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Errol Spence pulls out of fight with torn retina, Manny Pacquiao to fight Yordenis Ugas instead

Photo by Jhay Oh Otamias

Errol Spence Jr. has withdrawn from his pay-per-view showdown with Manny Pacquiao due to a retinal tear in his left eye.

As a result, Pacquiao will instead face WBA welterweight titleholder Yordenis Ugas on August 21 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Ugas had been scheduled to face Fabian Maidana in the co-main event.

The torn retina was discovered during a pre-fight medical examination that was conducted for the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday. Spence is scheduled for surgery on Wednesday and is expected to return to the ring.

“Unfortunately, the doctors found a tear in my left eye and said I needed to get surgery on it ASAP and that there was no way I could fight with my eye in that condition. I’d like to apologize to everyone,” said Spence (27-0, 21 knockouts), who vowed on Twitter to face the Pacquiao-Ugas winner.

“We’ve come back from worse,” Spence added, perhaps referring to the 2019 car wreck that nearly cost him his career and life.

The vacant Ring magazine welterweight championship was previously at stake in the fight between Spence, the no. 1 rated welterweight, and Pacquiao, the no. 3 rated boxer. The championship will no longer be at stake as Ugas is rated no. 5 by The Ring.

Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs), who is deep in training at the Wild Card Boxing Club in Los Angeles, wished Spence a speedy recovery.

“Thank God his physical examination discovered his eye condition before he suffered any further damage,” said Pacquiao. 

Pacquiao tests his abs with conditioning coach Justin Fortune. Photo by Jhay Oh Otamias

Ugas (26-4, 12 KOs) last fought in September of 2020, when he defeated Abel Ramos by split decision. He was elevated to full champion after Pacquiao, who had defeated Keith Thurman in 2019 for the belt, was stripped due to inactivity amid the pandemic.

The 35-year-old Ugas, a Miami resident who was born in Cuba, has never fought on a stage this big before. His highest profile bout was a 2019 split decision loss to Shawn Porter in a bout that many felt he could have gotten the decision in. Ugas has since won three straight, including a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Omar Figueroa Jr. on the Pacquiao-Thurman card.

Pacquiao hinted at unfinished business with Ugas, who was handed the belt without defeating him.

“The proper way and the only way to win a world title is inside the ring,” said Pacquiao.

Ugas said it was “an honor” to fight Pacquiao.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Pacquiao, but I am coming to win this fight. I’ve been in camp working hard with my coach Ismael Salas and I know together we will come up with a masterful game plan to combat anything Manny will bring to the ring,” said Ugas.


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