There are howls of protest and ridicule now being heard all across America over the sudden “rebooking” in the slated Pacquiao-Spence bout on August 21 two days ago (Aug. 10).
Without warning, Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) announced that Errol Spence, Jr. was found to be afflicted with retinal tear during a mandatory medical examination, forcing him to pull out of the unification fight for the WBC and IBF boxing welterweight championships.
But as quickly as the announcement that Spence was gone as Pacquiao’s foe on the ring, PBC assured boxing fans that the eight-division championship titlist wasn’t about to go home to his job as Senator of the Philippines. PBC found a worthy opponent for Pacquiao — Yordeni Ugas. The 33-year old Cuban, who currently hold the WBA welterweight champion’s belt, had initially been booked as an undercard to fight against Fabian Maidana.
How did the switch happen so quickly?
Well, the organizers said that Maidana had also suffered an injury — a cut below his left eye — on that same day Spence’s injury was disclosed.
How could that possibly happen?
That was too much of a coincidence.
The speculation is that Maidana had to give way by pretending to have suffered a similar eye injury as Spence. There’s too much at stake in Pacquiao going back to the ring. Huge amounts of green bucks have been spent in promotion and booking the venue and pay-per-view contracts.
The financial losses would have been staggering if the main event is cancelled.
Boxing analysts are loudly complaining that this is hardly the match that fans are anticipating. While Ugas is the title-holder for the WBA welterweight championship, it’s not right that he is put to face Pacquiao just like that with little preparation. The same thing can be said about Pacquiao. For months now, Pacquiao trained with Spence in mind. Long hours were spent viewing and reviewing Spence’s previous bouts to develop a battle plan.
There’s no more time to make adjustments. The remaining 10 days before Pacquiao and Ugas meet each other will be the tapering off in training. No more intense sparring sessions. Mostly speed ball and heavy bag sessions will be in their training day. Everything, except maybe for the physical training aspect, is gone to waste. Both fighters will climb the ring essentially unfamiliar with the opponent’s fighting style.
What can we expect on Aug. 21?
It will be a boring fight. The first few rounds are likely to be probing sessions, each fighter trying to size up the other, looking for possible weaknesses. In this situation, it would be too risky to launch an early attack. Nothing in the training had prepared both what to expect from the other. There will be a lot of dancing around, a few jabs thrown here and there. But as both of them will be cautious, the bout could very well turn out to be a night of ballroom dancing on the ring.