LAS VEGAS – Enjoy and savor the fight.
It could be the final time the boxing world may see the greatness of a Manny Pacquiao as the Philippines’ beloved son vies for yet another world championship 23 years after winning his very first title.
Pacquiao, 42, challenges reigning champion Yordenis Ugas of Cuba for the WBA welterweight title on Saturday at the 20,000-seater T-Mobile Arena (Sunday, Manial time) in a 12-round bout presumed to be the last in his distinguished boxing career.
Speculations have been swirling around about the curtains finally falling on the career of one of the greatest boxers of all-time, with the Filipino senator reportedly eyeing the presidency of the land by next year’s national elections.
The only eight-division world champion has not committed if this would really be his final dance, but vows to give fight fans a performance worth remembering.
“This could be my last, or there could be more,” said Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs), who weighed in at 146 lbs. “I’m turning 43 in December, and my plan has always been to just go one fight at a time.
“I encourage the fans all over the world to watch this fight, because you never know.”
This was supposed to be a special fight that features two of the best welterweights today as Pacquiao was set to meet American Errol Spence, who holds both the WBC and IBF crowns, in a highly-anticipated showdown — one of the biggest boxing events scheduled at this time of the pandemic.
But a tear on his retina forced Spence, 31, to withdraw from the bout 10 days from its scheduled date, paving the way for Ugas to step up to the plate and take the fight on short notice.
The 35-year-old Ugas was a bemedalled boxer of the Cuban national team and boasts of having fought over 500 amateur bouts.
Yet, in the 30 fights Ugas (26-4, 12 KOs) had so far as a pro, the only significant fighter he’d fought was former world champion Shawn Porter, who scored a split decision against him in 2019 to win the WBC 147-lbs division.
None though, was in the same level as the Pacman.
But Ugas vowed he’ll prove he belongs with Pacquiao as the Cuban said on record he’ll spoil the farewell party of the Filipino legend should this be his last fight.
“I’m here to wreck any future plans Manny Pacquiao has in the ring and make sure that Saturday is his last fight,” said the Cuban champion, who exactly tipped in at 147 lbs.
Ugas said Pacquiao still has his highest respect, referring to him as a legend.
“But all respect is finished once when we get into the ring,” he stressed.
The third man on the ring will be Russell Mora, while Dave Moretti, Patricia Morse Jarman, and Steve Weisfeld are the three judges scoring the fight.