MANILA – Eight-division world champion and Senator Manny Pacquiao lost his World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight super title after the organization stripped him of the title due to inactivity.
However, the WBA said Pacquiao remains a “champion in recess.”
“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 statement on Saturday.
Pacquiao attained the WBA super belt after beating Keith Thurman in Las Vegas, Nevada in July 2019.
However, he never got to fight for the rest of the year.
Worse, the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic put all of his 2020 boxing plans on hold, eventually putting all the focus on his job as a lawmaker.
Speculations are rife on who Pacquiao will fight next, the “likeliest” of which being Ryan Garcia, who publicly declared that he is going to battle him soon.
Meanwhile, the WBA elevated Cuban pugilist Yordenis Ugas to super champion status.
Ugas, a former Olympic bronze medalist, was the regular champion, beating American opponent Abel Ramos on Sept. 7 (Philippine Time) in Los Angeles.
“Thank God, my agent, my team, family, and fans. Today is a great day for me. Thanks to the WBA for raising me to Super Champion and doing what is best for [the] sport,” Ugas tweeted.
Despite being the undisputed WBA champ now, the 34-year-old Ugas expressed openness to fight the 42-year-old Pacquiao for the title.
“I don’t want this position for easy fights. My team has my consent for my next fight to fight Pacquiao if he wants to show who is the true WBA champion,” Ugas said.