It's a high stakes battle for three world titles between two top welterweights Saturday night on SHOWTIME pay-per-view.
This Saturday, April 16, from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, WBC and IBF world champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (27-0, 21 KOs) meets WBA world champion Yordenis Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) in a high-stakes welterweight title unification clash atop a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The SHOWTIME pay-per-view telecast (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) features exciting lightweight contender Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz taking on veteran former world champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in the 10-round co-main event.
Spence, a 2012 Olympian who burst on to the sport’s main stage in 2017 when he snatched the IBF belt from defending champ Kell Brook in Brook’s own UK back yard, is already widely regarded as the number-one welterweight in the world. A victory over Ugas not only confirms that placement, it represents the ultimate comeback after almost two-and-half years of injuries, setbacks, and near tragedies.
In October 2019, less than two weeks after beating Shawn Porter to claim the WBC title, Spence was in a horrendous car crash that left him with multiple injuries and placed the rest of his career in doubt.
Fourteen months later, though, Spence returned to the ring to beat two-division champ Danny Garcia in December 2020, opening a path to a career-defining blockbuster with the legendary Manny Pacquiao.
However, less than two weeks before the Pacquiao clash, he was forced to withdraw from the fight due to a retinal tear in his left eye that required surgery. Ugas would step in as a late replacement and score the victory Spence craved so much.
Now, seventeen months after missing out on the opportunity of his life, the Desoto, Texas native is back and eager to add to his growing legacy.
Before Ugas earned next-level status by upsetting Pacquiao, he was already riding atop one of boxing’s biggest success stories.
Born in Santiago de Cuba and educated in the legendary Cuban amateur system, Ugas won a bronze medal in the 2008 Olympic games before defecting in 2010, with little more than the clothes on his back and dreams of boxing greatness.
Those dreams were almost dashed just four years into his professional career when a tough loss to Amir Imam, the third of his young 18-fight career, had him second guessing his passion for the sport.
After more than two years away from the ring, Ugas returned re-focused and re-energized, rattling off a 12-1 run in the subsequent 6 years that earned him his placement in Saturday’s big unification bout.
At stake are the WBC, IBF, and WBA welterweight titles, as well as shot-caller status in the lucrative 147-pound division.
Physically strong and technically sound, Spence has an accurate, thudding jab that sets the table for a well-rounded offense. The 32-year-old southpaw also has tremendous balance, an attribute that allows him to generate great leverage on his shots. Equally effective to the body and the head, “The Truth” is a superbly fine-tuned, versatile attacker who, by nature, is perpetually in “beast mode.”
On defense, Spence is adequate, but his offensive capabilities definitely work to keep opposition from being too aggressive.
“ I’m going to put on another great performance in front of my hometown crowd. ” Undefeated Unified Welterweight World Champion - Errol Spence Jr.
Ugas is a patient, well-schooled, and adaptive fighter whose ring IQ has grown along with the level of his opposition.
The 35-year-old is all-around solid on offense, but is especially good at executing an effective long-armed approach from the outside with a quality jab and crisp, accurate counters. His best offensive weapon is a long right hand, but his body work is underappreciated.
Although the Cuban is not an entirely elusive defender, he’s improved in that area over the last several fights with a greater focus on maintaining distance via the jab.
Errol Spence Jr.
“I can guarantee fireworks on April 16. I’m going to put on another great performance in front of my hometown crowd. At the end of the day, I want to be the undisputed welterweight champion of the world. This is another step toward that goal. Ugas is a real warrior, but I’m hungry too. I’m not letting this opportunity pass by me.”
“I not only accepted this fight, I pushed for this fight. Because I want to fight the best. Whoever wins this fight is going to be the king of this division. I had to go through a lot to get to where I am today. The Pacquiao fight helped me get to where I am today but make no mistake, I made it here because of my hard work, my resilience and my skills. I’m ready to prove that once again at the AT&T Stadium.”
This fight is the very definition of high-stakes. Spence and Ugas are naturally driven competitors who have overcome a lot in their lives to get to this moment in time. There’s not a single ounce of shrinking violet or paper tiger in either fighter. A spirited battle is guaranteed, no matter what.
Spence will try to do what he does. He’ll use the jab to create the right distance for his power shots and will take every ounce of ring space given to him. He’ll pound and pound until he either stops or completely nullifies his opponent.
Ugas, while facing a tough task in Spence, does have some tools that could give him a better shot at beating the WBC/IBF champ than other recent opposition.
His good, accurate jab could create a “jab parity” dynamic Spence has never faced before, allowing for more favorable pace and space. His wide but accurate right hand should be a factor against the southpaw Spence, just as it was against the southpaw Pacquiao. There’s also the fact that the naturally unflappable Ugas is riding a confidence-enforcing wave of success, culminating with his recent victory over Pacquiao.
Any way you slice it, Spence vs. Ugas should be a compelling, competitive welterweight battle between two fighters who have earned their spots on the boxing main stage. Expect high-level boxing and plenty of fireworks.
For a closer look at Spence vs Ugas, check out our fight night page.
- Spence vs Ugas