Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao’s future in boxing is uncertain after suffering a unanimous decision loss to Yordenis Ugas. He may decide to continue fighting at the age of 42 or retire and focus on his political career in the Philippines.
Former world champions Donnie Nietes and Gerry Peñalosa think that Pacquiao can still compete in the elite level if he decides to fight on.
“I think he can still compete with the top welterweights. But he must be 100 percent in training,” Nietes, a world champion in four weight divisions, told SunStar Cebu. “He still has his speed.”
Pacquiao lost to Ugas by unanimous decision on Aug 22, 2021 (PH time) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with scores of 115-112, 116-112 and 116-112.
Pacquiao said his legs cramped, which is the reason his footwork didn’t look amazing.
“I think he was overtrained,” said Peñalosa. “He trained too much. He ran up the mountains in the morning and trained in the gym in the afternoon. I think it was too much, and he had no time to recover.”
Peñalosa also felt that Pacquiao’s two-year hiatus played a part in his loss and that the “Fighting Senator” would have beaten Ugas if he was 100 percent.
“His inactivity also affected his performance,” said Peñalosa, a two-division world champion. “I think he can beat Ugas.”
Nietes, one of the aging superstars of Philippine boxing, felt that Ugas read Pacquiao’s movement really well. But he thinks Paquiao wasn’t 100 percent in that fight.
“Manny had a hard time going inside because Ugas was very good at looking at his offense and defense,” he said. “Ugas was really very good. But I think Manny was not 100 percent in training. He had just a few weeks to adjust.” (EKA)