Fresh from winning gold in Tokyo, NBA superstar Damian Lillard unwittingly hijacked Yordenis Ugas’ unanimous points victory over Manny Pacquiao on Sunday.
Pacquiao edged the opening six rounds of their WBA welterweight title fight, but for all the 42-year-old’s energy his punches were seldom hitting the mark.
In stark contrast, his 35-year-old Cuban opponent was able to keep Pacquiao at bay with his longer reach and double jab.
Meanwhile, in commentary fox Fox Sports and Main Event, play-by-play called Brian Kenny and expert caller Joe Goossen believed Pacquiao was still edging the fight midway through the fight.
Fellow expert caller Shawn Porter – the last man to beat Ugas – disagreed, believing the “Cuban right hook” had Pacquiao’s measure.
After the seventh round, Lillard chimed in and tweeted: “Ugas fighting his ass off… and they tryna convince viewers that he not winning this fight… and ima a fan of both! SMH”
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It led to an awkward exchange between the rounds, as Porter said Lillard was directing his comments at his fellow commentators.
Porter: “He’s calling Joe and he’s calling BK. He ain’t calling out Shawn.
Kenny: “They’re trying to convince viewers that Ugas isn’t winning this fight?
Porter: “They is you, BK.
Kenny: “I’m saying Ugas is winning this fight.
Porter: “Ah OK.
Goossen: “How do you know that?
Kenny: “I don’t know that.
Porter: “Because Dame is my guy.
Goossen: “Let me call my cousin.
Porter: “Hey, listen, he’s a gold medallist at the Olympic Games.
Goossen: “Listen, that’s all well and good, but right now it’s your buddy.
Porter: “I’m just saying he knows what he’s talking about.”
The awkward exchange did not go unnoticed by viewers, while Lillard’s tweet went viral.
Pacquiao was the heavy favourite for the bout, with Ugas taking the fight on just 11 days notice after Errol Spence Jr. pulled out with an eye injury.
Pacquiao was controversially stripped of his WBA title on grounds of “inactivity” earlier this year despite the global disruption to boxing caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The WBA instead handed the belt to Ugas, a fact that upset Pacquiao.
It leaves his career in doubt, with it unclear whether Pacquiao would retire after a defeat, with Goossen asking in commentary: “Is this the end of a legend?”
Pacquiao did not had an answer to that question when asked after the fight.
“I don’t know,” he said.
“Let me rest first and relax and make a decision if I continue to fight.”