On August 21, tens of thousands of fans present at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, bore witness as the Philippines’s pound for pound boxing legend Manny Pacquiao sought to reclaim his title of World Boxing Association (WBA) super welterweight champion from Yordenis Ugás, only to be bested by the Cuban fighter via unanimous decision.
The heated battle between the 42-year-old Pacquiao and the 35-year-old Ugás was the former’s attempt to take back the title which had been stripped from him due to inactivity, which the 5-foot-9 Cuban foiled after the judges ruled in his favor.
Pacquiao and Ugás traded blows for 12 long rounds as the crowd cheered on the Filipino boxing star, even with many experts and fans alike noticing his stiff movements and unsuccessful attacks.
With Ugás having both the height and reach advantage, Pacquiao’s stratagem of out-maneuvering his behemoth of an opponent fell flat as he could not get around the slow but forceful punches thrown his way.
In the end, although Ugás was by no means treated to an easy victory, he showed no visible signs of harm from the bout, unlike Pacquiao who had welts and cuts on his face.
After the match, the two athletes acknowledged each other’s strength, as Pacquiao graciously accepted Ugás’ triumph.
When interviewed about the fight, despite insisting on making no excuses for his loss, Pacquiao continuously mentioned that his legs were not what they used to be, feeling painful and tight, thus handicapping what would have been his mobility advantage.
On the topic of retirement as well as intentions to run for higher office in the 2022 Philippine general elections, the solon-fighter simply remarked that he was unsure and needed time to “relax and make a decision”.
Though not entirely credible as the answer was given post-fight, the uncertainty contradicts the statement of his spokesperson and political adviser former Bacolod Mayor and Congressman Monico Puentevella, who said that Pacquiao’s presidential bid was “set in stone”, last month.
As the winds of the political climate change with Pacquiao caught in the PDP-Laban rift and his soured relationship with party mate President Rodrigo Duterte, will the boxing icon and political contender hang up his gloves for both arenas?
In a recent interview with The Athletic, Pacquiao not only declared his intention to go toe-to-toe once more with Ugás, who he referred to as one of the “easiest” opponents in his career but also expressed confidence in being able to enter the ring one last time before election season kicks-off.
Though not an official confirmation, it’s clear that Pacquiao hasn’t thrown in the towel for either the boxing or political scene just yet.
Whether or not his wars on both fronts will prove victorious, the public will just have to watch and see.
The Bukidnon-born Emmanuel Dapidran “Manny” Pacquiao, first broke into the boxing spotlight as a junior flyweight on January 22, 1995, at 16 years old, and would go on to become the only eight-division world boxing champion in history.
He began his political career as Representative of Sarangani in the House of Representatives (HoR) back in 2010, and would, later on, win a seat in the Senate in May 2016.
As a senator, Pacquiao has been a controversial figure, garnering the worst attendance record, supporting the death penalty, and opposing same-sex marriage.
His anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments enraged many and even led to the termination of his sponsorship from Nike.
The 2022 Philippine general elections will take place on May 9, next year.