Erroll Spence Jr. (left) and Yordenis Ugas (right) – Photo by Amanda Wescott – Showtime
On Saturday, IBF/ WBC welterweight titleholder Errol Spence Jr. will face his WBA counterpart Yordenis Ugas in an eagerly anticipated unification matchup at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The two will collide this Saturday, April 16 on Showtime Pay-Per-View, starting at 9:00 p.m. ET/ 6:00 p.m. PT.
Spence, who is rated No. 2 by The Ring at 147 pounds, represented the U.S. at the London 2012 Olympics. After making the switch to the professional ranks he proved his mettle by stopping Kell Brook (TKO 11) to win the IBF welterweight title. The 32-year-old has made five defenses and captured the WBC title. He holds championship wins over Mikey Garcia (UD 12), Shawn Porter (SD 12) and Danny Garcia (UD 12).
Ugas, who is rated No. 3 by The Ring, was an amateur standout who took gold at the 2005 World Championships and bronze at the 2008 Olympics. He defeated the likes of Jamal James (UD 10), Bryan Perrella (TKO 4), Thomas Dulorme (UD 10) and Ray Robinson (TKO 7) to earn himself a long overdue title opportunity. He gave then-WBC titleholder Shawn Porter all he could handle but dropped a split decision. Ugas, 35, rebounded with three wins before stepping in at late notice to upset the iconic Manny Pacquiao (UD 12) to claim the WBA title last August.
Will Spence (27-0, 21 knockouts) have any ring rust or be the fighter he was prior to a 16-month absence caused by a detached retina? Alternatively, Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) is coming off a career-best win and is in a great place. Can he carry that form into this fight? This looks like a distance fight but will Spence be able to use his greater firepower to shift the fight in his direction? Can the Cuban find a way to outwork the hometown favorite and win a decision?
Online gambling group William Hill lists Spence as an 1/6 (-600) favorite, while Ugas is priced at 4/1 (+400); the draw is 18/1 (+1800).
Here’s how the experts see it: THE RING MAGAZINE/RINGTV.COM
DOUG FISCHER: SPENCE UD
I think it will be a competitive, high-speed chess match, with Spence being the aggressor and Ugas being the matador/counterpuncher. I think the Cuban’s style and reach will trouble Spence early, but I believe the Texan will work well from a distance via his hard southpaw jab and underrated defensive technique as he gradually closes ground and forces more exchanges. I think Ugas will hang with Spence in the trenches but will be outworked and outpointed over the second half of the fight (at least in the eyes of the official judges).
TOM GRAY: SPENCE UD
Ugas is a good fighter with solid fundamentals. It turns out that’s all he really needed to beat what was left of the legendary Pacquiao. That win and all the belts that are on the line have given this fight an air of quality that I’m not so sure it has. For me, Spence is a couple of levels above Ugas. I see him controlling the action from start to finish and having very little difficulty. Ugas might pick up a couple of rounds that Spence takes off, or he might benefit from a bit of judging charity.
ANSON WAINWRIGHT: SPENCE UD
This fight will tell us where Spence is and what he has left after two extended periods out of the ring. Ugas is a very steady fighter, nothing flashy but as Manny Pacquiao will attest a difficult puzzle to solve and if Spence isn’t at his best the Cuban may well cause the upset. We won’t realistically know how good Spence is until the opening bell. It figures to be a distance fight and while Ugas is more than good enough to give Spence some issues but I don’t think he’ll win. I think Spence wins 8 rounds to 4, which equates to 116-112 across the board.
