
Pacquiao continued by saying that he’s taking Ugas just as seriously as he was taking Spence and is eager to show the world that he still has the very same desire to compete as he’s always had. This opportunity also provides Pacquiao a chance to regain his WBA title that was handed to Ugas, and if Ugas wants to keep the belt he’ll have to earn it the hard way.
“My title was given to Ugas. That is not how you become a champion. You earn it by winning it inside the ring. We will fight for the title. That is the proper way a champion is crowned.”
Pacquiao and Ugas will collide this weekend on FOX PPV which will be Pacquiao’s first time back in the ring since a 2019 decision win over former welterweight world champion Keith Thurman.