MANNY PACQUIAO’S showdown with Errol Spence has been cancelled. The two elite welterweights were due to box on August 21 but Spence has had to withdraw due to a retinal tear in his left eye. This would have been one of the most high profile events in professional boxing this year. It is now another major fight that has had to be called off.

Event promoter Premier Boxing Champions stated that Spence only discovered the injury at his pre-fight medical with the Nevada State Athletic Commission in Las Vegas on Monday. Spence has now returned to Dallas, Texas and will have surgery on Wednesday.

“I’m very disappointed that I won’t be able to fight Manny Pacquiao on August 21,’’ Spence said. “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. I’d like to apologize to everyone. You know I’ll be back as soon back soon.’’

Pacquiao will still box on that date. Yordenis Ugas, the 35-year-old Cuban who has been undefeated since his 2019 loss to Shawn Porter, comes in as a replacement opponent. Pacquiao said, “First and foremost I ask everyone to join me in praying for a full and complete recovery for Errol Spence. Thank God his physical examination discovered his eye condition before he suffered any further damage.”

“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,’’ Ugas said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for Pacquiao, but I am coming to win this fight. I’ve been in camp working hard with my coach Ismael Salas and I know together we will come up with a masterful game plan to combat anything Manny will bring to the ring. I wish Errol Spence Jr. a speedy recovery and I want to ensure the fans that I will be at my best for this fight.

“Everyone knows my story about how I came to America to follow my dreams of becoming a world champion, and now it’s time to stamp my legacy with a victory, as one of the best Cuban fighters to ever put on a pair of gloves. I love my country and I want to dedicate this fight to all the men and women who are fighting for freedom.’’

The hope is that Pacquiao-Spence indeed can eventually be rescheduled. Spence has had to contend with serious injury before. After surviving a terrible car crash he returned to boxing to beat Danny Garcia last year. He intends to come back to box the Pacquiao-Ugas winner.

“I came back from worse,” he declared. “I’ll be back for the winner for sure.”