Yordenis Ugas: Fighting for legacy in biggest match of his life vs Pacquiao

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Yordenis Ugas (C) poses with referee Russell Mora and members of his team after defeating Omar Figueroa Jr. during a welterweight bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 20, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ugas won the fight by unanimous decision.

Yordenis Ugas (C) poses with referee Russell Mora and members of his team after defeating Omar Figueroa Jr. during a welterweight bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 20, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Steve Marcus/Getty Images/AFP

MANILA, Philippines — Unlike Manny Pacquiao’s original opponent in Errol Spence Jr., not much has been said about last-minute replacement Yordenis Ugas.

Ugas, the former amateur star from Cuba who is still waiting for his shining moment in the pros, finds himself in the biggest fight of his life as he steps into the Las Vegas limelight after Spence was forced to withdraw from the showdown due to torn retina.

“I’m fighting for my legacy. This is the most important fight of my life,” said the 35-year-old Ugas of facing the Filipino boxing great.

In Ugas, Pacquiao is fighting an opponent who is a watered-down of the unblemished Spence, who holds the WBC and IBF titles.

PACQUIAO THE CHALLENGER

But while Ugas doesn’t have a loaded resume, Pacquiao said that he won’t be taking him lightly in their August 21 clash at T-Mobile Arena in Sin City.

Ironically, Pacquiao will be the challenger to Ugas’ WBA (Super) belt.

The title previously belonged to Pacquiao before the boxing organization decided to relegate the Filipino ring legend as the WBA ‘champion in recess’ due to inactivity and promote Ugas from ‘regular’ to ’super’ champion last January.

Ugas (26-4, 12 KOs) won the WBA (Regular) crown in September last year following a split decision win over Abel Ramos.

The only time Ugas fought for the major strap was back in 2019, when he lost to then-WBC titleholder Shawn Porter by split decision.

Cuba's Yordenis Ugas is declared winner after defeating Italy's Domenico Valentino during their 2008 Olympic Games Lightweight (60 kg) boxing bout on August 15, 2008 in Beijing.

Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas is declared winner after defeating Italy’s Domenico Valentino during their 2008 Olympic Games Lightweight (60 kg) boxing bout on August 15, 2008 in Beijing. AFP PHOTO / JACQUES DEMARTHON 

Before turning pro in 2010, Ugas was a bronze medalist in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He also won the gold in the 2005 World Championships.

Ugas, who is 11-1 since dropping an eight-rounder to former contender Amir Imam in 2014, is seven years the junior of Pacquiao and will have a six-inch height advantage against the eight-division champion.

Pacquiao opened as a -310 favorite against Ugas, who is +225, as per Vegas oddsmakers. Meaning, a $310 bet on Pacquiao will only net $100.

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