Errol Spence Jr withdraws from Pacquiao fight with torn retina
Welterweight champion Errol Spence, Jr. has been forced to withdraw from his Aug. 21 fight against Manny Pacquiao due to a retinal tear in his left eye, organisers said on Tuesday.
Cuban Yordenis Ugas, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has agreed to replace Spence in the main event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and defend his World Boxing Association welterweight belt against Pacquiao, who has won titles in eight divisions.
Spence, the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation welterweight world champion who has a 27-0 record, learned he had a torn retina during a pre-fight medical examination by the Nevada Athletic Commission in Las Vegas on Monday.
“I’m very disappointed that I won’t be able to fight Manny Pacquiao on August 21,” Spence, the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Council champion, said in a statement.
“I was excited about the fight and the event,” Spence said in a news release. “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.”
Ugas, who owns a record of 26-4 with 12 knockouts, beat Abel Ramos last September and was installed as WBA champion after Pacquiao was stripped of the belt.
“First and foremost, I ask everyone to join me in praying for a full and complete recovery for Errol Spence Jr.,” Pacquiao said in a statement. “Thank God his physical examination discovered his eye condition before he suffered any further damage.
“I have agreed to fight Yordenis Ugas on August 21 for the WBA welterweight super championship. The proper way and the only way to win a world title is inside the ring.”
Tom Brown, president of TGB Promotions noted that for Ugas it is a daunting challenge to “make his first title defense against a boxing legend in a career-defining fight.”
Ugas said it would be “an honor” to meet Pacquiao in the ring.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Pacquiao, but I am coming to win this fight,” he said.