Rival takes shot at Pacquiao in 'final fight'

2 months ago 16
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This is the beingness Yordenis Ugás imagined erstwhile helium decided to permission Cuba.

He wanted to beryllium successful a boxing ringing with idiosyncratic similar Manny Pacquiao nether the Vegas spotlight, warring for a title loop successful beforehand of the full world.

Ugás wanted this aboriginal truthful severely that helium attempted to defect six times. He says helium was sent to situation aft the failed attempts, adjacent though helium won an Olympic bronze medal successful Beijing.

He yet got to Mexico successful 2010 aft 2 perilous days successful a tiny boat. He yet made it to Miami, yet helium inactive paid different price: He couldn't spot his family, including his mother, for 9 years.

Manny Pacquiao (L), President of Manny Pacquiao Promotions Sean Gibbons (2nd L) and WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas (R) basal onstage during an authoritative weigh-in astatine MGM Grand Garden Arena. (Getty)

"This has been a agelong roadworthy for me," Ugás said done an interpreter. "Obviously it was abbreviated announcement that I learned I was warring Pacquiao. But I'm thankful for the opportunity, and I'm acceptable to instrumentality vantage of it."

Indeed, the 35-year-old Ugás' 2 decades of hard enactment and sacrifice yet paid disconnected successful a flash earlier this month.

Errol Spence Jr., the vaunted welterweight champion slated to combat Pacquiao successful a pay-per-view amusement Saturday nighttime astatine T-Mobile Arena, discovered helium had a detached retina during a pre-fight physical.

Spence needed surgery, and Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) rapidly needed a caller hostile earlier helium got backmost to his time job, which astir apt includes an imminent tally for president of the Philippines.

Ugás (26-4, 12 KOs) was scheduled to combat connected the undercard, and helium already held a welterweight loop that had been taken distant from Pacquiao by the WBA. He was yet successful the cleanable spot astatine the perfect clip to get a combat and a payday with the imaginable to alteration his life.

Manny Pacquiao (L) and WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas look disconnected during a quality conference. (Getty)

Too often successful his beingness and career, Ugás had been successful the incorrect place. Now that helium has the interruption helium chased for truthful long, Ugás is determined not to discarded it.

"There are nary excuses heading into this fight," Ugás said. "I've been successful this presumption taking a short-notice combat before, though evidently ne'er against a combatant the caliber of Pacquiao. I person nary concerns, though."

Although Ugás has recovered it achy successful the past erstwhile his beingness didn't acceptable the aboriginal helium had imagined, helium has been done capable to admit an accidental similar this without allowing it to devour him.

His pro vocation has moved connected swells and troughs. He started 11-0, but Top Rank unceremoniously released him successful 2012 aft his archetypal nonrecreational loss, a split-decision decision successful which helium didn't look crisp capable for Bob Arum's promotion.

Ugás past stepped distant from competitory boxing for 2 years from 2014 to 2016 aft back-to-back determination losses that helium recovered unfair. He says helium was depressed and surviving successful New Jersey, eating ramen and struggling to fig retired what to bash aft failing astatine boxing.

He recovered salvation from Aroldis Chapman, the shot person who loves boxing and informally sponsors defector fighters from their communal homeland. Ugás says Chapman paid for him to determination to Vegas to resume his training, and helium returned to the ringing successful August 2016 with the archetypal of 8 consecutive wins.

Yordenis Ugas (C) poses with referee Russell Mora and members of his squad aft defeating Omar Figueroa Jr. during a welterweight bout astatine MGM Grand Garden Arena connected July 20, 2019 successful Las Vegas, Nevada. Ugas won the combat by unanimous decision. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images) (Getty)

A debatable split-decision nonaccomplishment to Shawn Porter successful 2019 prevented him from winning the WBC welterweight title, but lone improved his banal successful the boxing world. He is with Premier Boxing Champions, which has fixed him regular platforms — and acknowledgment to Spence's unfortunate injury, helium was successful presumption to instrumentality the biggest signifier of all.

There are plentifulness of reasons to judge Ugás has much than a puncher's accidental against the Filipino senator. Pacquiao is 42, and helium is coming disconnected the longest layoff of his quarter-century successful pro boxing.

"I person prepared for 12 hard rounds," Ugás said. "If this is Pacquiao's last fight, past he's going to beryllium up against a feline who brought his champion and who is simply a world-class fighter."

But nary substance what happens, Ugás volition beryllium gladsome helium was successful the ring.

After 2 decades of ups and owns, Ugás is present a palmy combatant with a comfy beingness and a loving household successful Florida. He dotes connected his 6-year-old autistic son, Yordenis Jr., and helium speaks retired connected societal media astir his still-simmering dislike of the Cuban government, saying, "in our state you cannot progress, you cannot deliberation and you cannot live."

When helium stands crossed from Pacquiao, helium volition yet beryllium successful presumption to punctuate each of his struggles and enactment with a show that would stun fans from Manila to Havana. If helium succeeds, he'll beryllium reasoning of however acold helium traveled to get there.

"More than anything, I americium a combatant who represents my state of Cuba," helium said. "This combat is dedicated to each the radical who are warring for state successful Cuba, I'm warring for each of them."

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