Yordenis Ugas holds his head up as he comes to grips with his latest setback.
The 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist and former WBA welterweight titlist continues to recover from injuries sustained in a tenth-round stoppage loss to Errol Spence Jr. Their three-belt unification bout ended when the ringside physician deemed Ugas (27-5, 12KOs) unfit to continue due to his right eye being swollen shut, with Spence (28-0, 22KOs) going on to win the WBA belt along with defending his WBC/IBF titles April 16 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Ugas trailed 88-83, 88-82 and 88-82 at the time of his first stoppage defeat, after which he was diagnosed with a fractured orbital bone though not requiring surgery.
“Errol Spence showed why he belongs on the pound-for-pound list,” Ugas told BoxingScene.com in his first interview since the Showtime Pay-Per-View main event, from which he continues to recover. “He’s a tremendous champion.”
Ugas earned the fight after sending the legendary Manny Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39KOs) into retirement following a twelve-round, unanimous decision win over the former eight-division champion last August 21 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The win validated Ugas’ WBA title reign after having won a secondary version of the belt in a twelve-round decision over Abel Ramos in September 2020 before being upgraded to full champ last January.
Ugas—who represented Cuba in the 2008 Olympics but who now trains in Las Vegas—attempted his second title defense versus Spence, who has held at least one welterweight belt since May 2017. Their recent clash was the first three-belt unification fight at welterweight since May 2015, when Floyd Mayweather outpointed Manny Pacquiao to win the WBO belt while retaining the WBA and WBC titles in the richest fight in boxing history.
The fight that most fans want to see next at welterweight—and the clash that many have called for since 2018—is the first-ever undisputed championship in the four belt era. Talks appear to be promising for a showdown between Spence and WBO titleholder Terence Crawford (38-0, 29KOs). The pound-for-pound matchup was frequently discussed throughout fight week, with Spence himself acknowledging that it must be the next order of business for the Desoto, Texas-bred southpaw.
So, too, has his most recent opponent.
“Spence-Crawford is a great fight for the fans,” Ugas acknowledged. “If they can make that happen, that will be great for boxing as both guys are elite.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox