By Max Schramm: Welterweight champions Errol Spence Jr. and Yordenis Ugas are in the process of finalizing a deal for them to meet in a unification fight in March or April on PPV.
When the deal is complete, Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) will have his IBF & WBC 147-lb titles at stake, while Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) will have his WBA strap on the line when they meet for this three-title match in the first quarter of 2022.
Part of the deal is for Ugas’ WBA mandatory Eimantas Stanionis, who is stepping aside to let him face Spence and face WBA ‘regular’ 147-lb champion Radzhab ‘No Mercy’ Butaev (14-0, 11 KOs) on the Spence-Ugas undercard, according to Mike Coppinger.
Butaev, 28, stopped WBA champion Jamal James in the ninth round two months ago on October 30th to capture his belt.
Crawford being boxed out
Ugas, 35, is fresh off his massive victory over superstar Manny Pacquiao last August, a fight in which the talented Cuban outboxed the 42-year-old former eight-division world champion.
Pacquiao hadn’t fought in two years since his win over Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman in July 2019, and he’d been previously scheduled to fight Spence. That fight fell apart after Spence suffered an eye injury in training, and Ugas then replaced him.
The loser in all of this is WBO welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford because if Spence defeats Ugas and then beats the Butaev vs. Stanionis winner, it’ll make him a three-belt champ.
Although the boxing public would prefer to see Spence and Crawford fight, that’s not going to happen. You can argue that Spence’s management is skillfully maneuvering him to get a better deal ultimately in a match with Crawford.
If Spence captures Ugas’ WBA title, it’s going to place Crawford in a significantly weakened position to ask for a fair split.
Spence will have the power to offer Crawford a take-it-or-leave offer of an 80-20 split when it comes to negotiations. And if he rejects that deal, there’s not much he can do. Spence would not only be the far bigger pay-per-view draw than Crawford, but he would also have three world titles compared to Bud’s one.
Fans will miss out
What that means for the boxing public is the chances for a mega-fight between Crawford and Spence will deteriorate even further if Errol winds up as the three-belt welterweight champion.
Of course, Crawford can always accept the 80-20 or 70-30 split that’s offered to him by Spence in the hopes of beating him and then holding all the belts and making massive money in a rematch.
However, Crawford’s ego will likely prevent him from agreeing to an 80-20 split because he feels he’s the #1 welterweight, and he views his higher pound-for-pound ratings as fuel for that belief.
If Crawford chooses to let his pride get in the way of agreeing to the likely 80-20 split that’s offered to him by Spence, he’ll be locked out of that fight and the chance to make a lot of money.