Errol Spence Jr. (28-0, 22 KOs) battled through adversity and showed his power is still a force to be reckoned with in the welterweight division, as he beat Yordenis Ugas (27-5, 12 KOs) via 10th-round technical knockout to unify three of the four major titles at 147 pounds Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
While Ugas had his moments, it was Spence, 32, who did the lion's share of the damage. He consistently found a home for his power punches, especially the uppercut. The accumulated punishment caused Ugas' right eye to swell up in the middle rounds, and by the 10th round, it was completely shut. The doctor advised the referee to stop the fight, handing Spence a stoppage win in a contest he mostly controlled.
This was Spence's first fight since suffering a torn retina last August and just his second since he was injured in a car accident in 2019. With the win, he retained his WBC and IBF world titles while adding Ugas' WBA "super" belt to his collection.
The only major welterweight title that eludes "The Truth" belongs to longtime WBO world champion Terence "Bud" Crawford. Spence called him out in his post-match interview.
"Everybody knows who I want next, I want Terence Crawford next," he said, per the Showtime broadcast.
The fight has been at or near the top of boxing fans' wishlists for years, and it just may finally happen. Questions have swirled about Spence's health, considering how much time he has spent rehabbing from injuries over the past three years, but he's answered every challenge and will be confident about his chances going forward. Against Ugas, Spence was able to show off his full skillset, including his fight-ending power.
The bout was action-packed from start to finish, hardly a surprise considering the two combatants' styles. Ugas moved into the center of the ring, his preferred territory, inviting Spence to stand and trade with him.
Spence darted around him freely, using his excellent jab to set up shots to the body. His activity proved to be an early puzzle for the 35-year-old Cuban who struggled to let his hands go. A brief surge from Ugas backed up Spence late in the third round, but the early action belonged to the home-state champion.
Spence dominated the fifth round, hurting Ugas early with an uppercut and then proceeding to tee off on him with vicious punches to the body. The underdog turned the tables in the next round, knocking Spence's mouthpiece out with an uppercut and landing an overhand that sent him crashing into the ropes. Ugas couldn't press his advantage for long, as the referee called time to allow Spence to recover his mouthpiece.
That timeout will face some scrutiny in the post-fight analysis, as Spence came roaring back in the 7th round. He staggered Ugas early on with a couple of big punches and then dug in at the center of the ring, throwing his full force behind his punches. Ugas' right eye swelled up quickly, which may have hindered his ability to see the punishment coming his way.
That swelling, which a doctor checked during an eighth-round timeout, paved the way for a dominant finish for Spence. He was the clear aggressor, reeling off strong combinations seemingly at will. Ugas was in his shell, absorbing the damage as best he could while waiting for opportunities to counter.
Those chances were few and far between for Ugas, and although he did well to interrupt Spence's momentum at times, he was too beat up to reverse his fortunes. The referee called the fight in the 10th, handing Spence his first stoppage victory in nearly four years. For Ugas, This was the fifth loss of his career and the first by knockout.
As of now, Crawford doesn't have a fight locked in, which means the calls for him and Spence to meet in the ring will only grow in the coming weeks. Crawford has said he wants the winner of Spence-Ugas, and now that he is no longer with Top Rank, he may find more freedom to negotiate what would be a massive, career-defining matchup for both him and Spence.