Filipino Manny Pacquiao returns to action after 28 months when he challenges Yordenis Ugas from Cuba for the WBA “super” welterweight belt at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
The tournament will be shown live from 3am on Sunday morning on SuperSport.
Ugas comes in as a late replacement when WBC and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence (27-0; 21) had to withdrew due to an eye injury.
However, the 35-year-old Ugas, who has a record of 26-4; 12, is still a tough challenge for the 42-year-old Pacquiao (62-7-2; 29), who fights from the southpaw stance.
Ugas has lost only one fight since May 2014, when losing to Shawn Porter on a split decision in a clash for the WBC welterweight belt and has won his last three fights.
Despite his age, the super fit Pacquiao will always be in with a chance of victory but will be up against a younger and more active Ugas.
Ugas’s losses have all come on points and Pacquiao has not lost inside the distance since being smashed flat on his face in the sixth round by Manuel Marquez on 8 December 2012.
Even though both are aggressive come-forward fighters it is on the cards that the younger and more active Ugas should finish stronger in the later rounds.
Looking back on his career it is amazing what Pacquiao has achieved since making his pro debut on 22 January 1995 and winning the WBC flyweight belt in December 1998 with an eighth-round knockout over win Chatchai Sasakul.
He would then go on to make history by becoming the first fighter to win world titles in eight weight divisions.
Ugas has height and reach advantages and one of the questions being asked is, will the long layoff and his age be a negative factor for Pacquiao.
Despite his age and long layoff some betting sites have him at a plus 120 favourite with another site having the odds at minus 430 for Pacquiao and plus 300 for Ugas.
The main organisation champions are WBC/IBF Errol Spence Jr, WBA secondary Jamel James and WBO Terence Crawford.
Mark Magsayo v Julio Ceja – featherweight bout (12 rounds)
Victor Ortiz v Robert Guerrero – welterweight bout (10 rounds)
Carlos Castro v Oscar Escandon – featherweight bout (10 rounds)
Frank Martin v Ryan Kielczweski – lightweight bout (10 rounds)
IBF JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHT BOUT CANCELLED
The fight for vacant IBF junior lightweight title between Shavkat Rakhimov and Kenichi Ogawa, scheduled for 20 August in Dubai, has been cancelled.