By CARLO ANOLIN
Manny Pacquiao is out to defy Father Time anew when he takes on Cuban boxer Yordenis Ugas for the super WBA welterweight title at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, Aug. 21 there.
Pacquiao and Ugas faced the media on Wednesday in a press conference hosted by the Premier Boxing Champions a day after meeting for the first time in flesh at the Toshiba Plaza in front of the T-Mobile Arena.
Feeling young, Pacquiao, who will turn 43 in December, said fans should watch the “exciting” fight as the two dispute the super WBA welterweight belt previously owned by the Filipino boxing legend.
Ugas got elevated from “regular” to “super” status after the WBA denied Pacquiao’s appeal for reinstatement last month.
“It’s not good for me to strip my belt without fighting me, without challenging me. Let’s see if he’ll get the belt on Saturday,” said the 42-year-old Pacquiao, still expressing gratitude to Ugas for stepping up in replacement for unified WBC and IBF champion Errol Spence Jr., who earlier suffered a retinal detachment on his left eye.
“I feel young. Sorry, I’m 24,” he jested. “I’m just happy doing this. Boxing is my passion and I’ve been doing training camps and I’m excited to undergo sacrifices and discipline especially to prepare for a fight like this. I’m always happy.”
Pacquiao, the only eight-division world boxing champion, is also confident that switching from an opponent with a southpaw stance to orthodox will impose no problem for him.
The Filipino fighting senator added that he has done more rounds during training camp in Los Angeles, California compared to his preparation against Keith Thurman in 2019.
Heading into the supposed mega-bout, Pacquiao bared in a comical way that his coaching staff, composed of trainers Freddie Roach and Buboy Fernandez and strength and conditioning coach Justin Fortune, warned him not to overtrain at the Wild Card Gym.
“I think for the Thurman fight on my everyday training, I did 25 rounds, 28 rounds a day. But this time I did 30 rounds, 32 rounds, sometimes 31 rounds,” said Pacquiao. “So the coaching staff is trying to stop me coz I want to do more. But they told me, ‘You might get overtrained.’ So that’s what they say to me every day,” he added with a chuckle.
The 35-year-old Ugas, for his part, is likewise firm that Pacquiao cannot knock him out, drawing strength from the Cuban nation and dedicating this bout for his compatriots “fighting for their freedom.”
“I’m 100 percent that he cannot knock me out. I’ve done all the work and all the preparation over the past six years. I’ve really been hitting my stride and I don’t think Manny Pacquiao can knock me out,” said Ugas with the help of a translator.
“I’ve overcome to prepare for 12 hard rounds and if this is the final fight that the legend Manny Pacquiao has, then he fought against a guy who brought his best and who is a world-class fighter.”
Pacquiao, who holds a decorated record of 62 wins on top of 39 knockouts, seven losses, and two draws, has not fought since scoring a split decision win against Thurman in July 2019 while Ugas improved to a 26-4 slate after beating Abel Ramos last September.