By CARLO ANOLIN
The showdown between Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao and Cuban Olympian Yordenis Ugas is on as both fighters passed the official weigh-in Friday, Aug. 20 there (Saturday in Manila) ahead of their super WBA welterweight title bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pacquiao weighed in at 146 lbs while Ugas registered 147 lbs.
A cheerful Pacquiao, clad in white shirt of his own apparel, came in at the podium near the weighing scale and waved to the crowd while flashing a huge smile as he stood with coaches Buboy Fernandez and Freddie Roach, and right-hand man Sean Gibbons, president of the MP Promotions, surrounding him.
“I never take this fight lightly. Of course, I don’t want to be overconfident with this fight but I want to make sure that tomorrow night we’re gonna have the victory and God-willing, the fans will be happy,” said the 42-year-old Pacquiao.
The fighting senator is considered to be the favorite at -350 while Ugas is positioned as a +275 underdog despite being the super WBA welterweight titleholder.
Gibbons earlier said this could be Pacquiao’s “poetic justice” should he win.
After all, Pacquiao, the only eight-division world boxing champion, is on the road to becoming the oldest bantamweight champion anew. He will turn 43 years old in December.
Pacquiao made the record first by beating Keith Thurman in July 2019, which was also his recent fight before taking a two-year hiatus at age 40.
Fast forward to January this year, Pacquiao, holding a decorated record of 62 wins on top of 39 knockouts, seven defeats, and two draws, got strip of his super WBA belt due to his inactivity and was named “champion in recess.”
Things looked good for Ugas, who was elevated from “regular” to “super” status, but not for Pacquiao as the WBA denied his appeal for reinstatement last month.
Nothing is cast in stone yet whether this would be Pacquiao’s swan song but the fighting senator assured to take it “one at a time” and vowed fans for an explosive fight.
“Tomorrow night I will give my best to the fans and of course for the honor of my country and this fight will be dedicated to the Filipino people for their unwavering support, love, and prayers,” he said.
Ugas, for his part, showed class for the last time before the world title showdown kicks off Saturday there (Sunday in Manila).
“Being in the ring with a legend like Manny Pacquiao, I have a lot of respect for him so I’m very excited but all respect is finished after we get in the ring tomorrow,” said the 35-year-old Ugas. “Very emotional and very excited for this opportunity. I have the belt so whoever wins tomorrow gets the belt, but right now I’m the champion and I’m ready.”
The 5-foot-9 Cuban pugilist improved to a 26-4 record with 12 knockouts after beating Abel Ramos last September.