Manny Pacquiao was forced to switch his focus from undefeated IBF/WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr to WBA titlist Yordenis Ugas but that hasn’t changed the Focus ahead of the August 21st event taking place at the T-Mobile Arena.
Pacquiao was preparing for Errol Spence Jr but with two weeks to the event “The Truth” goth sidelined with an eye injury, which required immediate surgery and is presently recovering from a turn Retina. However, this gave Ugas an opportunity to be promoted into the main event.
Pacquiao doesn’t take this lightly as he was ones in Ugas shoes, 20 years ago. Practically unknown outside the Philippines was Manny Pacquiao, who would have probably been idle watching IBF junior featherweight champion Lehlo Ledwaba defend his title against Enrique Sanchez in the co-main event of Javier Castillejo vs Oscar De La Hoya WBC Super Welterweight championship back in June, 2001.
With two weeks left for the event, Sanchez got injured while training for the event and a hunt for a new opponent began with a few names rejecting the offer. Pacquiao got the call and accepted the offer. Having just added the new Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach to his team, Pacquiao moved over.
From the opening bell, Lehlo Ledwaba saw hell and was battered from corner to corner till the referee couldn’t watch any more, stopping the fight in the sixth round.
“I was in very good shape since I had recently fought in the Philippines and had just begun to work with Freddie,” said Manny, who ends his Wild Card Boxing Club training camp today.
“I was a day away from going home to the Philippines when the fight was offered to me. I was so excited. This was a great opportunity. There was no way I was going to pass it up. Freddie and I worked every day those two weeks until the weigh-in. That is how we started to get to know each other. Ugás is in a similar situation. He was already training for a welterweight title fight on the same card as mine so he too is ready to make the most of this opportunity. I know what Ugás is feeling because twenty years ago I was Ugás. I am not taking him for granted. In fact I am taking him as seriously as I took Errol Spence.
Pacquiao believes Ledwaba probably made a mistake in training camp or didn’t train for an opponent of his calibre. The Senator doesn’t want to make such mistakes and is taking every bit of his training seriously as he has been in Ugas shoes before.
Pacquiao wants to remind Ugas, how fighters get to be World champions as he was given and never got to win the belt.
“I will not make the same mistake Ledwaba made with me. I still have the same hunger to win. I live for it. I have had a great training camp and I am well-prepared. I want to prove to everyone, especially Yordenis Ugás, that I am still here. My title was given to Ugás. That is not how you become a champion. You earn it by winning it inside the ring. We will fight for the title. That is the proper way a champion is crowned.”