By CARLO ANOLIN
The super WBA welterweight showdown between Manny Pacquiao and Yordenis Ugas could have gone either way, said WBC bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire Jr.
“It was a close fight. I gotta say it’s a close fight,” said Donaire in an ambush interview with Fight Hub TV after Pacquiao dropped a unanimous decision loss to Ugas at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada Saturday, Aug. 21 there (Sunday in Manila).
“I can’t say Ugas didn’t deserve it and I can’t say Manny didn’t deserve it. I think it was a very close fight and it was a decision of the judges that could have gone either way.”
Donaire said Ugas exceeded his expectations after earlier rooting for the Filipino boxing legend if he had shown the speedy footwork.
The WBC bantamweight king, however, added that the long lay-off may have contributed to Pacquiao’s ring rust and his evident flat-footed southpaw stance.
Another factor, Donaire said, is that there is “a lot on the table” for the fighting senator, citing his possible decision of running for President in the Philippines.
“But not to make any excuses for any more reasons like that and I thought it was a great fight and I wanna see it again,” added the 38-year-old Donaire.
Donaire’s father, Nonito Sr., for his part, believes that Pacquiao may be overtrained since starting training camp in the Philippines upon announcing his cancelled bout with Errol Spence Jr., the unified WBC and IBF champion, last May.
The Donaires are just one of the many who observed that the 42-year-old Pacquiao lacked the movement around the ring, which was one of his arsenals in his heydays.
It was later revealed that the Filipino boxing icon suffered cramps, which made it hard for him to move and stick with a stagnant position in the ring.
“He was running uphill and coming back and once in the lower ground he was doing strength and conditioning. I think it was too much,” said the older Donaire in a separate interview with TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN’s North America News Bureau Chief.
“Depende kasi medyo may edad na si Manny (It depends because Manny is aging). When it comes down to it, you have to be smart with training,” echoed Nonito Jr. “It’s unfortunate what it is but I think there’s gonna be an answer to whether he wants to continue or not. This fight was something to tell him if he wants to fight more.”