By Francisco Salazar
CARSON - Did Shawn Porter do enough to retain his world title or did Yordenis Ugas not do enough to win the title?
That has been the debate amongst boxing fans, whether in person or on social media, since their 12-round clash Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park (formerly known as the Stubhub Center) in Carson, California.
Porter won by split-decision to retain his WBC welterweight title.
The fight was more a chess match than the action fight many boxing scribes expected. Porter boxed from the outside, moving in and out of the taller Ugas’ longer reach.
There were periods in the fight where Ugas closed the distance and fired combinations at Porter, who blocked numerous with his arms. Ugas did slip in several right hands, but was not busy enough, admiring his work or talking to Porter.
During these close rounds, Ugas could have pressed the action or thrown more punches to convincingly win the rounds.
Porter, who initially weighed in at 148.8 before losing two pounds in the two-hour period to make weight, did not look tired. According to CompuBox, Porter did land more punches than Ugas, 144 to 128.
One judge scored the bout 117-111 for Ugas, while the other two judges scored the bout 116-112 and 115-113 for Porter.
“We wanted to outbox him and eventually turn it on and press him,” said Porter after the fight. “But my Dad did not think that was the smartest way to win the fight. We fought this way for 12 rounds and no one has ever seen that from me before.”
The 31-year-old Porter improved to 30-2-1, 17 knockouts.
Ugas will claim he did enough to win the fight, that he pressed the action and initiated the exchanges between both fighters. Boxingscene scored the bout 115-113 for Ugas.
Ugas had the opportunity to be more aggressive and assertive during the fight, but left many close rounds up in the air. He still believed he did enough to win.
“There’s no doubt about it, I was robbed tonight,” said the 32-year-old Ugas, who now resides in Miami, Florida. “After the first round, I figured him out and dominated the fight. He had no answer when I was pushing him back. I dominated the fight in my opinion.”
To play Devil’s Advocate, Ugas may have done enough in the eyes of the many fans, but not the judges seated at ringside. Judge Steve Morrow scored the bout 116-112 for Porter.
Judge Max DeLuca scored the bout 115-113 for Porter, but he scored round 12 for Porter when Ugas was the most effective fighter during the round.
Would a rematch be in order? Only if the WBC mandates it, but by the looks of their post-fight comments, do not hold your breath.
“I showed tonight that I belong with the elite fighters at welterweight,” said Ugas, who was the mandatory challenger for the WBC title. He drops to 23-4, 11 KOs.
“All I can say is that I’m ready to fight any of the top names in the division. I’ll be back.”
Porter was diplomatic with what the future holds for him.
“We got the win. We’re still champion and we’re looking forward to what is next.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing