Pacquiao camp solves mystery of last-minute foe

Dino Maragay - Philstar.com

HOLLYWOOD — Members of Manny Pacquiao’s training team have spent the last couple of days dissecting footage of Yordenis Ugas’ fights with the ultimate goal of figuring out the Cuban’s fighting style and weaknesses.

And from the looks of it, the team did not have a hard time in confidently concluding that Pacquiao can overcome his newest opponent, who came in as a late substitute to original foe Errol Spence Jr. for the fighting senator’s return bout in Las Vegas next week.

Pacquiao’s childhood buddy and training associate Buboy Fernandez on Wednesday claimed to have already figured out Ugas (26-4, with 12 KOs), who will stake the WBA “super” welterweight championship at the T-Mobile Arena on August 21 (August 22, Manila time).

“The moment I was told that there was a change in opponent, I immediately checked YouTube (for Ugas’ fights),” Fernandez told Filipino scribes in Tagalog at the Wild Card Gym here.

In terms of resume, Ugas hardly stands out among Pacquiao’s past opponents. The most significant fight the Cuban had was against welterweight contender Shawn Porter — a former Pacquiao sparring partner — whom Ugas lost to in 2019.

The 35-year-old Ugas went from fighting in the undercard of Pacquiao’s scheduled tussle with Spence to being in the main event himself after the American fighter was diagnosed with a torn retina, causing a revisiting of strategy for Team Pacquiao.

The incident, according to Fernandez, turned out to be a “blessing in disguise” as Pacquiao is coming off a two-year layoff and will face a relatively less dangerous fighter than Spence.

“It’s a tune-up at least,” said Fernandez, who nevertheless preached caution.

“But we can’t just take Ugas lightly because he’s tall and has a decent record,” he added.

Fernandez, however, noted that the 5-foot-9 Ugas tends to slouch to be within eye level of his shorter foes, a sentiment echoed by Pacquiao’s longtime trainer Freddie Roach

“He (Ugas) does not make good use of his height,” said Roach, who spent the afternoon watching YouTube videos of Ugas’ bouts, including one against an Argentine southpaw five years ago.

“Flat-footed” was how Sean Gibbons, president of Pacquiao’s MP Promotions, described Ugas, who will be at a sure disadvantage in speed and mobility against a whirling dervish like Pacquiao.

Fernandez, for his part, said that Pacquiao just needs to watch out for Ugas’ counterpunches.

“Ugas definitely won’t run. But we won’t get careless because Ugas also has power. You can see his punches coming though,” he continued.

It’s mystery solved this quick for Team Pacquiao.

vuukle comment



  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with