The Manny Pacquiao vs. Yordenis Ugas pay-per-view card weigh-ins are official
LAS VEGAS – As weigh-ins go for a Manny Pacquiao fight, it was subdued and straightforward. No frills. Chalk that up to boxing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Although some 15,000 spectators are expected at the T-Mobile Arena to see Pacquiao challenge Yordenis Ugas for the WBA welterweight title that was stripped from Pacquiao in January and given to Ugas on Saturday (FOX Sports Pay-Per-View, 9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. PT, $74.99), fans were not permitted to attend the weigh-in on Friday afternoon at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
That didn’t keep hundreds of mask-wearing fans from congregating outside the arena prior to the weigh-in as they chanted, “Let us in! Let us in!” to no avail.
People involved in the event or working it were allowed inside, from the fighters and their teams to television production folks, media members and members of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
So rather than the typical thunderous applause and cheering, there was little electricity as Pacquiao, who will be fighting for the first time in over two years, stepped onto the scale and weighed 146 pounds.
Moments earlier, Ugas, making his first title defense, also made weight, right on the 147-pound division limit. There wasn’t even a serious staredown because they were positioned several feet apart.
Asked about the change of opponent 11 days ago from unified titlist Errol Spence Jr., who was diagnosed with a torn retina, to Ugas, who was initially scheduled to defend his title in the co-feature against Fabian Maidana before Maidana suffered a cut and was also ruled out, Pacquiao professed to be taking the fight just as seriously as he was taking Spence.
“I never take a fight lightly,” Pacquiao said moments after getting off the scale. “I don’t want to be overconfident. I want to make sure [Saturday] night there will be a victory and, God willing, the fans will be happy.”
Whether this will be Pacquiao’s final fight remains to be seen as he considers a run for the presidency of the Philippines with the election next May.
The 42-year-old Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 knockouts) declined to address that at the weigh-in, saying instead, “[Saturday] night I will do my best. I will give my best for the fans and this fight is dedicated to the Filipino people for their support and love and prayers.”
Ugas (26-4, 12 KOs), 35, a Cuban defector fighting out of Miami, has said during the lead up to the fight that he would like to be the man who retires Pacquiao from the ring. He looked strong and ready.
“Being in the ring with a legend like Manny Pacquiao – I have a lot of respect for him,” Ugas said through an interpreter. “I am very excited but all respect is finished when we get in the ring. It’s very emotional and I am very excited for this. It’s a great opportunity. I have the belt. Whoever wins [Saturday] gets the belt but, right now, I’m the champion and I’m ready.”
The commission has assigned Russell Mora as the referee. Dave Moretti, Steve Weisfeld and Patricia Morse Jarman will serve as the judges.
For the 10-round welterweight co-feature, former featherweight and junior lightweight titlist Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero weighed 146¾ pounds and former welterweight world titlist “Vicious” Victor Ortiz was 148 as the onetime stalwarts of major fights are both are looking to return to the ring after long layoffs.
Guerrero (36-6-1, 20 KOs), 38, of Gilroy, California, who has won three fights in a row since ending a brief retirement in 2018, has not fought since September 2019. Ortiz (32-6-3, 25 KOs), 34, of Ventura, California, has not boxed since a charitable majority draw with former two-division titlist Devon Alexander in February 2018.
Featherweight Mark Magsayo (22-0, 15 KOs), 26, of the Philippines, and Julio Ceja (32-4-1, 28 KOs), 28, of Mexico, who briefly held a major junior featherweight title in 2015 and 2016, both made weight for their WBC featherweight title elimination bout that will put the winner a step closer to a mandatory fight with titleholder Gary Russell Jr. Magsayo weighed in at 125½ pounds and Ceja was 125.
Featherweight Carlos Castro (26-0, 11 KOs), 27, of Phoenix, was 125½ pounds for his 10-rounder against former WBC title challenger Oscar Escandon (26-5, 18 KOs), 37, of Colombia, who was 125¾. They will square off in the opener of the pay-per-view telecast.