rrol Spence Jr. (28-0, 22 KO) returned to the ring to defeat Yordenis Ugas (27-5, 12 KO) via 10th-round TKO to claim the WBC, WBA, and IBF welterweight belts live on Showtime pay-per-view (PPV) from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Spence was returning to the ring after a 14-month hiatus due to a detached retina, which required surgery on the eye. However, with the performance against Ugas, Spence Jr. made a strong statement about where he stands in the welterweight class in Saturday’s homecoming.
Spence took a bit to get going in the fight, but once he relaxed and let his rhythm flow, he began to take control of the fight early on, landing big left hands and great bodywork.
Ugas did enough to avoid Spence at moments, but Ugas often resorted to landing one punch at a time, hoping that one will land.
In round 6, Ugas landed an uppercut that sent Spence’s mouthpiece to the canvas. Spence let his hands down, thinking that referee Laurence Cole had called a timeout. Spence turned his head and looked away; that’s when Ugas hit him with a powerful right that sent Spence into the ropes.
“I thought the referee had said stop, so I stopped,” Spence said. “I think he hit me with three or four shots. You have to protect yourself at all times and I didn’t do that,” said Spence after the fight.
Ironically, Cole, who has faced criticism for his poor refereeing, stopped the boxers after Spence fell into the ropes. Although most referees might have called that a knocked down, Cole didn’t. By halting the action, this seemed to give Spence the opportunity to recover.
By round 7, Spence restored momentum and began to apply pressure to Ugas’ body and head. As Spence grew stronger, Ugas was too tough for his own good, as he appeared happy to land one punch while taking a barrage of punches that began to damage his eye.
By round 10, Ugas had absorbed too many blows, and the fight ended at 1:44 upon the doctor’s advice.
“I didn’t have any doubts at all. I believed in myself 100% and trained 100%,” Spence said after the fight. “I didn’t want a tune-up fight or someone I knew I could beat. I wanted someone who would bring out the best in me, and Ugas did that.”
For many years, fans and media have been frustrated that Spence and Terence Crawford continue to play games and not face each other for one reason or another.
Now that Spence has three belts, while Crawford owns the other (WBO), there should be little reason why the two cannot face each other later this year.
“Everybody knows who I want next, I want Terence Crawford next,” Spence said. “That’s the fight that I want.” Crawford tweeted, “Now the real fight happens,” Crawford said in a Tweet. “No more talk, no more side of the street.”
As for Ugas, although he suffered a completely shut-eye, it is unclear how much damage was done. After the fight, he was taken to a local hospital as a precautionary measure.