By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Yordenis Ugas definitely didn’t win over the crowd Saturday night, but he secured his welterweight title shot.
The Cuban contender easily out-pointed Argentina’s Cesar Barrionuevo in their dull 12-round, 147-pound championship elimination match on the Danny Garcia-Shawn Porter undercard at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Ugas is expected to challenge the winner of the Garcia-Porter fight for the vacant WBC welterweight title at some point in 2019.
The lack of action in their uneventful fight caused the crowd to boo at times, but Ugas did what he needed to do against an southpaw who was reluctant to engage for much of their encounter. Judges John McKaie (120-108) and Kevin Morgan (120-108) each scored all 12 rounds for Ugas, while Tom Schreck scored one round for Barrionuevo (119-109).
Ugas (23-3, 11 KOs) improved to 8-0 since suffering back-to-back decision defeats to Emmanuel Robles and Amir Imam in 2014. The Miami resident also halted Barrionuevo’s 10-fight winning streak, which was pieced together largely against nondescript opposition.
Ugas rocked Barrionuevo (34-4-2, 24 KOs, 1 NC) with right hands in the second and 12th rounds, but Barrionuevo overcame those flush punches. He has not been knocked out in his nine-year pro career.
Ugas unloaded a flurry of punches on Barrionuevo early in the eighth round. His activity drew a reaction from the crowd, yet he didn’t land any punches that hurt his retreating opponent.
Ugas was busier and more accurate in the sixth and seventh rounds. Barrionuevo mostly moved away from him in those rounds.
Ugas drilled Barrionuevo with right hands in separate sequences during the fifth round, but didn’t follow up either time.
The crowd booed during the fourth and fifth rounds when there were lulls in the action. Based on what had happened in the previous fight, a riveting heavyweight slugfest between Adam Kownacki and Charles Martin, Ugas and Barrionuevo would’ve had a tough time satisfying fans no matter what they did.
Ugas blasted Barrionuevo with a right hand that seemed to stagger him with under a minute to go in the second round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.