WBC and IBF world welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr steps back through the ropes for the first time in 16 months, as he takes on WBA world champion Yordenis Ugas at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas this weekend.
These two men had very different routes to their world titles and tis fight.
Spence Jr worked his way through the IBF rankings with some eye catching performances, which made him mandatory challenger for Kell Brook’s IBF world title. In 2017, Spence Jr travelled to the UK to take on Brook at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, where he lifted his first title, knocking Brook out in the 11th round.
Spence Jr made three solid defences of his belt against Lamont Peterson, Carlos Ocampo and Mikey Garcia before landing a unification fight with WBC champ, