By Jim Calfa: Mario Barrios (28-2, 18 KOs) picked up the WBC interim welterweight title with a career-best twelve round unanimous decision win against the ring-rusty Yordenis Ugas (27-6, 12 KOs) last Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Ugas was knocked down twice in the contest and penalized a point for spitting out his mouthpiece in round twelve after getting dropped by Barrios.
Showing that he’s not the washed-up former WBA 140-lb paper champion that many boxing fans view him as, the 28-year-old Barrios out-slugged and outboxed Ugas, closing his eye and dropping him twice.
Barrios didn’t do anything extraordinary to get the victory other than jabbing and landing shots to the eye of the tired & old-looking 37-year-old Ugas, who looked nothing like the fighter he’d been four years earlier.
For the most part, Barrios jabbed and did a good job of blocking the wild swings from Ugas. In the later rounds, Ugas faded badly, and his shots had nothing on them, and he was just winging them, looking for a one-punch knockout.
Most of the damage that ‘El Azteca’ Barrios did in the fight was from his powerful jab, which he used to drop the 37-year-old Ugas in the second round, and keep him at bay for much of the twelve round fight.
Ugas hadn’t fought since April in a tenth round knockout loss to Errol Spence Jr. in Arlington, Texas. In that fight, Ugas suffered a fractured right orbital bone.
Heading into last Saturday night’s fight, it was believed that Ugas’ right eye would start swelling up and would close once Barrios started hitting him there. Sure enough, that’s what happened.
By the eighth round, Ugas’ right eye was closing, making it necessary for the ringside doctor to examine in several times during the contest. Each time, he allowed the action to continue.
“I want to take it further and contend for the main WBC title,” said Mario Barrios after the fight. “I know that there are steps to get there. I’m going to sit down with my team, and we’re going to see what’s next.”
If current WBC welterweight champion Terence Crawford vacates the title, Barrios would then face #1 Cody Crowley (22-0, 9 KOs) for the vacant belt.
That would be a 50-50 type of fight, as Crowley isn’t old and doesn’t have an eye problem that Barrios could take advantage of.
Barrios is a good fighter, but he hasn’t improved enough since his losses to Keith Thurman & Gervonta Davis for him to be seen as a favorite against Crowley.
It’s just lucky for Barrios that Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis isn’t the #1 WBC contender at 147 because if that was the case, Mario would need to go in a different direction to capture a world title because he’s not going to beat him.