Combat sports are notoriously cruel to fighters who stick around too long, and that’s just as true for legends and G.O.A.T.s as it is for simple journeymen. Last night (Sat., Aug. 21, 2021), 42-year-old Manny Pacquiao showed his age in a decision loss to 35-year-old Yordenis Ugas, who retained his WBA (Super) Welterweight title.
Pacquiao started out strong, but lost steam in the second half of the fight, leading to a 115-113 116-112 116-112 scorecard. Ugas used his long reach and jab to keep the aggressive Pacquiao at bay, landing numerous big right hands that overshadowed Manny’s less effective volume. It was a clear-cut win that had many questioning Pacquiao’s fighting future ... “Pac-Man” included.
“In the future, you might not see Manny Pacquiao again fight in the ring,” Pacquiao said during the post fight press conference (via Bloody Elbow). “I don’t know. But, for how many decades, I’m happy with what I’ve done in boxing. I contributed a record and brought boxing to the top, and especially, brought honor to my country, the Filipino people.”
“Whether there’s a purse or not, in my heart, I want to fight. I want to continue fighting. But the thing is, I also have to consider my body. I have to consider my work [as a politician] back in my country. There are a lot of things I need to accomplish and to help people. And I want to be an inspiration to all the people.”
Pacquiao is 5-2 over the past five years, hardly a terrible record. But, when you have spent as much time at the very top of the sport, each loss is a blemish on a legacy ... one that Pacquiao is hoping is enough to see him become president of the Philippines in the future.
Pacquiao also elaborated on his post-fight comments regarding problems with his legs.
PACQUIAO CHEERED IN DEFEAT— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) August 22, 2021
Despite his loss @MannyPacquiao's loyal fans chanted his name as he returned to the dressing room pic.twitter.com/DH2d2sPusc
“I’m not saying this is my excuse, but both of my legs were cramping,” he said. “That’s why I could not move around. In the early days [of my career], I could easily move and outbox him. But, this time around, it was like my two legs were tight and hurting me in the second round until the 12th round. My mind and my heart were 100 percent, but my legs were cramping.
“Too much hard work, training,” he suggested as a culprit. “I ran in the mountains and did 32 rounds (in the gym) every day. I don’t know. But, we’re not young anymore.”
As for Ugas, he has designs on becoming the next unified welterweight champion.
“Now, the plan is to unify the title,” Ugas declared in the ring following his victory. “Everyone said he was the champion, now they know who the real champion is.”
For complete coverage of “Pacquiao vs. Ugas,” including play-by-play updates, click here.