By Matt Lieberman: Trainer Freddie Roach says he will be studying Yordenis Ugas’ fight against Shawn Porter to develop a workable game plan for Manny Pacquiao to follow when he challenges him for his WBA ‘Super World’ welterweight title on August 21st.
Errol Spence Jr pulling out of the fight with Pacquiao on Tuesday because of a left eye retinal tear has shown things off for trainer Roach, who had already put together a good game plan to defeat the powerful southpaw.
Roach has to prepare Pacquiao to fight the right-handed Ugas, a fighter that loads up on virtually he throws.
What could be worrisome for Pacquiao is the body shots that Ugas throws. He puts a lot of power in those punches, and he could hurt the Filipino star.
Pacquiao hasn’t had to fight body punchers in the last 11 years of his pro career, and he might not be ready for what Ugas brings to the table.
Yordenis’ punching power could cause Pacquiao problems
Ugas might be a bigger puncher to the body than Antonio Margarito was, and he had Pacquiao hurt to the body in their clash a decade ago in 2010.
Roach has to work quickly study Ugas because he has less than two weeks to get Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) ramped up and ready to dethrone the hard-hitting Cuban fighter
In a very, very questionable decision, the A-side fighter Porter defeated Ugas (26-4, 12 KOs) by a 12 round split decision in March 2019, beating him by the scores 115-113, 116-112 for Porter, and 117-111 for Ugas.
Of those scores, the 117-111 for Ugas was the most accurate for the fight that night. Ugas got the better of Porter from start to finish, and him running to escape the body punching and the headshots he was throwing.
“I’m watching tape on him, and he’s going for the home run a lot,” Roach said to DAZN on Yordenis Ugas’ style of loading up on his shots. “He throws a big overhand right.
“He threw a big overhand right [in] one of his fights. [Ugas] started from a little bit too far away, missed, and he fell down to the floor. I said, ‘This guy is just going for the f**** kill.‘
“This guy is going for the knockout and looking for the knockout all the time,” said Roach.
Pacquiao needs to box Ugas
It would be advisable for Roach to make sure Pacquiao minimizes the amount of trading that he does with Ugas because this isn’t Ricky Hatton or Joshua Clottey he’s facing.
Ugas is a lot better than Hatton and Clottey, and he’ll take the much smaller and older 42-year-old Pacquiao apart if he tries to trade with him.
“I thought maybe Porter got a gift in that one,” Roach said. “It was a very, very close fight. I would have given that fight to Ugas.”
There’s no question that Porter was given a tremendous gift decision over Ugas two years ago. If you watch that fight from start to finish, Porter won only three close rounds.
Porter was the known guy, so it wasn’t surprising that he got the win, but it was such a dominant performance by Ugas. How could two of the judges have scored it the way they did.
If Roach has Pacquiao staying in the pocket, he’s going to get hurt by Ugas’ body shots. But even if Pacquiao is on the outside, he won’t be out of range of Ugas’ body punching. He likes to throw long punches to the body, and he’s able to get a lot of power on those shots.
In some ways, Ugas is more of a problem for Pacquiao than Errol Spence Jr would have been. Spence isn’t nearly as dedicated to throwing body shots as Ugas, and he doesn’t have the same power as the Cuban.