Pacquiao Drops Close Decision To Ugas
By William Trillo
Photos: Ryan Hafey - Premier Boxing Champions
In front of over 17,000 true boxing fans at The T-Mobile
in Las Vegas Welterweight Manny Pacquiao (62-8-2,
39,KOís) and Yordenis Ugas (27-4, 12 KOís) put it all on
the line for the WBA Super World Welter Title. Coming in
as the late replacement Ugas had a lot to prove, even
though he was the champ. As it turns out he did all that
As the bout started Pacquiao looked like he always does,
bouncing on his feet, moving in and out rapidly and
landing quick punches. For his part Ugas, who looked
much bigger, stood his ground as Pacquiao attacked. As
Pacquiao was surveying the landscape and timing the
punches of Ugas he was surprisingly met with a stiff
right hand that caught his attention. Ugas is good and
he wasnít about to be intimidated by the legend that is
It was clear as round three was underway that we were
watching a very good and hard-hitting battle. Over the
course of the next few rounds this was an exciting give
and take affair that had the crowd roaring with
It was during round six that for the first time we began
to see the hints of a tiring and aging warrior. Pacquiao
was starting to get hit often with Ugas punches and he
was unable to retaliate. As the rounds went on Ugas body
language told the story. He was confident in the ring
and he was taking charge.
Heading into the championship rounds, the fight was
close, but for Manny to pull this one out he was going
to have to summon all his strength and a little bit of
his former self to get by the determined Ugas.
It was not to be. Ugas rocked Pacquiao twice in round
eleven with sharp concussive blows. Manny did not go
down but he was in trouble. His punches were falling
short and he was unable to stay out of the way of
anything Ugas was throwing. To be blunt, by the twelfth
round Pacquiao could not avoid getting hit at all. Ugas
was dominant to the end and as the final bell rang he
raised his hands in victory, and rightly so.
The fight went to the judges scorecards and they all saw
it in favor of Ugas with scores of 115-113 and 116-112
On his victory Ugas stated, ďIím very excited but, most
of all, I want to thank Manny Pacquiao for giving me
this moment in the ring today. I told you, I am the
champion of the WBA and I showed it tonight. Iím very
emotional. A lot of people say Cubans canít win the big
fight. So, Iím very proud that I got this win for Cuba
and showed what we are all about.Ē
It was a good entertaining fight although it was
difficult to watch one of boxing long time stars age
right in front of our eyes. But to his credit, Manny was
gracious as always in defeat and he had nothing but
praise his opponent. Pacquiao left a small crack in the
door for possibly one more fight but itís hard to
imagine he would return to the ring anytime time soon,
if ever. Manny has nothing to prove and if he left the
game today, he could walk away with his head held high.
After his loss Manny shared, ďCongratulations to Ugas
and his team. Thank you to all of you. I want to thank
all my fans and the media. For many decades, the press,
media and boxing fans were always behind us, supporting
us. Thatís why weíre here, why we became popular and why
we accomplished our dreams as a fighter. I am a fighter
outside and inside the ring. I look forward to returning
to the Philippines and helping them during this
pandemic. In the future you may not see Manny Pacquiao
in the ring. I donít know. Let me rest first, relax and
make a decision if Iíll continue to fight or not.Ē
Featherweight Mark Magsayo (23-0, 16 KOís) scored an
impressive KO over Julio Ceja (32-5-1, 28, KOís) in this
rock-em sock-em attraction. Only seconds into the fight
a sharp left hand pulverized Ceja who went down with a
crash. It looked as if it might be over quickly. But a
resilient Ceja not only arose but went on to start doing
some real damage of his own.
No sooner said than done and now it was Magsayo who
found himself on the receiving end of a punch that would
put him on the seat of his pants in round five. Ceja had
seemingly took complete control of the bout, but that
was about to change. It was just seconds into round ten
when Magsayo uncorked a double right hand combination.
Ceja was out before he hit the deck. No need to count
here, Ceja wasnít getting up anytime soon. It was a
spectacular by KO by the Filipino Magsayo who not only
made himself the number one featherweight contender in
the WBC but may have also made himself the heir apparent
to fellow countryman Manny Pacquiao.
After the fight a jubilant Magsayo declared, "Iím so
glad for the outcome. I expected his style to make it
happen and I expected a knockout tonight. I got knocked
down and was surprised, but I focused my mind on what I
wanted, a world championship shot. Itís my dream today
and now itís coming true. Hopefully my next fight is a
world title shot."
Featherweight Carlos Castro (27-0, 12 KOís) was met by a
fierce early attack by Oscar Escandon (26-6, 18 KOís)
but was able to weather the storm in the early rounds.
By the middle rounds Castro had turned the tide of
events and was handing Escandon a good beating.
It was in the tenth and final round that Castro
unleashed a flurry of blows that dropped Escandon and
left him without his wits. Escandon beat the count but
it was clear he was in no shape to continue. The bout
was halted at at 1:08 mark of round ten. With the
victory Castro snagged the vacant WBC Continental
Americas Feather Title.
After his performance Castro said, "Escandon has been in
there with the best. Heís gone a lot of rounds with
world champions. But it was just a matter of time,
picking our punches. I sat down a little more on my
shots. Iíve been with Manny Robles for only four months.
With a little more time, I think weíll be able to
dominate the division. Whatís next is up to my
promoters. Iím going to take some time off to spend time
with my family, thank my coaches and enjoy the victory."
The next time you input the words ďugly fightĒ into your
favorite search engine itís very likely the first photo
that will appear will be the contest between
Welterweights Victor Ortiz (32-7-3, 25 KOís) and Robert
Guerrero (37-6-1, 20 KOís). Headbutts caused a gash over
the eye of Ortiz after the third round. More of the same
put an angry mouse under the left eye of Guerrero a few
Those would be the highlights, unless of course you want
to count the boo-birds who appeared in round seven and
remained until the end of the fight. Officially all
three judges saw this one 96-94 in favor of Guerrero.
Featherweight John Dato (14-1-1, 9 KOís) tasted defeat
for the first time at the hands of Angel Antonio
Contreras (11-4-2, 6 KOís). Contreras dropped and
bloodied Dato en route to a unanimous decision victory.
The judges scored the bout 78-73, 77-74, and 77-74, all
in the favor of Contreras.
Light Heavyweights Burley Brooks (6-2-1, 5 KOís) and
Cameron Sevilla Rivera (9-6-4, 6 KOís) opened the Las
Vegas show with a lackluster six round draw. Final
scores tallied 58-56 Rivera, 59-55 Brooks and 57-57
Lightweight Mikel Clements made the most of his
Pro-debut by scoring a unanimous decision victory over
Eliseo Villalobos (1-2).