HOLLYWOOD - Manny Pacquiao is not taking chances against late-replacement opponent Yordenis Ugas.
Pacquiao can see himself in Ugas
He was once like Ugas himself.
Pacquiao also vied for a world title at the last minute back in 2001 when he challenged the late Lehlo Ledwaba for the International Boxing Federation (IBF) super-bantamweight crown in his first ever U.S. bout.
A heavy underdog back then, the now 42-year-old Pacquiao stunned the boxing world when he scored a sixth-round TKO opposite the dethroned champion from South Africa.
Now a Philippine senator, Pacquiao disclosed the offer to fight Ledwaba came a day before he was booked for a flight back to Manila
"I was a day away from going home to the Philippines when the fight was offered to me," he recalled. "I was so excited. This was a great opportunity for me. There was no way I was going to pass it up."
Pacquiao said he was in good shape that time as his partnership with trainer Freddie Roach was just starting back then.
Pacquiao's legend began following that huge win over Ledwahba.
Now Ugas, 35, is in the same boat as Pacquiao 20 years ago.
And no way Pacquiao is going to be confident against the Cuban title holder of the WBA welterweight belt.
"Ugas is in a similar situation. And he too is ready to make the most of this opportunity," he said.
"I am not taking him for granted. In fact I am taking him as seriously as I took Errol Spence," added Pacquiao. "I will not make the same mistake Ledwaba made with me."
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