Trainer Freddie Roach was an upset bigger than Yordenis Ugas, upsetting Manny Pacquiao.
The matchup dubbed as “The Legend vs. The Olympian” that took place in T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas yesterday could have been different resulting in Pacman winning, even possibly knocking out Ugas had he battled the Cuban champion “on the inside” or had he undergone boxing drills with the guidance and tutorship of a different/wiser trainer and coach.
No excuses. Ugas defeated Pacquiao in an amateur chess competition more than a boxing championship.
Pacman no doubt remains strong and competitive, and could have regained the WBA welterweight belt from Ugas, yet he failed miserably by employing the wrong strategy. Roach must have had taller boxers in mind whom Pacquiao fought and defeated over 10 years ago while training his ward for the Ugas fight. It was the same old Pacquiao movements all throughout the 12 rounds of boxing with the ghost and spectacle of Oscar De La Hoya and Antonio Margarito as Pac’s nemesis, but to no avail.
Roach apparently failed to distinguish the difference between Pacquiao at age 32 and Pacquiao at 42; between time and space; between Ugas and De La Hoya/Margarito; between tradition and method – at a given particular berth or tryst.
Roach appeared insignificant, if not useless, in the bout for Pacman as much as boxing is inconsequential in proving Pacquiao’s worth as a senator/public official in the Philippines because the two endeavors are much too distinct from each other to be measured against each other – in performance.
The fight proved Ugas to be the craftier pugilist. It was evident that the strategy for Ugas was to keep the game at a considerable distance to utilize his big advantage in reach and height. Ugas’ strategy was to “push Pacquiao” as he did in round one hard enough to drop Pacquiao to the floor when he attempted to close in. It was Ugas telling everyone with no ifs and or buts that there’s no way for him to fight Pacquiao on the inside. Note that the usual style of Ugas was nowhere near what he showed in the ring that night. He didn’t attack much the body of Pacman as his style would require for caution or fear of being entangled and caught cold in close fierce exchanges.
Ugas was the more mentally focused boxer as he wore down Pacquiao (in a chess matchup), using just his knights, bishops and rooks all throughout the fight to checkmate/upset a legend and retain his Welterweight title.
Pacquiao defended his loss in a post-fight interview, offering excuses such as “my two legs were cramping that’s why I cannot move around,” but he needed not to move around had he gotten the correct blueprint from Roach. He just had to be busy boxing at close range. Another alibi is that he “didn’t adjust early enough in the fight.” Fact is, he never made any adjustment. He should have said instead that he “didn’t realize early enough the need to replace Roach as his trainer and coach heading to Ugas bout.”
Congratulations to Yordenis Ugas and team for perfectly coming out on fight night with the right mind. As for Pacquiao, just sulk and puff – and regret for blowing it.
But don’t blame Freddie Roach.