Even as the next set of elections in the country next year is fast approaching, and with speculation on his future political prospects on top of his duties as a Senator of the Philippines, Manny Pacquiao could never forget his first career as a professional boxer. The Pambansang Kamao and first eight-division champion in world boxing history most recently inked a deal back in May to face American Errol Spence Jr. in Las Vegas. Spence was an undefeated welterweight holding the IBF and WBC titles, and he and Pacquiao have talked of wanting to face each other since they first met in 2019. But medical circumstances have pulled Spence out.
According to The Manila Bulletin, the welterweight boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Errol Spence Jr. in Vegas later this month has been scrubbed. It turns out that on August 10, Spence undertook a pre-fight physical exam under the auspices of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, where it was revealed that he had suffered a retinal tear in his left eye. As a result Spence failed the eye exam and thus was not cleared to fight. Word of the development reached Manila early on Wednesday, August 11, in time for Spence’s replacement to be announced.
Now, Manny will be facing Yordenis Ugas from Cuba, the current WBA Super welterweight champion. That title will now be the one on the line for him and Pacquiao at the T-Mobile Arena. Unlike the undefeated Spence, Ugas has 4 losses in his 30-fight record and only 12 knockout wins to Spence’s 21 (of 27 victories) and Manny’s 39 KOs. Ugas was originally an undercard for the Pacquiao-Spence bout, but his own opponent, Argentinian Fabian Maidana, also reported an eye injury back in August 9, leaving him open to replace Spence against the Pambansang Kamao.
Errol Spence expressed his disappointment that his match with Manny Pacquiao will not pull through, as it was recommended that his eye damage undergo immediate surgery. He does note that he has come back from worse injuries, particularly from a car crash in 2019 where he received facial lacerations, and vows that he will recover “for sure” from his operation in time to discuss a new bout with whoever wins between Pacquiao and Yordenis Ugas.
The Pacquiao-Ugas fight will be on August 21, broadcast on pay-per-view via Fox Sports in the US, on KTX, Cignal and SKYCable in the Philippines, and air on GMA7 and TV5. Interestingly, professional wrestling promotion WWE is holding its 2021 SummerSlam PPV event at the Allegiant Stadium nearby, but plans to have their show end just before the Pacquiao-Ugas main event, allowing live audiences to move to T-Mobile, or TV viewers to change PPV channels.
Image courtesy of GMA News