Yordenis Ugas beat ‘Keith Thurman’ Manny Pacquiao on ten days notice

Manny Pacquiao Yordenis Ugas

Sean Michael Ham

Yordenis Ugas beat the same Manny Pacquiao that defeated Keith Thurman to become the oldest welterweight champion in boxing history.

That’s the view of Ugas’ trainer Ismael Salas. The experienced coach says he has fine-tuned Ugas from an also-ran contender to a fully-fledged world ruler.

MANNY PACQUIAO

“Yordenis came to us with three losses,” Salas pointed out. “Since then, we’ve been beating undefeated guys and going step by step up to this point of facing top fighters.

“Manny Pacquiao was the biggest fight of his career, and Ugás beat him clearly. That was the same Pacquiao who had beat Keith Thurman in his previous fight.”

Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) has established himself in the elite since returning from a layoff in 2016. He’s elevated himself to world champion status since January 2021.

Winning the WBA belt by defeating Abel Ramos in September 2020, Ugas solidified his position last August when he stepped in for an injured Spence to defeat Pacquiao unanimously.

Salas believes Ugas is more than capable of troubling Spence enough to take the WBC and IBF titles. Salas has a plan of action to do so.

“We need to absorb the punching power of Spence. Everyone knows he’s a front-footed fighter who throws bombs from start to finish.

“It’s no secret that we need to use Spence’s aggressiveness and make it work in our favor.”

Yordenis Ugas Pound for Pound
Ryan Hafey

UGAS

Hailing from Santiago, Cuba, and now living in Miami, Florida, Ugas was on an eight-fight winning streak before losing a narrow split-decision to Shawn Porter in his first world title fight in March 2019.

Ugas was edged out on the scorecards after what appeared to be a twelfth-round knockdown in his favor was ruled a slip by the referee.

The Olympic bronze medalist trains in Las Vegas alongside Salas and owns victories over then-undefeated fighters Jamal James, Omar Figueroa Jr., and Bryant Perrella.

He also beat veteran contenders Thomas Dulorme and Ray Robinson.

“It’s been a process for Ugás to get back to this point. He had to regain his confidence when he first joined our gym.

“We had to transition from the Cuban style and make him more aggressive.

“Yordenis Ugás is a master of the middle distance. He knows how to make you miss and make you pay,” concluded Salas.

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