Photo by Erik Verduzco / Las Vegas Review.
For Your Edification* is a weekly Slice of Culture series where staff writer Ed Daniel take topics — Hudson County or national news related — and provides social commentary.
Exactly one week ago, Yordenis Ugas Jr retained his WBA (Super)Welterweight title by beating legend Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision.
This fight left many wondering what this meant for the future of the Super Welterweight title and would this be the last we would see Pacquiao in a boxing ring?
In his first defense of his world title “54 Milagros” Ugas did pretty well. He retained his belt by beating one of the greatest boxers of all time.
The packed T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas made it known that they were cheering for the challenger out of the blue corner that night.
Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao had not fought in over two years, but was considered the favorite by the public and experts to win this prize fight.
Pacman competed hard and well. He even went the distance leaving it up to the judges. But a size difference and the advantages of youthful Ugas Jr. was able to give Pacman the eighth loss of his career.
It was clear from the way he fought that Pacquiao felt he needed a knockout punch early so he wouldn’t run the risk of his legs giving out in later rounds. Pacman was unable to secure that lucky punch.
Pacquiao fought at a frenetic pace. He attacked with the vicious ferocity and the unpredictable style that made him the favorite despite his layoff.
In round 3, he briefly forced Ugas Jr on the ropes. He was doing everything he could to get close and hit Ugas with combinations.
The aggressive game plan showed up in the final stats.
The Filipino Senator used his speed advantage to throw double the amount of total punches, jabs and power punches than his opponent. Despite the attempted melay of jabs and combos Ugas Jr never panicked and was seemingly in control the entire night.
Unfortunately, Pacquiao’s stats also showed the futility of his attacks and the efficiency of Ugas only attempted half the punches, jabs, and power punches of Pacquiao, but landed all of them at more than double the rate.
He connected on 101 of his 171 power punches, hitting at a rate of 59 %. Those strikes have cumulative effects over the course of a fight especially with the size advantage Ugas Jr has. His fatigue left him open for Ugas Jr’s effective double jab which was often quickly followed by strong right hand hooks.
Pacquiao even spoke about the toll those hooks had at the end of the fight when you could see a significant cut above Pacquiao’s left eye and swelling below his right.
Ugas Jr countered his opponent’s frantic urgency with a brutish melodic style. He used his timing and counters to offset the speed and aggressiveness of Paquiao. His slower, more surgical pace allowed him to adjust to any of Pacquiao’s attacks.
With the win Ugas Jr. seems to be in position to create a title unification bout. And that is what he plans to do.
“Now the plan is to unify the title at welterweight,” Ugas said. “Everybody said he’s the champion but now they know who the real champion is.”
A fight against Terrence Crawford or Errol Spence would be very lucrative for the 35 year-old Cuban. For the 42 year-old Pacqiuao when asked if this is his last fight he says he doesn’t know.
When asked if he would run for President of the Philippines he said, “I will be making a final announcement next month.. I know fixing big problems… more difficult than boxing..but I want to help the people”.
Whatever decision Pacquio makes we all will be watching.
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