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Terence Crawford expected to face Yordenis Ugas next

Image: Terence Crawford expected to face Yordenis Ugas next

By Chris Williams: After all the talking Top Rank promoter Bob Arum did recently about Manny Pacquiao with a high chance of being Terence Crawford’s next opponent in 2021, it’s like it’ll be Yordenis Ugas instead that faces the Nebraska native.

Ugas might be the most talented fighter in the 147-pound division today. After the way Ugas schooled Shawn Porter, you can argue that he’s now #1. Errol Spence Jr just barely beat Porter last September. Ugas made it look easy in getting the better of Porter but then losing a controversial decision.

Arum is still hoping a foreign country in China; the Middle East will come forward with the money to get Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) to agree to fight Crawford. Even Arum knows by now that the chances of that happening are slim and none. It’s fake news in talking about Crawford fighting Pacquiao in 2020 because it’s not happening.

At this point, Arum throwing out Pacquiao’s name as a potential opponent for Crawford is just classic name-dropping to keep boxing fans talking about his fighter.

What we’re looking at is Crawford winding up-facing highly ranked #1 WBA, #3 WBC Yordenis Ugas (25-4, 12 KOs), who will be a tremendous problem for Crawford.

Image: Terence Crawford expected to face Yordenis Ugas next

What happens if Crawford loses?

Arum is going to need to have a good excuse handy to tell the boxing public if Crawford loses to Ugas. Will blame it on the downtime that Crawford has had, or will he take the high road and give Ugas credit for his victory? All those dreams Arum had of Crawford fighting Pacquiao will be gone like a puff of smoke. The 12-year dream gone.

Ugas will likely agree to the money Top Rank is offering him, and he’s easily the best available opponent. You hate to say it, but Ugas could be the hardest fight for Crawford’s career by far. Ugas is a five-time Cuban National champion, and he should have been a six-time. You don’t become a National Champion in Cuba unless you have loads of talent, and Ugas is that kind of fighter.

Earlier in Ugas’ career, he suffered a couple of close decision losses to Emanuel Robles and Amir Imam when he was still making the adjustments to the pro game.

Ugas would likely trounce those guys if they fought him now, as he’s improved dramatically since then. Robles and Imam have both gone downhill since the Ugas fight, and they’re not on the same level as him.

Arum throwing out names left and right

Using his double-barrelled shotgun approach, Arum threw out the following names as potential opponents for Crawford’s next fight in September:

  • Keith Thurman
  • Shawn Porter
  • Kell Brook
  • Yordenis Ugas
  • Manny Pacquiao

Thurman WON’T fight Crawford because the money wouldn’t be there, and he wants a good-paying rematch with Pacquiao. Arum isn’t going to get ‘One Time’ Thurman to agree to fight Crawford behind closed doors at The Bubble at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

That’s not happening. Thurman won’t want to be the only fighter capable of pulling in the fans when it comes to pay-per-view. In Crawford’s two pay-per-view tries in the past, he couldn’t bring in the buys. The fans weren’t interested.

Crawford may be a swell switch-hitter and nice counter-puncher, but those gimmicks don’t bring in the fans. They want guys that mix it up, put their chin on the line, and use gimmickry in hopes that the casual boxing fans will get excited.

They don’t pay attention when fighters change stances. The only things fans pay attention to are fighters that throw punches and go for knockouts and are willing to risk getting knocked out to win. Crawford is too defensive, and that has likely held him back.

Porter’s win over Ugas highly questionable

Ugas gave Shawn Porter a terrible time last year in March in losing a 12 round split decision in Carson, California. Boxing News 24 had Ugas winning 117-111. Ugas did a far better job against Porter than Errol Spence Jr did, but he didn’t get the nod.

Image: Terence Crawford expected to face Yordenis Ugas next

As you would guess, Porter was the A-side in that fight and Ugas the B-side. With the way two of the judges were scoring that fight, Ugas could have dominated all 12 rounds, and he still would have lost. I watched that fight three times, and I even don’t know how the two judges decided to give it to Porter. Did they get mixed up which fighter was which?

Ugas has come roaring back since his questionable loss to Porter, and he’s won his last two fights, beating Omar Figueroa Jr and Mike Dallas Jr. For the boxing fans that remember Figueroa Jr (28-1-1, 19 KOs), he’s a former WBC lightweight champion.

Figueroa Jr has wins over Robert Guerrero, Antonio DeMarco, Ricky Burns, Daniel Estrada, Jerry Belmontes and Nihito Arakawa. For Ugas to beat Figueroa Jr the way he did with his one-sided 12 round unanimous decision, it says about his credentials as a fighter.

Yordenis Ugas = affordable opponent

Ugas (25-4, 12 KOs) is an affordable option for Top Rank to sign to face WBO welterweight champion Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) in September or October. They need a body for Crawford, who turns 33 in September and is starting to show signs of aging.

Arum might end up regretting it later if he lets Crawford fight Ugas because this is a fight that might blow up in his face. Crawford is a decent fighter, but he’s not as good as the casual boxing fans think he is.

Crawford’s resume is filled with fluff opponents, and he hasn’t looked great against the best guys he’s fought. Amir Khan, ‘Mean Machine,’ Briedis Prescott, Viktor Postol, and Yuriorkis Gamboa all gave Crawford problems. Those guys aren’t even the elite.

Image: Terence Crawford expected to face Yordenis Ugas next

Ugas will be the ONLY fight for Crawford in 2020, as the pandemic messed up his standard schedule of two matches per year. By the time Crawford fights in September or October, he’ll have been out of the ring almost one year exactly.

That’s a long time for a guy that’s in his early 30s. Arum likes to compare Crawford to boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard, who he thinks he sembles inside the ring. Leonard started to deteriorate in his mid-30s, and he wasn’t the same guy.

Terence nearing his mid-30s

Crawford isn’t there quite yet to 35, but he’ll be there very soon, and he’s got to get the most out of what little time he has left in his prime. Crawford getting dropped by unheralded Egidijus ‘Mean Machine’ Kavaliauskas (21-1-1, 17 KOs) in his last fight was a shot across the bow in signaling that he’s starting to get old.

Crawford’s attempts to build-up Kavaliauskas in the aftermath of the fight to convince boxing fan that he would give ALL the PBC welterweights “Hell” didn’t work.

The fans saw for themselves that Kavaliauskas had fought to a controversial 10 round draw against fringe contender Ray Robinson in his previous fight in March of 2019 in Philadelphia.

That was a fight where Robinson appeared to beat Kavaliauskas, but then the judges gave the A-side fighter Kavaliauskas a draw.

Then Crawford turns around, and instead of fighting Robinson, the guy that was more serving of a title shot, he faces Kavaliauskas.

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