Tagged in: wba

Yordenis Ugas upsets Manny Pacquiao by decision to retain WBA title

This night was supposed to be a celebration, a culmination of all the great Manny Pacquiao has accomplished — a champion in eight divisions in four decades, a superstar the world over.

Yordenis Ugas wasn’t here for the Pacquiao party, though; Ugas was here for his own arrival. And he made good on his promise to bring all his respect for Pacquiao into the ring.

Ugas, who accepted the assignment on 11 days’ notice, scored a unanimous decision over Pacquiao on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena to hold his WBA “super” welterweight title, spoiling the festivities in an upset victory that establishes Ugas as a major player in boxing’s best division.

All three judges scored the fight for Ugas: 116-112, 115-113 and 116-112. ESPN had it 116-112 for Ugas, who won as a +310 underdog, according to Caesars Sportsbook.

“I’m very excited, but most of all, I want to thank Manny Pacquiao for giving me this moment in this ring today,” said Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs). “Now the plan is to unify the title at welterweight. … Errol Spence is the next one on the list. … I am praying that he recuperates.”

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Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs) was slated to meet Spence, ESPN’s No. 4 pound-for-pound boxer, in a super fight.

Those plans were canceled when it was discovered Spence suffered a detached retina in his left eye just 12 days before the fight.

Ugas, a bronze medalist for Cuba in the 2008 Olympics and ESPN’s No. 6 welterweight, was set to defend his title versus Fabian Maidana in the co-feature and didn’t hesitate to step in to fight Pacquiao when the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself.

“We only had two weeks of training,” Ugas said, “but I listened to my corner, and it all worked out.”

Ugas’ strategy was simple yet brilliant: a double jab to the head followed by a right hand to the body. A high guard that picked off Pacquiao’s incoming shots before a crisp right looped around Pacquiao’s gloves and connected upstairs. Counterpunches that hit the target over and over, finally cutting Pacquiao over the left eye in Round 12.

Pacquiao also was cut under his right eye during the fight. His team told ESPN afterward that he needed five stitches to close one of the cuts and had three stitches glued onto the other. They didn’t specify which cut needed which fix.

On this night, under the brightest of lights, Ugas displayed the composure of a heart surgeon, patiently picking his spots with precise punches that constantly met their mark. He also imposed his superior size and strength on Pacquiao, who perhaps was fighting in his final bout.

This 42-year-old, flat-footed version of Pacquiao was not the same fighter who vaulted to the sport with dizzying speed and combinations thrown from seemingly every angle. Now, well past his best and with a potential presidential race to prepare for, this could be it for Pacquiao.

When Pacquiao was asked if this was his final fight, he said, “I don’t know. I need to relax and make a decision.”

“That’s boxing,” he said. “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.”

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Canelo Alvarez dominates Avni Yildirim by third-round TKO as corner throws in towel

From the opening bell, Canelo Alvarez appeared destined for a knockout win versus mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim. Alvarez didn’t have to wait long for it.

Yildirim’s corner threw in the towel at the end of the third round, and Alvarez picked up a TKO victory to retain his WBC and WBA super middleweight belts Saturday night at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

After the fight, Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn confirmed that Alvarez will face WBO titleholder Billy Joe Saunders in a unification bout on May 8 at a location to be determined.

“I wanted to have a great fight here,” Alvarez, speaking through an interpreter, told the crowd, which was capped at 15,000 because of COVID-19 restrictions. “I needed to knock [him] out, and that’s what I did. That’s what I had to do.” Alvarez (55-1-2) was the lone fighter in the ring pressing the action in the first three rounds. Early in the fight, Alvarez threw looping hooks around Yildirim’s high guard and pelted the Turkish fighter’s body.

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And even in a fight against someone of Yildirim’s caliber, Alvarez displayed the ring acumen that has cemented his status as one of boxing’s top pound-for-pound fighters. Instead of a hook, Alvarez floored Yildirim with a straight right hand with more than two minutes to go in the third round.

Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs) survived the round, and even while he sat in his corner before the fourth round, he appeared to be game for at least three more minutes.

Trainer Joel Diaz pleaded with Yildirim to show more after a lackluster three rounds.

“I’m going to give you one more f—ing round,” Diaz told Yildirim in the corner during the DAZN telecast.

However, even that was too much to ask. Another member of Yildirim’s corner went up to the apron and asked for the fight to be stopped, a request that was obliged.

Alvarez picked up his second triumph in three months and retained two of the four belts in the 168-pound division. He won’t have to wait much longer to have a shot at the third title. The fight versus Saunders gives Alvarez a chance to move one step closer to being an undisputed champion and bolster his case to be the greatest Mexican fighter of all time.

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Promoter — Deal done for Anthony Joshua-Tyson Fury heavyweight title fight

Anthony Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn stated a deal for the world heavyweight champion to meet Tyson Fury in an undisputed world heavyweight title fight this year is all but done, with a venue in the Middle East a front-runner to host it.

Joshua defeated Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev last month to keep his IBF, WBO and WBA titles to set up the prospect of a mouth-watering clash with fellow Briton Fury who holds the WBC belt.

“The deal is done, really — without being signed,” Hearn told the Times.

“The financial elements of the deal are done. We’re talking through the broadcast situation, the only thing really now is to paper it. “And when you paper a deal like that, it does go back and forwards 15 times before every single letter is approved on the document.”

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Fury has not fought since beating American Deontay Wilder in their Las Vegas rematch in February to claim the WBC crown.

Fury and Wilder had a rematch clause in their contract but they couldn’t make the fight.

Hearn said Joshua and Fury would face off in two fights — with the first likely to be in the Middle East later this year — and he hoped to bring the rematch back to Britain.

“The Middle East will be aggressive and will be front-runners in this. To stage this fight, you need significant government support. You need someone who is staging this fight as a statement for their country,” Hearn added.

“I’d like it [the rematch] to be [in the United Kingdom]. Where? Millennium Stadium.”

Fury’s American promoter Bob Arum has stated before that he is “95 per cent confident the fight happens”. Arum said: “I don’t want to make a deadline, but I just can report that everything so far has been going splendidly, and we hope to have a signed document within the next couple of weeks.

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Anthony Joshua dispatches Kubrat Pulev via KO, sets up prospect of Tyson Fury bout

Anthony Joshua returned to ruthless form by dispatching Kubrat Pulev in nine rounds in London on Saturday to set up the prospect of facing Tyson Fury in 2021.

The WBA, IBF and WBO world heavyweight champion kept his titles by turning on the power switch to drop Pulev twice in the ninth round. It was Joshua’s first knockout victory since his previous performance on home soil, in September 2018.

Pulev crumbled to the canvas under a barrage of right uppercuts and was then finished by a straight right hand.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., the retired former pound-for-pound boxing No. 1, had made the trip from the United States to be among 1,000 present at the SSE Arena and was the first to congratulate Joshua at ringside.

Since halting Alexander Povetkin two years ago, the English boxer lost his titles via a shock knockout to American Andy Ruiz Jr. before regaining them on points a year ago.

This was a much more explosive performance from Joshua than the Ruiz rematch, as Joshua floored tough Pulev twice in Round 3 and twice in Round 9 in front of the first crowd at a professional boxing event in the U.K. since March.

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A second defense in his second reign as world heavyweight clears the way for Joshua to fight either rival world heavyweight champion Fury, his fellow Englishman, or Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk first in 2021.

Fury, regarded as the world No. 1 heavyweight by ESPN after stopping Deontay Wilder for the WBC title in February, would be the preferred choice, but because of mandatory defense obligations, former undisputed world cruiserweight champion Usyk might be the first person in the opposing corner to Joshua in 2021.

“It’s not about the opponent — it’s about who has got the belt, and if that’s Tyson Fury, let it be Tyson Fury,” Joshua said. “It’s one fight at a time, picking them off one by one.”

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn stated he wants Fury to be Joshua’s next opponent in 2021, despite the obstacles, including legal action Wilder has brought to enforce a third fight with Fury.

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Spence targets Pacquiao, Crawford in return

Errol Spence Jr. wants the biggest battles possible when boxing resumes.

Questions arose about the boxing future of unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. after his horrific one-car accident in October. Spence, who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash, flipped his Ferrari multiple times at a high rate of speed and ended up flying out of his car. He also wound up being charged for DWI.

Spence had been earmarked to face Danny Garcia on Jan. 25, but that fight never happened so he could recover from the minor injuries suffered. Now, his return to the ring has been further delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Appearing on the Premier Boxing Champion Instagram Live account, Spence says he has a ”second chance at living” with the new goal of becoming the undisputed welterweight champion of the world. To achieve the feat, Spence will need to fight WBA titlist Manny Pacquiao and WBO title holder Terence Crawford.

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After Spence beat Mikey Garcia in March 2019, Pacquiao entered the ring to tease a future matchup.

Pacquiao chose to face Keith Thurman in July, instead. Boxing’s only eight-division world champion put on his best performance to win by unanimous decision to claim the WBA crown. 

“I didn’t think he was going to look that good,” Spence said. “I didn’t think he was going to look like that. I would love to fight Pacquiao, he’s a future legend, he’s a Hall of Famer, he’s a guy I would love to fight. He has a belt, too, I would love to get that belt.

“Me and Pacquiao would probably do 100,000 (fans) if we fought at AT&T Stadium,” Spence added. “I think Pacquiao would be the perfect opponent.”

Boxing fans have been clamoring for Crawford-Spence to be made. The obstacle is Crawford being promoted by Top Rank and Spence fighting under PBC. However, the fact that both promotional outfits worked well together on the February heavyweight title rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder isn’t lost on Spence. 

He’s had conversations with his advisor Al Haymon about making the Crawford fight happen. If it comes to fruition, Crawford-Spence would be a battle of the top welterweights in the world, and perhaps the best the sport has to offer, period. That’s exactly why Spence views a fight with Crawford as “legacy-defining.”

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