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Freddie Roach says Pacquiao vs. Errol Spence still possible after Ugas

Image: Freddie Roach says Pacquiao vs. Errol Spence still possible after Ugas

By Matt Lieberman: Trainer Freddie Roach says revisiting the Errol Spence Jr fight is possible for Manny Pacquiao if he gets through his fight this Saturday night against Yordenis Ugas.

The Spence fight is one that Roach and Pacquiao still both want, but Ugas (26-4, 12 KOs) is the obstacle blocking the path to that fight.

Roach says whether Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) chooses to reschedule the fight with IBF/WBC welterweight champion Spence comes down to what happens on Saturday.

Pacquiao, 42, might call it a day if Ugas defeats him in their fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, especially if it’s a bad loss involving the Filpino star getting knocked out.

Roach: Yordenis isn’t a risky fight for Pacquiao

“I don’t think it’s really risky; I think it’s a good fight,” said trainer Freddie Roach to Fighthub on the Pacquiao vs. Ugas match. “Both guys are getting ready for the fight, both guys are in shape, and no excuses.

Image: Freddie Roach says Pacquiao vs. Errol Spence still possible after Ugas

“Neither one is saying they need more time. Errol Spence, I really liked that fight. It was two of the best fighters in the world fighting each other, and I was looking forward to that fight.

“I saw what was available on tape of him [Yordenis Ugas], and there’s like three fights out there,” Roach said about his research on Ugas’ past fights. “He looked good in a couple. He’s a good puncher, a big overhand right, so I think it’s a good fight for Manny. So, we accepted the fight.

“Manny has been preparing for a fight [with Spence] that’s bigger than this, I think, and the only thing he [Yordenis] has is a big overhand right. That’s what you have to watch out for because that’s what he’s always trying to land. Manny’s not going to let him hit him with that,” said Roach about Ugas.

Ugas wouldn’t be a risky fight for Pacquiao if he were 12 years younger, around 30, and in the prime of his career still.

But given that Pacquiao is 42-years-old, hasn’t fought in two years, and is coming off of a grueling, narrow 12 round split decision over Keith Thurman, Ugas is a RISKY fight for him.

Roach can dismiss Ugas all he wants as a threat to Pacquiao, but he clearly is just based on his youth, power, hunger, and his activity. When you’ve been out of the ring for as long as Pacquiao has, it’s hard to stay at the elite level.

Playing basketball to stay in shape isn’t the same as training and fighting, and Pacquiao is kidding himself if he believes that he hasn’t lost something by sitting inactive for the last 25 months.

Pacquiao could face Spence later

“It was a close fight,” said Roach about Ugas’ fight with Shawn Porter in 2019. “Some people thought he [Ugas] won the fight, but again, it was a close fight.

“Manny has boxed with Shawn Porter a 1000 times. He’s been a sparring partner for a long time. If that’s the best guy that he [Yordenis] can beat, I really don’t think it’s that deep.

“It [Pacquiao vs. Spence] was two of the best fighters going against each other, and boxing needs more of that.

“It’s disappointing that it went the other way, but there’s nothing we can do about it. Is he [Spence] faking his detached retina? I don’t think so. That sounds ridiculous, but we’re here, and we’re ready.

“That’s definitely a possibility, but we’re fighting one fight at a time, and we’re not going to decide until after the fight,” Roach said when asked if it’s possible that Pacquiao could reschedule the match against Errol Spence Jr.

“It could be Spence if he’s ready to go, but if he’s not ready to go, we might have to pick [somebody else]. There’s a couple of other guys out there that we can pick from.

“It would have been a good fight, but I liked Manny in it,” said Roach on the Pacquiao vs. Spence clash. “We had a good strategy going into that fight, and we have a good strategy going into this fight.

“There are certain things you have to do, and they’re not exactly the same, the two fighters. I think Spence is the better boxer [than Yordenis], but the thing is, he’s not unbeatable, though,” said Roach.

For Pacquiao to fight Spence, he’ll need to be victorious on Saturday night against Ugas, and then Errol will need to make a quick recovery to face him in December.

If Spence can’t return to the ring this year, Pacquiao will likely take another fight, possibly against someone like Thurman. Again, it would be another situation in which Pacquiao will need to win to continue his career.

If Thurman or whoever beats Pacquiao in December, he’ll likely walk away from the sport and focus on his political career in the Philippines.

Josh Taylor a possibility for Pacquiao

“It depends on how comfortable he is at making 140 pounds,” Roach said when asked about the possibility of Pacquiao moving down to light welterweight to challenge undisputed 140-lb champion Josh Taylor next.

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“We’ve talked about it before, and it’s possible, yes. But will it make him [Pacquiao] too weak? I’m not sure. That’s a factor that can happen next, but we’ll see,” said Roach.

The promotional and network issues are a massive obstacle in putting a fight together between Pacquiao and Josh Taylor (18-0, 13 KOs). Taylor is with Top Rank and fights on ESPN. Ultimately, that is enough right there for the fight between Manny and Josh not to happen.

More importantly, Taylor, 30, isn’t that well known in the United States at the moment compared to guys like Spence, Keith Thurman, and Terence Crawford.

As such, if Pacquiao only has one fight left before he retires, he’s probably not going to want to use it up fighting Taylor.

To be sure, Yordenis Ugas isn’t well known in the States either, but he’s a replacement opponent, and he has Pacquiao’s recently stripped WBA welterweight title.

If not for Spence falling out at the last second, Pacquiao likely would have never selected Ugas as an opponent.

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