If Saturday night were the last time we see the great Manny Pacquiao inside the ring, I’d like to say only one thing – Thank You, Senator!
Witnessing the fight away from Las Vegas was tough, even tougher if the loss to Yordenis Ugas does close the curtain on an illustrious career.
I was there just over two years ago when Pacquiao rolled back the years to defeat Keith Thurman and become the oldest welterweight champion of all time. The plan was indeed to be there this time around too.
Sadly, the pandemic conditions didn’t allow it, and what I saw from far away was a predictable ending.
Calling it in the preview, you really cannot defeat Father Time when he comes for you. If Errol Spence were in the opposite corner, maybe things would have been different, but this was not the fight Manny Pacquiao signed up for initially.
Ugas is an entirely different proposition and an awkward one at just ten days’ notice. Take nothing away from the 35-year-old, though.
He did what he had to do, and it couldn’t happen to a more likable guy.
Pacquiao has been there, seen it, done it, and conquered it. He had nothing left to prove.
When the final bell tolled, we expected nothing short of what we got from the ever-gracious Filipino star.
“I want to thank God for giving me the strength to fight. But I thank my family for always standing beside me.
“I wish to congratulate Ugas and his team. Although I hoped for a different outcome, I wish him the best,” said Pacquiao.
He added: “Thank you to the fans all around the world who were watching. Thank you to every Filipino that has ever supported me.
“I’m so proud to represent my country. I’m sorry I could not give you a win. I did my very best. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU! God bless you all!”
The respect between the two men, who beat the hell out of each other for twelve rounds, is nothing less than usual for both.
They are a credit to the sport and two examples of how any boxer should conduct themselves inside and outside the ropes.
Ugas, who is now considered one of the top three at 147 pounds, gave props to Pacquiao for giving him a chance.
“Thanks to Manny Pacquiao for allowing me to share the ring with him. He is still one of the best fighters in history,” said Ugas.
“Much respect. Thanks to everyone who supported me. I hope we gave a great fight to all the fans. Thanks.”
He continued: “Incredible that Manny Pacquiao. I fought with one of the best fighters in history. Go home and recover, champion. Thanks for being an inspiration. Legend. I respect.
“I always said it if it was the last fight of a legend. He was doing it against a worthy fighter.
“My best wishes to you, champion. Thanks. Sharing the ring with you was an honor that I will never forget. Blessing.”
MANNY PACQUIAO – MAN OF DESTINY
With all the rubbish boxing has to deal with at the moment and some of the down heartening events getting paraded as real boxing, Pacquiao vs. Ugas was a breath of fresh air.
These are the kinds of shows we should be championing and placing all our resources into as we move forward with attempting to elevate boxing even further.
As Ugas goes on to a possible title clash with Terence Crawford or Errol Spence, Manny Pacquiao will leave [whether it’s now or in one more fight], with his head held high.
Furthermore, he’s a true boxing legend – a true humbling warrior of the sport. We will forever be indebted to what the “Pacman” did for our noble art form.
Thank you, Manny. Man of Destiny.