The WBA revealed on Friday that they’ve made Manny Pacquiao their ‘Champion in Recess’ at welterweight and elevated ‘regular’ 147-lb champ Yordenis Ugas to their new ‘Super’ welterweight world champion.
This is a move obviously done in reaction to the 42-year-old Pacquiao’s long stretch of inactivity
No one knows when Pacquiao will be fighting in a ‘real fight’ that counts on the record books, so the WBA arguably made the right move in stripping the Filipino star.
Manny hasn’t fought in close to two years, and he doesn’t have a title defense planned for 2021 yet. Pacquiao’s potential exhibition match against lightweight Ryan Garcia, which has yet to be announced, doesn’t count as a title defense.
With Pacquiao’s ‘Champion in Recess’ tag, he can challenge for the WBA welterweight belt when he returns to the ring if that’s something he wants to do. The World Boxing Association would do well if Manny does decide to fight Ugas for his old belt.
Sanctioning bodies need their titles to stay in circulation. It doesn’t help them if a champion doesn’t defend the belt on an annual basis, and unfortunately, Pacquiao has never made a defense of his WBA belt that he won off Keith Thurman in July 2019.