Shawn Porter to defend against Yordenis Ugas on March 9
By Mike Smith: WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter (29-2-1, 17 KOs) will be making his first defense of his title against #6 WBC Yordenis Ugas (23-3, 11 KOs) on March 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada, according to ElNuevoHerald.
This is a defense that was expected for the 31-year-old Porter, being that Ugas fought on the undercard of his last fight on September 8 in beating Cesar Miguel Barrionuevo by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
“I hope that next year I can fight for a crown of the world,” Ugás said to the elnuevoherald.com. “I earned that right. They can not give me away anymore. One way or the other, I will fight to become a world champion.”
Ugas,32, should be fighting IBF welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs) for his title after becoming his mandatory challenger last September. However, Spence chose to defend his International Boxing Federation title next against WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia. Those two are expected to face each other in the first quarter of 2019 in a big pay-per-view fight on Showtime. Rather than wait around for the smoke to clear from the Spence vs. Garcia fight, the 2008 Cuban Olympian Ugas decided to challenge Porter for his WBC 147 lb title.
In the 2008 Olympic, Ugas swept his first three matches in the competition in beating Hamza Kramou (Algeria), Domenico Valentino (Italy) and Georgian Popescu (Romania). In a big upset, Ugas was beaten by Daouda Sow in the semifinal. Despite that loss, Ugas had a success amateur career in Cuba , winning the 2005 World Championships, 2006 Central American & Caribbean Games and 2007 Pan American games. Ugas is a 5-time Cuban national champion.
As a pro, Ugas has struggled to adjust to the brawling style of the game. He’s lost to Johnny Garcia, Emanuel Robles and Amir Imam. Ugas has improved greatly since his 8 round unanimous decision defeat at the hands of Imam in May 2014. Ugas has won his last eight fights, and looked good in beating Jamal James, Bryant Perrella, Levan Ghvamichava and Thomas Dulorme. Ugas has gotten a lot better than he was earlier in his career. It’s a good thing for Ugas that he’s peaking right now with his career, considering that he would be potentially over his head in facing a seasoned veteran like Porter if he wasn’t at his best.
Porter has been waiting for a rematch against WBA Super World welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman to try and avenge his close 12 round unanimous decision loss to him in June 2016. Thurman has been injured since last year after beating Danny Garcia in March 2017. There’s a chance that Thurman could meet up with Porter in 2019 if ‘One Time’ is able to resume his stalled career. Right now, it’s not looking good for that fight happening due to the chronic injury problems that Thurman has been experiencing over the last two years of his career. The fight that is more likely to happen is a unification match between Porter and Spence if the two of them can keep winning.
The only losses Porter has suffered as a pro were to Thurman and Kell Brook. Porter’s 12 round majority decision loss to Brook in August 2014 was a controversial one. Porter was held all night long by Brook, who got away with excessive clinching without the referee stepping in to penalize the British fighter for stalling out the fight in every round. Porter also has a 10 round draw on his record from a fight against former lightweight world champion Julio Diaz in December 2012. That was another controversial fight that could have gone Porter’s way. With better officiating and judging for the Brook and Diaz fights, Porter should arguably have a 31-1 record right now instead of a 29-2-1 record. It just shows you how important good judging and officiating are important in boxing.
Porter is coming off of a 12 round unanimous decision win over former two division world champion Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia on September 8 at the Barclays Center. It was a close fight, but Porter’s aggressiveness and pressure was ultimately the deciding factor in him getting the win over Garcia. The victory for Porter was his third straight since his loss to Thurman in 2016. Since then, Porter has beaten Adrian Granados, Andre Berto and Garcia.
The 5’9″ Ugas will have the height and reach advantage over the 5’7″ Porter, but that doesn’t neccessrily mean he’s going to win the fight. Porter has a way of getting in close and pummeling his taller opponents on the inside. It’s likely that Ugas will employ the constant holding style that Brook used to beat Porter in 2014. If it worked for Brook, it might be able to work for Ugas if he has a compliant referee that doesn’t enforce the rules against excessive clinching. Porter has learned not to let himself be tied up without working a hand free and punishing his opponents. Adrien ‘The Problem’ Broner attempted to hold Porter for 12 rounds to slow him down in their fight in June 2015, but it didn’t work. Porter was able to continue to throw shots while being held by Broner. Porter ended up winning a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision.