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Errol Spence out, Yordenis Ugas in as Manny Pacquiao's new foe

Manny Pacquiao will now face Yordenis Ugas for the WBA super title on Aug. 22. John Locher/AP (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--With only a week and a half left before fight night, Manny Pacquiao will be facing a different opponent.

In a shocking announcement early Wednesday, Errol Spence has backed out of his anticipated showdown with Manny Pacquiao.

According to Premier Boxing Champions, which is supposed to promote the fight, Spence was revealed to have an eye injury after taking a pre-fight medical examination in Las Vegas and has to immediately undergo surgery at his hometown in Dallas.

"I'm very disappointed that I won't be able to fight Manny Pacquiao on August 21 (Aug. 22, Philippine Time)," Spence rued in a statement also released by PBC. "I was excited about the fight and the event. 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."

Spence, who specifically had a torn retina, was supposed to defend both his World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation welterweight titles against Pacquiao.

Stepping in for Spence is current World Boxing Association super champ Yordenis Ugas.

Like Pacquiao, Ugas had his own bout scheduled on Aug. 22 called off, prompting PBC to have both pugs slug it out instead.

Ugas was supposed to face Fabian Maidana for the WBA belt in an undercard to the Pacquiao-Spence fight, but Maidana also had an eye injury, particularly a cut below his left eye.

The new main event of the Aug. 22 card has some pre-bout drama involved regarding how Ugas got his title.

Last January, the WBA stripped Pacquiao of the super title due to inactivity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and gave it to Ugas, the regular champ then, as part of the organization's unique title hierarchy system.

[Related Story: Manny Pacquiao loses WBA belt but remains 'champion in recess']

Pacquiao appealed the decision but to no avail, but with the new headliner set, he gets a chance to reclaim what he lost due to technicality.

Ugas, on the other hand, has expressed openness to fighting Pacquiao for the WBA belt after he was promoted to the super champ status, and thanks to some unforeseen circumstances, his wish was granted.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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