Errol Spence Jr. and Yordenis Ugas were nose-to-nose for the better part of 10 rounds on Saturday in their battle for three quarters of the welterweight belts at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
That was a big problem for Yordenis Ugas.
Spence is too good, too strong and too powerful of a puncher for Ugas to fight the way he did, throwing few punches and not moving out of the way. Spence crushed Ugas repeatedly with uppercuts, closing his right eye, which eventually led to referee Laurence Cole stopping it at 1:44 of the 10th on the advice of the ringside physician.
By that point, the result was a fait accompli. Ugas was wobbling repeatedly from clean shots Spence landed while Ugas only fired back infrequently.
Judges Tim Cheatham and Glenn Feldman had it 88-82 for Spence through the nine completed rounds. Steve Weisfeld had it 88-83, the same as Yahoo Sports, for Spence, who improved to 28-0 and scored his 22nd knockout.
“I had no doubts at all,” Spence said. “I believed in myself 100 percent and I train 100 percent. I wanted someone who would bring the best out of me and I knew Ugas could bring the best out of me.”
If the business can be arranged, he’ll have someone in front of him next time who can bring the best out of him. He’ll like meet unbeaten WBO champion Terence Crawford for the undisputed welterweight championship, the first time if it occurs that it will happen in the four-belt era.
Spence only had one scare, in the sixth, and it happened because of an odd sequence of events. An Ugas right knocked Spence’s mouthpiece out. Spence said he thought the referee ordered them to stop, and he walked to get his mouthpiece. Ugas landed a combination that clearly hurt Spence and sent him into the ropes.
“Rookie mistake,” Spence said.
That mistake was Ugas’ best hope. When trainer Derrick James ever so slowly cleaned off the mouthpiece and shoved it back in Spence’s mouth, that was all the break he needed.
“I definitely had an opportunity to win the fight there, but he recuperated well,” Ugas said.
As the eye closed, Spence stepped up his attack. He battered Ugas in the eighth and nearly stopped it then, but by the time it was stopped, Ugas was being hurt by every punch Spence threw and couldn’t see most of them coming.
“I want Terence Crawford next,” Spence said, which everyone in boxing would concur with.