By Keith Idec
Yordenis Ugas wants to fight Errol Spence Jr. next, but the feeling isn’t mutual.
Spence said during a post-fight press conference late Saturday night that he would rather fight Jessie Vargas in his next bout than Ugas. The unbeaten IBF welterweight champion would prefer facing the winner of the upcoming Danny Garcia-Shawn Porter fight next, but Garcia or Porter wouldn’t be available before the end of this year and Spence wants to fight a third time prior to the end of 2018.
Philadelphia’s Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) and Las Vegas’ Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) could fight for the vacant WBC welterweight title as early as August 25 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Ugas is ranked No. 2 in the IBF’s welterweight ratings. The top spot in the IBF’s 147-pound ratings is open, thus Ugas is the leading available contender to challenge the 28-year-old Spence.
Since Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) made a mandatory defense by knocking out Mexico’s Carlos Ocampo (22-1, 13 KOs) in the first round Saturday night in Frisco, Texas, the strong southpaw isn’t obligated to face Ugas next.
“Ugas is a good fighter,” Spence said. “But like I said, I want big names. I mean, if I was looking at somebody, Jessie Vargas would be in front of Ugas. So like I said, I’m looking for big names. I’m looking for ex-world champions and guys that I can build my legacy on.
“No disrespect to Ugas – he’s a great fighter. And he’s ranked in the IBF, so I’m gonna have to fight him. But, you know, I’m looking to build my legacy and me beating Ugas is not gonna get me anywhere.”
The Cuban-born Ugas (22-3, 11 KOs) scored a second-round technical knockout of the Dominican Republic’s Jonathan Batista (17-14, 10 KOs) on the Spence-Ocampo undercard Saturday night at Ford Center at The Star, the Dallas Cowboys’ training center. Miami’s Ugas, 31, earned the IBF’s No. 2 ranking by stopping Philadelphia’s Ray Robinson (24-3, 12 KOs) in the seventh round of an elimination match February 17 in Las Vegas.
Ugas said following his easy victory Saturday night that he wants to challenge Spence next.
Las Vegas’ Vargas (28-2-1, 10 KOs) most recently battled to a 12-round draw with Cincinnati’s Adrien Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs, 1 NC) on April 21 at Barclays Center. The 29-year-old Vargas, a former WBO welterweight champ, is ranked No. 4 by the IBF.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.