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Mikey Garcia says Pacquiao ‘showing signs of age’ in loss to Ugas

Image: Mikey Garcia says Pacquiao 'showing signs of age' in loss to Ugas

By Dan Ambrose: Mikey Garcia says he saw signs of age with the 42-year-old Manny Pacquiao in his loss last Saturday night against Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas. Pacquiao fought hard in a losing effort against his replacement opponent Ugas in a 12 round unanimous decision loss. The scores reflected the closeness of the fight, with Yordenis winning 115-113, 116-112, and 116-112.

After this performance from Pacquiao, Mikey says he’s not sure if the Filipino star will continue his career. With the way Pacquiao was speaking after the fight at the post-fight press conference, he appeared to be implying that he’ll retire.

But if Manny does continue his career, Mikey would be interested in a fight with him. Obviously, that would be a longshot for Mikey because if Pacquiao does continue, it would likely be for a rematch with WBA ‘Super World’ welterweight champion Yordenis in hopes of avenging his loss or a fight with IBF/WBC champion Errol Spence Jr., who Manny was originally supposed to be fighting last Saturday.

The explosiveness and mobility that the former eight-division world champion Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs) had been known for during his long 26-year professional career were missing, says Mikey.

Although Mikey still believes Pacquiao fought well and made it competitive, he didn’t have enough in the tank to overcome the big size advantage that the 5’9″ Cuban talent Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) had going for him.

Mikey: Pacquiao wasn’t the same

“I thought Manny would pull it off, but I think what made it so difficult was the size difference between Ugas,” said Mikey Garcia to Fighthype.

Image: Mikey Garcia says Pacquiao 'showing signs of age' in loss to Ugas

“I think what made it difficult is the size. Yordenis Ugas is a huge guy. He’s tall with a long reach.

“He made it difficult for Pacquiao to get comfortable in the ring. I think Manny is starting to realize that his body is starting to show signs of age.

“He [Pacquiao] didn’t have the footwork that he used to. He didn’t have the explosiveness, the quickness to jump in and out. And he acknowledged that he felt cramps in his legs.

Something like that obviously will disrupt your fight. Even with all that, it was still a pretty close fight. I didn’t see him get dominated. It wasn’t like he got blasted out.

“He fought a good fight, but it wasn’t the Manny that we’ve seen in the past,” said Mikey.

Pacquiao put in too much training time for a fighter his age, which ended up costing him. However, his mobility hasn’t looked the same as it once was for a long time now.

You can argue that ever since Pacquiao moved up to 147 years ago, he hasn’t had the same ability to move that he had when he was fighting in the lower weight classes.

Pacquiao has obviously enjoyed great success at welterweight since 2008, but his ability was never great since coming up to 147.

Will Pacquiao continue?

“Congrats to Ugas. He got that opportunity,” said Mikey. “He was supposed to be fighting [Fabian] Maidana. Two weeks before that, they made the change.

“So big props to him for taking the opportunity and winning. It takes a lot to change the opponent a week or two before the fight.

“It’s not what he was prepared to do, but he took advantage, and he fought a hard fight, and he won.

“I don’t know if he’s going to fight or not. Things change every week,” said Mikey when asked if he’s still interested in fighting Pacquiao.

“He seems like he’s going to think about it. It’s not up to me. It’s up to him to figure out if he’s going to be fighting or not,” said Mikey whether Manny will continue his career.

“He might retire. It seems like that’s what he’s implying a little bit just by his chosen words.

“He didn’t say that, but he also didn’t say he’s coming back. It wasn’t that straightforward, so we have to wait.

He never said, ‘I’m not retiring. I’m coming back. I’ll see you guys soon.’ He didn’t say that,” said Mikey about Pacquiao failing to say that he would continue his career.

It will be surprising if Pacquiao doesn’t attempt to fight Ugas again, as that’s been his pattern throughout his career when suffering defeats. When Pacquiao has lost, he’s tried to get rematches to avenge the defeats.

With Pacquiao running for the presidential position in the Philippines in March, he must attempt to avenge the loss because it would greatly help his career if he were to win.

Pacquiao will need to lighten up on the roadwork and sparring that he did last time to prevent his leg problems from continuing. For a fighter that doesn’t have problems making weight, Pacquiao was doing way too much long-distance running.

What Pacquiao should have been doing is focusing on sprinting on a track. For example, 10 wind sprints of 100 meters every other day would have been fine for Pacquiao to build up his stamina, and it likely wouldn’t have impacted his legs.

It’s important that Pacquiao back off from his running the last two weeks before the fight to allow his legs to rest for the fight.

Mikey favors Spence over Ugas

“It’s a good fight,” said Mikey in his thoughts on a fight between Yordenis and Errol Spence. “Ugas is a big dude, a solid guy.

“Spence is obviously a great fighter, a big dude, and solid also. It would be competitive, but I think Spence wins. Spence has a little bit better boxing, but the size and Ugas is a good fighter also.

“He’s a champion and improving himself more with every fight. He’s up there as well. It would be a good competitive fight, a close fight,” said Mikey.

The Spence that we saw in his last fight against Danny Garcia in December 2020 would likely outbox and outwork Yordenis right now. However, there are many question marks right now whether Spence will be able to resume his career.

If Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) can come back from his left eye injury in 2022, a fight between him and Ugas has a high probability of occurring if the Cuban star is still in possession of his WBA welterweight title.

Pacquiao mentioned the possibility of fighting Yordenis in January of next year, so we’ll have to see how that fight plays out.

Mikey on Ugas’ loss to Shawn Porter in 2019

“It was a very close fight,” said Mikey on Ugas’ controversial loss to Shawn Porter in 2019.

“A lot of people thought he [Yordenis] actually pulled it off, but Porter did take the decision, but it was very close. You know who he [Ugas] is now,” said Mikey.

Interestingly, Mikey saw the Porter vs. Ugas fight as a close one. Many boxing fans felt that was a far more dominating performance by Yordenis than what he did against Pacquiao. You have to wonder if Mikey even watched the Porter-Ugas fight because it wasn’t close at all.

This writer had Ugas winning 9 rounds to 3 against Porter, and the rounds were easy to score because Yordenis was the one landing the much harder shots.

He was throwing power punches, whereas Porter was jabbing and moving to avoid getting nailed. Even 10 rounds to 2 would have been a fair score for the Ugas vs. Porter fight, as it was a mismatch, basically.

Porter fought like he was afraid of Ugas the entire 12 round fight, but being the A-side, that arguably helped Shawn win.

“Probably disappointed and going through a tough 12 round fight. He’s tired and all that,” said Mikey on Pacquiao’s behavior after the fight with Ugas.

“As I said, he’s[Pacquiao] probably considering contemplating the future. A lot of things were going through his mind at the moment.

“So let him take a break, take some time off, and rest a bit. Then he’ll be able to give a more clear answer on his future,” said Mikey.

The last comment from Pacquiao was that he was thinking of returning to the ring to fight Ugas in a rematch, and that’s likely to happen.

Pacquiao said he felt that Ugas one of the ‘easiest opponents” of his career, but the leg cramps he experienced beginning in round four prevented him from using his mobility to attack him the way he wanted.

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