Cody Crowley hopes Yordenis Ugas beats Mario Barrios on Saturday night because he has always wanted to fight Ugas.
More important to the undefeated Canadian contender, however, is that his next fight comes against whoever wins the Ugas-Barrios bout. Crowley is the WBC’s number one contender in its welterweight ratings and beat Abel Ramos by majority decision in a 12-round WBC elimination match March 25 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The 30-year-old Crowley expects undisputed welterweight champ Terence Crawford to move up to the 154-pound division for his next fight – whether it’s an immediate rematch with Errol Spence Jr. or against another opponent – and therefore sees no reason he shouldn’t face Ugas or Barrios for the WBC’s full 147-pound title the next time he steps into the ring.
“I’ve done everything I can now to earn the mandatory position that I have,” Crowley told BoxingScene.com. “So, I look forward to my next fight being for the WBC world title. I see everything lining up, the 147-pound title becoming vacant very soon, and then me and the winner of Ugas-Barrios fighting for it. … I just want what I earned and deserve.”
The Las Vegas-based Crowley (22-0, 9 KOs), a native of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, has beaten then-undefeated Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (18-2, 10 KOs), Josesito Lopez (38-9, 21 KOs) and Ramos (27-6-2, 21 KOs) in his past three fights, each of which went the distance. Like Ugas and Barrios, Crowley is aligned with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
The Cuban-born Ugas (27-5, 12 KOs), a former WBA welterweight champ, and San Antonio’s Barrios (27-2, 18 KOs), an ex-WBA secondary super lightweight champ, will fight for the WBC interim 147-pound championship on the Canelo Alvarez-Jermell Charlo undercard at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Ugas-Barrios will be one of three fights Showtime Pay-Per-View will offer before Alvarez (59-2-2, 39 KOs) defends his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight titles against Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) in the main event (8 p.m. EDT; 5 p.m. PDT; $84.99).
DraftKings lists Ugas as nearly a 3-1 favorite, but Crowley could see the younger, fresher Barrios beating the 37-year-old Ugas in what will be Ugas’ first fight in 17 months.
“To be honest, I see myself fighting Ugas,” Crowley said. “I wanna fight him. I’ve been wanting that fight for a long time. But he’s getting up there [in age] and I just don’t know if he has the same fight in him that Barrios has, for the age  and hunger that [Barrios] still has. He’s just happy for, you know, another fight, another shot, and to keep getting back in that top position. I actually get more excited about fighting [Barrios], thinking it would be more of a dog fight, compared to fighting Ugas, who I know is gonna fight at his own pace and take his time.
“I don’t think [Ugas] can step on the gas and hold down on it with me, and last from the repercussions that will happen. We’ve sparred many times. After my last fight, he came right up and wished me the best. He knew that we would be fighting very soon. But I think if Barrios comes in super hungry and super sharp, and can keep it on him for the full 12, he has that possibility to take it. And I would love to fight him, but Ugas still might have that veteran-ness in him and kinda just be able to make it his own pace and time the shots on Barrios, when the time is right. So, really I can see this fight going either way.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.