Welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr was forced to withdraw from his Aug. 21 fight with Manny Pacquiao due to a retinal tear in his left eye, organizers said on Tuesday.
Cuban Yordenis Ugas, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, agreed to replace Spence in the main event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and defend his welterweight belt in the World Boxing Association versus Pacquiao, who won titles in eight divisions. .
Spence, the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation welterweight champion who has a 27-0 record, learned he had a tear in his retina during a previous medical exam -combat by the Nevada Athletic Commission in Las Vegas on Monday.
“I was excited about the fight and the event,” Spence said in a press release. “Unfortunately, the doctors found a tear in my left eye and said I needed to have the surgery ASAP and there was no way I could fight my eye in this condition. “
Spence, who returned home to Dallas and will undergo surgery to repair the tear on Wednesday, is expected to make a full recovery and return to the ring.
“I ask everyone to join me in praying for a full and complete recovery of Errol Spence Jr,” Pacquiao said. “Thank goodness his physical exam found his eye problem before he sustained any further damage. “
In Pacquiao’s most recent fight, in July 2019, the Filipino southpaw defeated Keith Thurman in a split decision to win his since-vacant WBA super welterweight title belt.
Ugas (26-4, 12 KOs) has established himself as an elite welterweight since returning from a layoff in 2016 and was elevated to world champion in January after winning a championship belt WBA by defeating Abel Ramos last September.
The 35-year-old Cuban said it was an honor to have the chance to fight Pacquiao and that he was up for the challenge despite the short notice.
“I have a lot of respect for Pacquiao, but I’m coming to win this fight,” Ugas said.
“I worked hard at camp with my coach Ismael Salas and I know that together we will come up with a masterful game plan to fight whatever Manny brings into the ring. “