FILIPINO boxing icon Manny Pacquiao’s return to the boxing ring after two years ended in a disheartening loss over the weekend.
The 42-year-old failed to reclaim the World Boxing Association super welterweight belt after losing to reigning champion Yordenis Ugás of Cuba via unanimous decision in their title fight on Saturday, August 21, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
A last-minute replacement for Pacquiao’s original opponent Errol Spence Jr., Ugás outclassed the Pinoy boxer by earning the nod of the judges, 115-113, 116-112, 116-112.
“That’s boxing,” Pacquiao said after the match.
“I had a hard time in the ring making adjustments. My legs were tight. I’m sorry I lost tonight, but I did my best,” he added.
Though Pacquiao was aggressive from the opening round, the majority of his punches failed to inflict damage on the 5-foot-9 Ugás, who used his height and reach to his full advantage.
The Compubox later revealed that while Ugás threw roughly half as many punches as Pacquiao, he successfully landed 151 of 405 for a 37% rate. His power punches also connected 101 times out of 171 for a 59% rate.
On the other hand, Pacquaio reportedly threw a total of 815 punches, with only 130 landing for a 16% rate. Out of the 340 power punches he threw, a mere 88 connected for a 26% rate.
“He’s a great competitor, but I came in here to show I am the champion of the WBA,” the Cuban fighter said, referring to Pacquiao.
He added, “A lot of respect for him, but I won this fight.”
Ugás also expressed gratitude to Pacquiao for the opportunity to fight him, calling the Filipino boxer a “legend.”
“I want to thank Manny Pacquiao for sharing the ring with me. He’s a legend, one of the greatest fighters that ever lived,” he said.
Ugás now owns a record of 27-4-0, with 12 knockouts. Meanwhile, Pacquiao’s record is 62-8-2, with 39 knockouts.
Pacquiao took to social media to apologize for his loss, but maintained that he was “proud” to represent the Philippines.
“I’m so proud to represent my country. I’m sorry I could not give you a win, but I did my very best,” he wrote Monday, August 23.
He also congratulated Ugás for his victory.
“I wish to congratulate Ugas and his team. Although I hoped for a different outcome, I wish him the best,” he said.
As for his future in the boxing ring, Pacquiao admitted that he still hasn’t made a decision whether to continue fighting.
“In the future, you may not see Manny Pacquiao in the ring. I don’t know. Let me rest first, relax and make a decision if I’ll continue to fight or not,” he said.