LEE GROVES: SPENCE UD
For the second consecutive fight, Spence is facing down the after-effects of health issues as well as the longest layoff of his career, but, to his credit, he convincingly outpointed Danny Garcia following the car crash and he appears to be in tremendous cosmetic shape for the upcoming fight against Ugas, who deservedly shares this stage thanks to his signature points victory over Manny Pacquiao. Spence is bigger and stronger than Ugas at this weight, and, if he’s at his best, he’s probably quicker as well. Not only that, he’s a southpaw who is also capable of generating high work rate and excellent body punching. It also helps his cause greatly that he will be fighting in his home state inside AT&T Stadium, the site of his victories against Mikey Garcia and Danny Garcia. While Ugas is good enough to administer an even sterner test to Spence than Garcia did, I also think Spence will be in even better condition and will have what it takes to out-score the Cuban expatriate by unanimous decision.
MARTY MULCAHEY: SPENCE UD
While the Errol Spence-Yordenis Ugas has not gained a superfight feel yet, there is a lot to recommend it. I feel this could play out like Erislandy Lara’s disputed loss to Canelo Alvarez, where technical subtleties were not appreciated by the judges in favor of pressure and power punching. The three-inch reach advantage for Spence could play in his favor early, not allowing Ugas to establish his own as he did to dominate Pacquiao. The other factor is Spence’s obvious power advantage, and in a close fight a flash knockdown can make all the difference. My final reason for picking Spence is volume, while Ugas is fantastic off the back foot it only works when the opponent misses and gets countered consistently causing frustration. I just don’t see Spence missing at a high enough rate to give Ugas an advantage on the judges’ cards. Final pick is Spence by scores of 115-113 across the board.
MICHAEL MONTERO: SPENCE UD
Although Spence has been out of the ring for nearly a year-and-a-half, and only fought once since 2019, I just can’t bet against him here. I do believe Ugas will start well, but the Cuban’s lack of power will cost him down the stretch. Spence will knock off some ring rust, find his rhythm in the middle rounds, and control the action late. Give me “The Truth” on points, 116-112.
NORM FRAUENHEIM: SPENCE UD
There’s a lot to like about Yordenis Ugas. He’s thoughtful. He’s as graceful outside of the ring as he is within it. He praised Manny Pacquiao after his huge upset of the legendary Filipino. He’s willing to fight anybody anywhere He fought Pacquiao on short notice when Spence suffered an eye injury. Terence Crawford? No problem, he says. But sentiment doesn’t win fights. There are more reasons to pick Spence. He’s an inch taller, he has a three-inch advantage in reach and he’s about three years younger. He’s comfortable in an NFL arena near hometown DeSoto, Texas. This fight is a chance for Spence to prove, once and for all, that there are no lingering issues from his scary car crash in 2019. He’ll deliver that proof, “The Truth”, in a solid victory on all three cards.
DIEGO MORILLA: SPENCE UD
I’d say we’re much closer to seeing an upset than what most people think, but in the end logic (and speed) will prevail. Spence will have to adjust to Ugas’s rhythm, but once (and if) he does, it will be easy for him to take the initiative and win the championship rounds easily to score a unanimous decision win. In the meantime, I am sure we will see a much better boxing matchup than what everyone expects – and that’s a lot.
DUKE MCKENZIE (FORMER THREE-DIVISION TITLEHOLDER/TV ANALYST): SPENCE MD
This fight may not be as straight forward as some think for Spence, who was involved in a terrible car accident and had a detached retina injury. What kind of impact will that have on Spence, from a mindset and physical stand point? Can Spence be his usual classy self? If yes, we can expect a dominant display. However, Ugas can and has to make this fight ugly, which isn’t his usual style. By definition, he’s a stand-off counter-puncher, which we saw with good effect, pulling of a heroic win against all odds against Manny Pacquiao. Realistically I can see only one winner, Spence by majority decision.
PAULIE MALIGNAGGI (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION/COMMENTATOR): SPENCE PTS
I think it’s a tricky fight for Spence. Coming off the eye injury, while taking on a guy like Ugas, that is doing the best boxing of his career, who also happens to have a great chin. I think Spence wins a close decision.
RAUL MARQUEZ (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION/COMMENTATOR): SPENCE PTS
Before the car wreck and eye surgery, I would have clearly picked Spence. Now I have doubts and questions but I still think Spence pulls out a close decision.
KATHY DUVA (PROMOTER, MAIN EVENTS): UGAS PTS
I’m going to go out on a limb and pick Ugas. He seems to have learned and improved over the course of his career. And he is full of confidence coming off of his win over Pacquiao. Spence is enormously talented too. And he will have the home field advantage, so to speak. But something just seems off about him in recent interviews. It will be a very competitive fight and likely come down to the judges. But I expect that Ugas will find a way to win.
JOLENE MIZZONE (MANAGER): SPENCE UD
As good as Ugas is, Spence is just a better boxer in my opinion. If you also look at Ugas record a lot of his fights where split decisions and that was going to be my original pick (Spence SD 12) but I think with the fight in Texas and a pro Spence crowd, I don’t think that will happen.
ERIC BOTTJER (MATCHMAKER): SPENCE UD
Errol Spence is a legitimately great talent. Is he a great fighter? Only Terence Crawford will answer that question (and I have the same opinion of Crawford – great talent. How great a fighter? We don’t know). Ugas is a superb operator, but a half-level below Spence in skill. Other than beating Pacquiao, Ugas’s best win as a dominant stoppage over Philadelphia’s Ray Robinson. Impressive, but nothing that will frighten a guy like Spence. Ugas’s victory over the 42-year-old Manny surprised boxing fans, but not insiders. Spence has seen various versions of Ugas (Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter and Mikey Garcia) and should win a minimum of eight rounds in taking a 12-round decision.
ROBERT DIAZ (MATCHMAKER, GOLDEN BOY): SPENCE UD
I must go with the talent on this one. Ugas will bring will and heart but in Spence he faces talent and skill above anyone he has faced. It will be a tough fight for both but after the ninth round I see Spence cruising to a unanimous decision win.
SHAWN PORTER (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION): SPENCE PTS
I think Errol is going to try to control the ring, I think Yordenis is going to try to fight Errol. I think if Yordenis doesn’t try to fight Errol, he won’t even come close to winning this fight. I think it’s going to take a lot for Yordenis Ugas. Yordenis is going to have to mix it up, box from the outside, use feints, use movement, draw Errol in. I think there’s a long list of things Yordenis Ugas has to do in order to pull off a win against Errol Spence Jr. I see Errol controlling the ring, controlling the action, not necessarily finishing every exchange on top but winning the rounds. I see Errol winning the fight by decision.
RUDY HERNANDEZ (TRAINER): SPENCE UD
Spence by close decision in a lackluster fight that will have many thinking Spence isn’t the tiger they thought he was. Ugas will be competitive and some rounds will be hard to call but the fan favorite will dig deep and pull out a hard-earned decision.
MARC RAMSAY (TRAINER): SPENCE UD
I don’t believe this will be fight of the year but it will be an interesting confrontation at a high skill level. Ugas has proven in the past that he can cause problems for any boxer and even create surprises on occasion which will surely give us a close fight but I still believe that Spence will do enough to get a unanimous decision.
ALEX STEEDMAN (COMMENTATOR): SPENCE PTS
I don’t believe Ugas belongs in the same room as Errol Spence in terms of natural ability but for a number of reasons this has the makings of a competitive fight. Partly because Spence has the lay off and the injury to overcome but also, it’s a good match up stylistically. Ugas is strong and brings energy and pressure while Spence is front foot aggressive for a southpaw. Spence is intelligent with it though; in range to attack but not quite to be hit. If Spence can push Ugas back, it’s an easier night for him but he’ll likely win a competitive fight by decision.
JOHN SCULLY (TRAINER): SPENCE UD
I think it’s a very interesting fight because I’m not 100 percent sold that Spence is back to full strength but assuming that he is, I think this might be the toughest fight of his career and will push him further than he’s ever been pushed to date. I think it’s a fight that is going to be hotly contested, every round and at the end of it, Spence will be the winner by a relatively close margin.
Final Tally: Spence 19-1
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