On Saturday night, Manny Pacquiao suffered his eighth professional defeat, losing a clear and fair decision to Yordenis Ugas in a pay-per-view welterweight title battle.
This loss felt more final than any other in his career, including a brutal knockout against Juan Manuel Marquez in 2012 and a dismal night against Floyd Mayweather in 2015.
Pacquiao is 42 years old and has a record of 62-8-2 with 39 knockouts. In just over two years, he hadn’t fought. And, from a spectator’s perspective, he didn’t have the sense of still being Manny Pacquiao in the ring.
Even when he was flailing and missing against Mayweather, he felt like Pacquiao, despite the fact that he was past his prime at the time. Marquez was still winning the fight even when he iced him. Even in 2019, when Keith Thurman rallied to make the fight a tight one on the scorecards, he fought like Pacquiao for the majority of the fight.
On Saturday, however, it was simply not there. He didn’t move much at all, making him a lot more stationary target than usual, and he admitted afterward that his legs were “tight.” He used a lot more arm punches than normal. He couldn’t solve the puzzle that Ugas (27-4, 12 KO) posed, and he never got into a rhythm or gained any continuous momentum in the fight.
For much of the bout, Ugas was able to keep Pacquiao at bay and off-balance with a powerful jab and a looping right hand, preventing him from settling in like Manny Pacquiao and getting the battle on his terms. It wasn’t the most intricate or fantastic plan from Ugas and his crew, but it was done flawlessly — and, perhaps more crucially, Pacquiao just didn’t have the legs or the energy to fight back.
After the bout, the general consensus was that Pacquiao was fortunate that Errol Spence Jr was not in the ring with him on Saturday. Spence, who was forced to withdraw from the bout due to an eye injury, is a harder hitter than Ugas, and Pacquiao could have been a sitting duck if he hadn’t created his famous angles and come in with those powerful bursts of attack.
Of again, styles influence bouts, so even a fit Spence might not have done any better or any worse than Ugas. In that form, Pacquiao couldn’t beat Spence on Saturday, and he couldn’t beat Ugas either.
And you have to worry if Manny Pacquiao will want to fight again if that’s where he’s at today. Manny didn’t commit to a response, although he had stated before the fight that this could be his final fight. As I have stated, Pacquiao appears to be a man who will not want to stay in the boxing game just because he is still excellent, because he is still good. Manny Pacquiao will not continue in boxing if he cannot look himself in the mirror and really feel he is the best in the world and can beat anyone at his weight class.
Should he call it a day? Yes, in my opinion. For the past 15 years, I’ve had the honor of attending every live Manny Pacquiao bout and covering them for my website. He’s a true legend and icon, and one of the best of all time.
Manny Pacquiao was known for throwing a few good punches, pounding his fists together, and encouraging his opponents. He’d growl back if you landed on him. That is no longer the case. On Saturday, we didn’t see that guy. It’s unlikely that it will come back to him at his age.
If that’s all there was to it, then kudos to a truly all-time great. There may be nothing else he can prove at the top levels, but he may also go knowing he doesn’t have to show anything else.
Source: MSN Sports