Unified welterweight boxing champion Errol Spence Jr. withdrew from his much-anticipated bout against Manny Pacquiao because of a torn retina in his left eye, Spence announced Tuesday, less than two weeks before the fight was to take place in Las Vegas.
Taking Spence’s place for the Aug. 21 fight at T-Mobile Arena is Yordenis Ugas, the World Boxing Association welterweight champion. The WBA belt will be on the line when Ugas (26-4, 12 KOs), originally on the Pacquiao-Spence undercard, makes his first title defense.
“I am very disappointed I won’t be able to fight Manny Pacquiao on Aug. 21,” Spence said in a statement. “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. I’d like to apologize to everyone.”
Pacquiao, 42, is a future Hall of Famer who has won 12 major titles across eight weight divisions. A senator in his native Philippines, Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) is expected to announce a run for president. The nation will choose its next president in May.
The injury to Spence is the latest disappointment in a summer of major fights that have undergone significant modification or been postponed.
Most recently, Tyson Fury had to pull out of his heavyweight championship match against Deontay Wilder when Fury announced he had contracted the coronavirus. The fight, the third installment of their trilogy, was moved to Oct. 9 after originally being scheduled for July 18.
Another title bout, between unified lightweight champion Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos Jr., was postponed twice but is scheduled for Saturday. The fight was initially supposed to take place June 5 but was pushed back to June 19 after an undercard fight between Evander Holyfield and Kevin McBride was removed. Then the fight was postponed again when Lopez tested positive for the coronavirus.
“It’s an unfortunate turn of events that Errol has a retinal tear, and subsequent surgery has prevented him from participating in this big pay-per-view event,” said Tom Brown, president of TGB Promotions. “We’re very excited Manny has agreed to move forward and Ugas has stepped up to defend his title against the man who once held the title.”
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