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Errol Spence Jr. has dropped out of his scheduled fight against Manny Pacquiao because of a torn retina in his left eye, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.
Yordenis Ugas will take Spence’s place for the Aug. 21 bout at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Ugas was slated to defend his WBA welterweight title on the undercard against Fabian Maidana, but he will now step into the main event.
“I’m very disappointed that I won’t be able to fight Manny Pacquiao.” Spence said, per Lance Pugmire of The Athletic. “I was excited about the fight. Unfortunately, the doctors found a tear in my left eye and said I needed surgery on it ASAP and that there was no way I could fight with my eye in that condition.”
Pacquiao reacted to the news on social media:
Manny Pacquiao @MannyPacquiao
I pray for a full and complete recovery for @ErrolSpenceJr.
The initial fight was a highly anticipated battle between two of the biggest names in the sport.
Pacquiao is a surefire Hall of Famer with 62 career wins while earning titles in eight different weight classes. Even at 42 years old, he remains a threat in the ring with three straight victories, securing the WBA welterweight title in the process before it was stripped from him due to inactivity.
The Philippines native has continued to test himself late in his career, and facing Spence was certainly going to be a tough challenge. The 31-year-old has a 27-0 professional record with WBC and IBF titles currently on his resume.
“I want to retire him, but I do respect him for taking this fight and being a real fighter,” Spence said of Pacquiao on Morning Kombat (via Brian Campbell of CBS Sports). “He could’ve picked Joe Blow or somebody, or an MMA fighter just to get a huge paycheck. Instead, he took the biggest challenge in the division.”
Pacquiao will now have to settle for a matchup with Ugas, who won the vacant WBA belt in September 2020 with a win over Abel Ramos. The 35-year-old had lost his two previous title fights in his career and has yet to defend his current belt.