Manny Pacquiao insists he had no issue altering his preparations to face Yordenis Ugas and vows to beat the Cuban by knockout if the opportunity arises for him.
Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) bids to reclaim the WBA welterweight title from Ugas (26-4, 12 KOs) that he was stripped of in January at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night, live on FOX Sports pay-per-view in the USA and Sky Sports in the UK.
‘Pacman’ was set to face unified WBC and IBF champion, Errol Spence Jr, but the Texan southpaw was forced to pull out 11 days prior to the showdown with a torn retina discovered at a routine pre-fight medical examination.
Ugas, an orthodox operator had been preparing to defend his belt against Fabian Maidana on the undercard, however the Argentine also withdrew through injury with the 35-year-old then elevated to main event status and the Filipino senator says he will have no trouble adjusting to the change of style.
“I didn’t like that someone took my belt without challenging me in the ring,” Pacquiao said during Thursday’s press conference.
“Both of us are champions, but we’ll see who has the belt after Saturday.
“I’m praying for a fast recovery from Errol Spence Jr. and that he can fight again soon.
“I of course felt bad when I first heard the news, but it’s a good thing that Ugas was ready to challenge me for the world title. I’m glad that we can settle that dispute about the WBA title. It’s always better to talk in the ring.
“It only took me two days to adjust to fighting Ugas. I have fought a lot of right handed fighters before.
“It would have been harder switching from preparing for a right hander to a southpaw. Most of my opponents have been right-handed, so there’s nothing to worry about.”
The eight-division world champion fights for the first time since a split decision win over then-WBA champion, Keith Thurman in July 2019, becoming the oldest welterweight champion in history, a record he will break with victory in Sin City.
The 42-year-old has remained coy in the build-up on his future plans, but has said this could be the 72nd and final fight of his decorated career, although he also hinted that he could be open to a rescheduled meeting with Spence or a bout with WBO titlist, Terence Crawford.
“I feel young right now. I’m just happy with what I’m doing, because boxing is my passion,” Pacquiao added.
“I enjoy training camp and I’m excited to sacrifice and be disciplined every day to prepare for a fight like this.
“For the Keith Thurman fight I would do about 25 rounds a day, and now for this fight I’m doing 30 or more rounds a day. The coaches have had to try to stop me because I want to keep going.”
Ugas is on a three-fight winning streak since a disputed split decision loss to Shawn Porter in March 2019 for the WBC welterweight crown, beating Abel Ramos last June.
Pacquiao says he will not underestimate the 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist and will look to register his first stoppage win since halting Lucas Matthysse in July 2018, if such a scenario occurs.
“If there’s a chance for a knockout, then I’ll go for it because that’s what I want to give to the fans.
“I’m not underestimating Ugas though. He has a lot of experience in boxing and fought in the Olympics. I know I have to be very good to win this fight.
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“I never imagined what I would have accomplished in boxing from the beginning of my career leading up to now. I went from nothing to something in order to be an inspiration for people both inside and outside of the ring.
“This is going to be a good action fight and I’m going to do my best Saturday night, because I love to make the fans happy.”