Manny Pacquiao, a 4-1 favorite, failed to live up to his billing due to cramping in both legs that hindered the movement he required to neutralize WBA welterweight super champion Yordenis Ugás’ length in their 12-round fight at the T-Mobile Arena last Saturday night, Aug. 21. (Sunday morning, Aug. 22, Manila time).
In the second round, Pacquiao felt his right calf cramp, and the problem spread to his hamstring. His left leg suffered the same fate not long after, rendering him unable to use his speed to generate angles and find an opening to pummel Ugás. Fighting a lengthier opponent straight up was frustrating for Pacquiao because he couldn’t get away from Ugás’ startling left jab. Pacquiao’s strategy was to spin away from Ugás, flip him around, and remove his firing position. He couldn’t carry out the strategy if he didn’t have mobility.
Pacquiao, on the other hand, was not about to give up. After six rounds, the three judges, Dave Moretti, Patricia Morse Jarman, and Steve Weisfeld, had it tied at 57-57, but Pacquiao wilted as Ugás ramped up his offensive. For Ugás, Moretti and Weisfeld won five of the last six rounds, while Jarman won four. It was 116-112 for Moretti and Weisfeld, and 115-113 for Jarman, all for Ugás.
“I had Manny winning after six,” said Freddie Roach. “But you need movement to beat a guy like Ugás.” MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons said Pacquiao didn’t disappoint. “Styles make fights and it’s difficult to battle someone with arms that drop down to his legs,” he said. “When (Errol) Spence (Jr.) backed out, we could’ve cancelled the event but Manny wanted to do it for the fans. At hindsight, maybe Spence would’ve been more of a match for Manny. For a 42-year-old, Manny wasn’t bad at all. He put up a good fight. He just couldn’t hit Ugás cleanly because he didn’t have the legs.”
Pacquiao apologized to the fans for the loss but didn’t need to. After Ugás was declared the winner by a unanimous decision, Pacquiao took the setback like a man and thanked the fans for their support. The crowd responded by chanting “Manny, Manny, Manny,” indicating he remained the pride of the Philippines, no matter what. Buboy Fernandez, who worked Pacquiao’s corner with Roach and cutman Mike Rodriguez, briefly took over from Roach to enter the ring in between rounds to massage the fighter’s legs.
“‘Di makagalaw ang kaibigan ko kaya sabi ko, target na lang muna siya at huwag magpatama,” Fernandez said, holding back the tears in the dressing room after the fight. “Ayaw kong makita ang kaibigan ko nasasaktan. Pero wala akong masabi, si Ugás ang nanalo, gabi niya ito. ‘Di pa tapos ang laban, babangon uli tayo.” Fernandez said during training camp, Pacquiao would sometimes take a rest because of recurring pain in his legs. “Nangyayari ‘yan, ‘di natin masabi kung bakit at kung minsan, darating na lang sa laban,” he said.
Source: MSN Sports