As WBA welterweight titleholder Yordenis Ugas gets set to put his belt on the line against a legend in Manny Pacquiao this weekend, Ugas tells Yahoo Sports that he’s been preparing for this moment for quite some time. And while this specific moment did pop up rather unexpectedly, he’s still ready to show the world what he’s got as he’s fighting for much more than himself.
“I’m a fighter not only inside of the ring, but outside of the ring I fight for the freedom of my people,” Ugas said. “That’s the most important thing to me. I hope everyone fighting for freedom in Cuba is safe and knows that I’ll be fighting for them on Saturday.”
Ugas is well aware that Pacquiao is the betting favorite heading into this fight and that’s precisely why he wants to prove his mettle as he’s had to overcome his own challenges to become world titleholder — even if Pacquiao has been critical of the way he got his strap.
“When I went away from boxing, I was focused on family and spending time with my son. At that time, I never thought I would be defending a title against Manny Pacquiao. But for the past five years I’ve been one of the most active and successful boxers out there and I’m ready to prove myself once again.”
Ugas, 35, has won three consecutive fights since losing a much debated split decision to Shawn Porter in early 2019 and with a win here will solidify his claim as a top flight welterweight.