Pacquiao downgraded to WBA ‘Champion in Recess’

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 30) — Manny Pacquiao has been stripped of his Super Champion belt by the World Boxing Association after not being able to defend his title for more than a year.

The WBA named Pacquiao “Champion in Recess,” while promoting Cuban Yordenis Ugas to Welterweight Super Champion.

Pacquiao has been inactive since he won the Super Champion belt against American Keith Thurman in July 2019, the WBA said in a press release on Friday.

“Rule C.22-24 states that when a champion is unable to defend the belt for medical, legal or other reasons beyond his control, he may be named champion in recess,” the WBA said.

In a series of tweets on Saturday, Ugas said Pacquiao “is a legend and he will always be champion,” adding that he’s willing to fight the Filipino boxing legend.

Pacquiao earlier confirmed a match with UFC superstar Conor McGregor in 2021, although details are still being finalized. Early this week, American boxing star Ryan Garcia teased through his social media page that he would be facing the boxer-turned-senator, but Pacquiao’s camp said boxing is not the lawmaker’s priority now amid the COVID-19 pandemic.