By Ryan Maquinana
LOS ANGELES -- Amir Imam impressively outclassed Yordenis Ugas last Saturday on the Bermane Stiverne-Chris Arreola II undercard, and the 23-year-old junior welterweight wants more.
"I plan on getting a title shot at 140 (pounds)," Imam told BoxingScene.com after the unanimous decision victory. "Jessie Vargas has the WBA (belt). I'm ready."
Imam, ranked eighth in the WBA, has just 14 pro bouts to his name, but the Albany, N.Y., native is confident in his abilities to dethrone Vargas.
"I'm just cut from a different cloth. I only have a few fights, but I fight like a guy with more experience than my opponents," Imam said. "I can outbox Vargas. I'd digest what he can do. I plan on becoming the champ by the end of this year."
Imam (14-0, 12 KOs), who made waves on "ShoBox: The New Generation" when he knocked Jared Robinson out of the ring in February, put his boxing skills on display against Ugas, who was noticeably heavier on fight night.
"I felt him out to see what he got," Imam said. "At the end of the fight, that's when I saw really how he big he was. But I did what I had to do to get the W. I was keeping my jab out there, and that's the key to my success. Keeping the distance was how I dominated him."
Imam, who held camp in Pompano Beach, Florida, with Stacy McKinley and Jaamel Eaddy, benefited from some sage advice in the corner.
"We told him to be first, because (Ugas) outweighed him, it looked like by 20 pounds," Eaddy said. "We didn't want (Amir) to brawl, so we told him to do you what you do best. Work your jab. Move your head. Don't get hit with the right hand. Once you get your jab working and controlling your opponent, have fun."
Imam added he was inspired by the Hall of Famer from whom his moniker, "The Young Master," derives.
"I got that nickname when I first turned pro," Imam said. "My coach talked about fighters back in the day and I learned about Joe Gans, 'The Old Master.' I'm young, so they put Young instead of Old. I take that name with pride, and I showed it in the ring. I took what (Ugas) had and I was a master out there."
The win should get Imam closer to his ultimate goal, and his team already believes it has the formula to wrest the championship strap away from its current owner.
"Amir beats Vargas right now," Eaddy said. "Vargas don't move his head enough. Amir is tall and rangy. He can move in and out. He can adjust. He's complete. Vargas is a face-first fighter, and we need someone who comes to us."
When asked if Imam was being rushed before he was ripe enough for a title challenge, Eaddy shook his head and smiled.
"The last three fights, they said he was in over his head," the assistant trainer said, "but we knew what he could do. You can't decelerate a kid like that. You just let him go."
Follow Ryan Maquinana on Twitter @RMaq28. Email him at email@example.com . Tags: Jessie Vargas , Amir Imam