Errol Spence Jr. Stops Yordenis Ugas In 10th Place To Unify Titles, Calls Terence Crawford Next
ARLINGTON, Texas – Errol Spence Jr. was stunned as he peered around the ring for his spokesperson.
Yordenis Ugas sent him flying on Saturday after connecting to a brutal right hand in Round 6, before referee Laurence Cole moved slowly to stop the action for Spence to retrieve it. This is when Ugas connected with a left hand followed by a right which sent the distracted Spence skidding to the ropes for what might have been called a knockdown.
The series of events only seemed to reinvigorate Spence, who was fighting in front of his hometown fans at AT&T Stadium for the third time in four fights. He started attacking much more aggressively during the next round and took control of the bout after tying Ugas with a left uppercut. The systematic beating he dispensed to Ugas slowly but surely closed the Cuban boxer’s right eye before the front row doctor advised Cole to stop the fight at 1:44 of Round 10.
Ugas (27-5, 22 KOs) was transported to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas for an examination of his right eye. Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) was leading all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage: 88-82, 88-83 and 88-82. Two judges scored the eighth round 10-8 for Spence.
With the win, Spence added Ugas’ WBA welterweight title along with the WBC and IBF titles he already owned. Now, Spence just needs Terence Crawford’s WBO title to become the undisputed 147-pound champion.
“Everyone knows who I want next, I want Terence Crawford next,” said Spence, the No. 6 pound-for-pound of ESPN. “This is the fight I want; that’s the fight everyone else wants. Terence, I’m coming for that fucking belt.”
For years, Spence and Crawford surrounded each other but never came close to striking a deal for what has long been one of the greatest potential boxing fights. Crawford’s win over Shawn Porter in November was the latest bout of his long-term deal with Top Rank, a promotional company that rarely does business with PBC, which promotes Spence’s fights.
Now that Crawford is a promotional free agent, the biggest obstacle to the matchup has been removed and it looks to be a real possibility later this year.
“Congratulations, great fight, now the real fight happens,” Crawford tweeted to Spence. “No more chatter, no more side of the road, let’s go!”
The superfight with Crawford seemed to escape Spence’s grasp midway through the match. Ugas, 35, continued to unload on Spence in Round 6 after he was sent crashing into the ropes as the favorite absorbed the punishment. Cole finally put the bout on pause this time around, even though there wasn’t a lull in the action. The delay seemed to allow Spence, 32, to recover; he started punching Ugas after the match resumed.
“I thought the referee said ‘stop’ so I stopped,” said Spence, who marked his first stoppage as a champion since winning the IBF title from Kell Brook in May 2017. “And then I am. hit with three or four shots. It’s my fault. It was a rookie mistake. You should protect yourself at all times, and I didn’t. I wasn’t standing. I turned around and looked at my mouthpiece and he hit me. hit it .”
Round six was Ugas’ last stand. Spence, who mostly pulled his back foot out during the first half of the bout, now attacked with relentless pressure. The adjustment made the difference. The No. 2 of ESPN targeted the central part of Ugas and paid off when his business dwindled.
Of the 216 punches Spence landed, 70 were to the body, according to CompuBox. Spence threw 110 super high punches in a fiery Round 8 and connected out of 46.
Ugas fought Spence on the inside, but his right eye continued to swell to the point he couldn’t see. He was injured again in round 8 following a series of blows before Cole interrupted the bout to allow the doctor to examine Ugas. After nearly a minute, the action resumed. This time, Ugas received the truce.
“I feel sad; I have trained very hard for this fight,” said Ugas, the No. 3 of ESPN, through a translator. “With all my respect for Errol Spence. He is a great champion. … The referee stopped the fight, but I wanted to keep going to the end. I definitely had a chance to win the fight in the sixth round, but it was recovered well. “
In a twist, it was Spence’s left eye that led to this meeting in the first place. The 32-year-old was supposed to meet the legendary Manny Pacquiao in August, but Spence withdrew from the fight after a doctor diagnosed him with a detached retina.
Spence underwent surgery when Ugas intervened with 11 days’ notice for the life-changing opportunity. Ugas was already a champion and had abandoned a controversial decision to Porter in a title bout early in his career, but this was an opportunity to establish himself as one of boxing’s elites.
Ugas lived up to the occasion with a dominant decision win in an upset and sent Pacquiao into retirement. Spence’s battle for the handover vanished like a puff of smoke, but another opportunity presented itself.
Having quickly recovered from surgery, Spence gave up on the routine set-up meeting and headed straight for title unification with Ugas. The bout was Spence’s fourth consecutive pay-per-view and third at home to the Dallas Cowboys in his last four fights (announced attendance of 39,946).
“I had no doubts. I believe in myself 100%,” Spence said. “… I didn’t want a tuning fight or fight someone I know I can beat. I wanted someone who would bring out the best in me and I knew Ugas would bring out the best in me.”
Once again, Spence has proven following a serious injury that he remains one of the best fighters in all of boxing. After defeating Porter in one of the best action fights of 2019, he was involved in a devastating single car crash a month later in October.
After the loss of several teeth and a hospital stay, Spence returned in December 2020 with a decisive win over Danny Garcia to keep his titles. And now, he has scored yet another impressive win over one of the best welterweights in the world in his first fight back from eye surgery.
All that remains for Spence in the welterweight division, of course, is a long-awaited bout with Crawford.