Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr has been compelled to pull out from his 21 August battle against Manny Pacquiao because of a retinal tear in his left eye, coordinators said on Tuesday.
Cuban Yordenis Ugas, who won a bronze award at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, has consented to supplant Spence in the headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and safeguard 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 best on the planet who has a 27-0 record, learned he had a torn retina during a pre-battle clinical assessment by the Nevada Athletic Commission in Las Vegas on Monday.
“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.”
Spence, who has gotten back to Dallas and will have a medical procedure to fix the tear on Wednesday, is relied upon to make a full recuperation and get back to the ring.
“I ask everyone to join me in praying for a full and complete recovery for Errol Spence Jr,” said Pacquiao. “Thank God his physical examination discovered his eye condition before he suffered any further damage.”
In Pacquiao’s latest battle, in July 2019, the Filipino southpaw beat Keith Thurman in a split choice to win his since-abandoned WBA super welterweight title belt.
Ugas (26-4, 12 KOs) has set up a good foundation for himself as a first-class welterweight since getting back from a cutback in 2016 and was raised to best on the planet in January in the wake of winning a WBA title belt by overcoming Abel Ramos last September.
The 35-year-old Cuban said it is an honor to get an opportunity to battle Pacquiao and that he is prepared for the test in spite of the short notification.
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Pacquiao, but I am coming to win this fight,” said Ugas.
“I’ve been in camp working hard with my coach Ismael Salas and I know together we will come up with a masterful game plan to combat anything Manny will bring to the ring.”