LAS VEGAS – Freddie Roach is concerned about what he saw from Manny Pacquiao on Saturday night. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
Pacquiao ultimately will be the one to decide if he’ll fight again, but his longtime trainer conceded following his loss to Yordenis Ugas that this might mark the end of the Filipino southpaw’s storied career. The 42-year-old Pacquiao was competitive against Ugas, yet he didn’t look like the same fighter that dropped and out-pointed an unbeaten Keith Thurman 25 months earlier.
“You know, I’m a little bit worried about it, yes,” Roach replied when asked about Pacquiao continuing his career during their post-fight press conference. “He’s boxed a long, long time, and he’s boxed with me for a long time. And he’s my best customer I’ve ever had. He’s the best guy, the best fighter. And, you know, I hate to see that day when he retires. But this could be it. He didn’t have a great performance tonight, but we’ll see what Manny decides.”
Pacquiao’s problems penetrating the taller, longer Ugas’ defense were obvious throughout their 12-round fight for Ugas’ WBA “super” welterweight title. The eight-division champion also revealed after suffering his first loss in four years that leg cramps began hindering him during the second round and limited his movement throughout the rest of their bout.
The 35-year-old Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) won eight rounds apiece on the scorecards of judges Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld, both of whom scored it 116-112 for the Cuban champion. Judge Patricia Morse Jarman gave Ugas credit for winning seven of the 12 rounds, 115-113.
Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs) was noncommittal regarding his boxing future following this FOX Sports Pay-Per-View main event.
He said he’ll announce next month whether he’ll run for president in the Philippines. That ambitious endeavor would consume most of the senator’s time and energy over the subsequent seven months.
If Pacquiao were to win that election, which is scheduled for May 9, he would be obligated to serve a six-year term and clearly couldn’t continue his boxing career.
An apologetic Pacquiao acknowledged after losing to Ugas that he is “not young anymore” and that it might be time to start listening to his body. The compassionate Pacquaio also admitted that as much as he still loves boxing, he is more committed to helping people.
“You know, as long as I live in this world,” Pacquiao said, “I want to leave a legacy, not only being a good fighter, but I want to leave a legacy as an inspiration to everybody, like I said, inside and outside the ring. I’m not talking in a politician way, but I am a public servant. I want to help people. Even my own money, I give back to the people. So, that’s my mission.
“I think, for me, material things in this world, you cannot bring that to the grave. I mean, when our lives are finished in this world, we can’t take nothing. We came to this world naked and we will depart naked. Let’s remember that. And in this sport, this is my passion. That’s why I’m here, keep on fighting at age of 42. I’m enjoying it, but you know, sometimes you have to think about the response of your body.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.