WBA designates Manny Pacquiao as 'champion in recess'

The future Hall of Famer hasn't fought since winning the WBA (Super) welterweight title in July 2019.

Manny Pacquiao is a lock future Hall of Famer. But that's not good enough to hold onto the top belt in the welterweight division, according to the WBA.

On Friday night, the WBA designated Pacquiao as its welterweight "champion in recess." That means Yordenis Ugas has been promoted to the WBA's top welterweight champion.

The reason for Pacquiao's new designation?

"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 sanctioning body released in a statement Friday night. "The medical reasons must be documented before the WBA Medical Committee, while the legal reasons must be evidenced before the legal director and the Championships Committee."

Pacquiao, 42, took a split decision over Keith Thurman to win the WBA (Super) welterweight title in July 2019, but hasn't defended the strap since. Meanwhile, Ugas earned a split decision over Abel Ramos in September to win the WBA (Regular) welterweight crown and is now being upgraded due to Pacquiao's new designation.

There have been talks about Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) possibly facing the likes of WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford or Ryan Garcia, although nothing has materialized as of press time.

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