MANNY PACQUIAO has been STRIPPED of his WBA welterweight world title with Yordenis Ugas elevated to champion.
The governing body announced the news online, and confirmed PacMan is the ‘champion in recess’.
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It means the Filipino icon, 42, would likely be given the chance to immediately challenge for his old belt once he makes his return.
Cuban Ugas, 34, now stands to benefit, after he was upgraded from the WBA’s secondary ‘Regular’ champion.
The WBA announced per their ruling, when a champion is unable to defend the belt for medical, legal or other reasons beyond his control, he may be named champion in recess.
Pacquiao has not fought since he won the title against Keith Thurman in July 2019.
But due to the coronavirus pandemic, he has not been able to make a comeback – falling into the ‘other reasons beyond his control’ section.
Pacquiao was in talks to fight UFC superstar Conor McGregor this year, with the pair both represented by Paradigm Sports management.
But after McGregor suffered a shock knockout loss to Dustin Poirier on his UFC return, the lucrative boxing match was shelved.
Instead, Pacquiao moved on to lightweight sensation Ryan Garcia, 22, who is a stone lighter and 20 years younger.
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They are still in negotiations, as it emerged the super-fight could be competed as an exhibition.
But Garcia was quick to insist it will be a REAL fight, and nothing will stop him from trying to KO Pacquiao, who he considers a hero of his.
He told ESPN: “The fight is going to be a fight.
“Whether they named it an exhibition or a real certified match, I’m throwing punches like I’m trying to knock Manny Pacquiao out.
“If you get two people in the ring with 8- or 10-ounce gloves with no headgear, you tell me if that would be an exhibition or a real fight, knowing that we’re both real fighters.
“I’m not going in there to throw pillow punches. I’m throwing the punches I throw and I’m sure Manny will throw the punches he throws.
“You guys can call it whatever you want.”