Philippines star Manny Pacquiao says the “only danger” in switching foes for next week’s world welterweight boxing title bout will be going from a southpaw foe to a right-handed opponent.
The 42-year-old Filipino Senator puts on his gloves August 21 in Las Vegas to face Cuban Yordenis Ugas after American Errol Spence Jr. was forced out of the fight Tuesday due to a left eye injury.
Instead of facing unbeaten southpaw Spence for the WBC and IBF titles he holds, Pacquiao will fight for the WBA crown he once held against Ugas, a right-hander who had planned to defend the crown on the undercard.
“The only danger for this fight is the change in stance,” Pacquiao said. “Both Spence and Ugas are aggressive fighters, which I like.”
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The stance switch won’t cause a training issue, Pacquiao said. “I always consider myself a bipartisan boxer. I am happy to fight either right-handed or southpaw fighters,” he said. “It’s no problem for me at all to switch the styles I’m going to face.” Ugas, 26-4 with 12 knockouts, was handed the WBA crown in January after eight-division champion Pacquiao, 62-7 with two drawn and 39 knockouts, was stripped of the title for inactivity.
Pacquiao has not fought since taking the WBA belt from American Keith Thurman by split decision in July 2019.
“Ugas is a champion because they gave him my belt. Now, we have to settle it inside of the ring,” Pacquiao said.
“In the end, I want to win the belts. I’m so excited for this championship fight and I don’t care if I’m the challenger or champion coming into it. We’ll see who is the champion.” Ugas knows the last-minute switch has created the biggest fight of his career, what could be his greatest triumph if he can pull off an upset.
“I’m fighting for my legacy,” Ugas said. “This is the most important fight of my life.
“I’m well aware that Pacquiao is the favourite. But at the same time, I’m a champion. I’ve faced so many strong opponents to get to where I am. I have full confidence in myself and my ability to get a victory.”