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Yordenis Ugas won’t predict exactly how his fight against Manny Pacquiao will unfold on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The Cuban veteran knows only one thing: He won’t be knocked out. And his trainer, the respected Ismael Salas, underscored Ugas’ confidence by saying that the one-time amateur star should not be underestimated in general.

Ugas, the WBA welterweight titleholder, is a former amateur world champion and Olympic bronze medalist.

He’s 11-1 [5 KOs] since he began working with Salas, the lone loss being a split decision against Shawn Porter in March 2019. Many observers thought that Ugas [26-4, 12 KOs] deserved to have his hand raised after that fight.

“The most important thing is the level of Ugas,” said Salas, speaking Wednesday at the final news conference before the fight. “Yordenis Ugas is one guy coming from the Olympics [with] more than 500 amateur and professional fights.

“When he came to us, he had three losses. But after that he’s been doing 12 fights in a row. And the only loss was Shawn Porter. Shawn Porter is a real fight but Shawn Porter was [fortunate] that night.”

Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, has suggested that a knockout of Ugas is a realistic possibility.

That’s an interesting notion given that Pacquiao has delivered one stoppage – against Lucas Matthysse three years ago – since he knocked out Miguel Cotto in 2009, evidence that he has never been a big puncher at 147 pounds. Plus, Ugas has never been stopped. In fact, three of his four setbacks have come by split decision.

That’s why the idea that Pacquiao could end the fight early doesn’t make sense to him or Salas.

“I’m a hundred percent certain he cannot knock me out,” Ugas said through a translator. “I’ve done all the work over the past six years, I’m really hitting my stride. I don’t think Manny Pacquiao can knock me out.”

Said Salas, apparently forgetting about the Matthysse fight but recognizing the trend: “It’s been a long time that he hasn’t knocked out anyone. He’s been dropping people but he hasn’t had a knockout for a long time.”

At the same time, Ugas has tremendous respect for Pacquiao and feels fortunate to have gotten the fight on short notice.

Ugas was offered the fight about a week ago after Errol Spence Jr. had to pull out because of an eye injury. And landing a fight with Pacquiao is like winning the lottery, both in terms of money and exposure.

He doesn’t want to waste the opportunity.

“Look, I have come prepared for 12 hard rounds,” he said. “If this is the final fight for the legend Manny Pacquiao [he will have] fought against a guy who brought his best and is a world class fighter.”

Source: Michael Rosenthal

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