WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas is still fuming that he was ordered to take part in a mini-tournament by the World Boxing Association.
Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) had hoped to move forward with a unification clash against WBC, IBF Errol Spence in the first quarter of 2022 - but instead the sanctioning body has ordered the Cuban boxer to make a mandatory defense against Eimantas Stanionis.
The winner of that fight will have to collide with the victor of this Saturday's Showtime televised bout between WBA "regular" champion Jamal James and Radzhab Butaev.
Ugas tried to appeal their decision, but the order to make a mandatory defense was upheld.
Ugas last saw action back in August, when he picked up the biggest win of his career with a twelve round decision over eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao.
“The WBA, in a senseless act, is sending me to a tournament to define a [sole] champion. It is a lack of respect. I am the super champion. I beat Jamal James. I just beat Manny Pacquiao. This does not make sense, they should do it in all of the divisions then. In history, no [WBA] super champion has ever had a mandatory fight," Ugas told George Ebro.
"We signed [a contract to fight Spence] for February 2022 to unify three championships, which would have been perfect, because it would be very close to the fight between Terence Crawford and Shawn Porter. There could even be an undisputed champion at welterweight [with the winners facing each other]. This [WBA decision] makes no sense.
“A fight with Staniones doesn't make any sense. A fighter who has miraculously gotten there [to the mandatory spot] with 13 fights. His most significant victory has been with Dulorme, whom I beat long ago. I respect him as a fighter, I respect all fighters, because we risk our health, our lives. But he is a fighter who has suspiciously come [in the mandatory spot] to ruin one of the best fights of 2022.
“Spence and I would have been a great fight. Spence is the favorite, but everyone knows that I am a good fighter, a warrior, who leaves everything in the ring. The best welterweight fight would be Crawford vs Spence, but with me nothing would be easy, so this is a pointless act [by the WBA] with me.
"My team sent documents to [the WBA to] request a special permit [for the Spence fight], but a hearing came and it was there that I realized that something was wrong, that the decision had already been made. [WBA President] Gilberto Mendoza was not at the hearing. He is a man without word and without honor.
"The president of the WBA is a man without words and without honor, I say it and I will put it wherever I want. He told me on the phone, 'Ugas, I want the best fights for you, if you fight a rematch with Pacquiao, if you fight to unify with Spence, there will be no mandatory. Those are the fights I want for you.' He told me that on the phone. When I went to see him in Medellin, he never showed his face, nor did he respond to my message.
"This is a very difficult [decision]. I can not tell you [what will happen]. We are almost certainly not going to fight Stanionis. Let's see what happens. Everyone knows me, I am a humble, respectful fighter. I am not afraid, I am a warrior. I am a public enemy of the country where I was born. I cannot go to see my family because I am on the side of the truth, of the rights of my people. For something personal, expect nothing less from me. This is a war that I am going to wage and it will not be easy for them.
"To leave my championship would not be an easy decision, even if Spence tells me that he has two titles and puts them at stake. It is not easy and I have my voice that weighs a lot. I have a pretty strong team, but I think nothing will happen with the WBA. There is something there that we do not know [about]. I do know, but I don't want to say it because I don't have proof, but with the WBA there is no solution."