By Rob Andrew Dongiapon


Manny Pacquiao has seen everything a fighter could offer. 

Erik Morales, who holds one victory over Pacquiao in their trilogy, offered firepower, Marco Antonio Barrera delivered slugfests, David Diaz showcased resiliency, Oscar Dela Hoya had might and star power, Antonio Margarito deposited heavy blows to the body, Juan Manuel Marquez unloaded precise counters and Floyd Mayweather imposed defensive wizardry. 

Those were only a few. Name it, and the 71-fight legend has seen it. 

Yordenis Ugas, a 35-year-old Cuban fighter, and a considerable downgrade from original opponent Errol Spence Jr. , has a style that blends perfectly with Pacquiao’s. 

PHOTO: Boxing Action 24

Standing at 5’9 ½, Ugas, often flat-footed and rarely backpedals, use both hands to counter and catch his opponents off guard in as sharp of a manner as any counterpuncher the fighting Senator ever faced. 

In his only marquee fight against the welterweight division’s elite echelon, Ugas connected 31% of his lead hook, opposite to eventual victor Shawn Porter’s 12%, according to BoxStat. Ugas also outlanded Porter by mere nine punches despite throwing significantly more. 

Though Porter was given the nod because of his activity and jabs (landing 65 to Ugas’ 49 says CompuBox) via split decision, the fight could have gone to the Cuban’s way.

Since the loss, Ugas steamrolled Omar Figueroa Jr, and Mike Dallas Jr, before sneaking to the WBA “regular” title after dealing Abel Ramos a split decision defeat that catapulted him to “super” champion as Pacquiao was stripped of the governing body the title due to inactivity. 

Using the Porter fight in March 2019 as a reference point, perhaps Ugas’ biggest showcase in his pro career, was the best possible way to assess the Cuban’s power on his best day. 

But as we all know about Pacquiao, a fighter’s best days are sometimes smokes and mirrors once inside the ring with the eight-division world champion. 

Pacquiao, notoriously an active target for counterpunchers, knew exactly what he will be dealing with come Sunday afternoon Manila time. 

PHOTO: Sky Sports

At 42 and with a 10 days notice, Pacman seemed at a tip-top shape following his two-month-long training camp in Freddie Roach’s world-renowned Wildcard Gym. 

I see the fight going to distance in a typical Pacquiao unanimous decision triumph. Though, Ugas will be patient, waiting in bated breath in his shell before discharging his pinpoint connections.

Proving he still has so much left in the tank, expect Pacquiao to be just as aggressive as ever, bombarding Ugas with combinations such as those he discharged on taller fighters Margarito, and to a lesser degree, Chris Algieri. 

Even in his twilight, Pacquiao is a machine that has proven to be too much for fighters, even for the greats, to handle. 

For Ugas, just hang in there, champ.