Errol Spence Jr. suffers retinal tear, withdraws from fight vs. Manny Pacquiao

Errol Spence Jr. has withdrawn from his Aug. 21 bout vs. Manny Pacquiao after it was discovered he had a retinal tear in his left eye.

Doctors discovered Spence’s injury during a pre-fight examination, conducted by the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday; Spence, who holds the IBF and WBC welterweight championship belts, will undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair his eye.

“I’m very disappointed that I won’t be able to fight Manny Pacquiao on Aug. 21,” Spence said (via ESPN). “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.”

Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) later tweeted that he “came back from worse,” saying he would fight the winner of Pacquiao-Ugas “for sure.”

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Meanwhile, Pacquiao (62-7, 39 KOs) will pivot to face Yordenis Ugas in replacement of Spence. He will look to take back his WBA title from the Cuban fighter after having won it in a July 2019 fight against Keith Thurman; the WBA recognized Ugas (26-4, 12 KOs) as its champion during Pacquiao’s hiatus.

Ugas, already on the Spence-Pacquiao card, had his own opponent — Fabian Maidana — drop out of the fight due to an injury he suffered in sparring on Monday. ESPN responded by placing the otherwise-stranded fighters into a match, and will create another fight to keep the pay-per-view at four fights.

Said Ugas: “It’s an honor to fight the great multiple-division world champion, Manny Pacquiao, as I am more than ready to take on this challenge. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Pacquiao, but I am coming to win this fight.”

A win by Pacquiao doesn’t guarantee a bout with Spence, however: He is preparing for a May presidential run in the Philippines against incumbent Rodrigo Duterte. Regardless, he sympathized with Spence and wished him a speedy recovery:

“The proper way — and the only way — to win a world title is inside the ring,” Pacquiao said. “I ask everyone to join me in praying for a full and complete recovery for Errol Spence Jr. Thank God his physical examination discovered his eye condition before he suffered any further damage.”

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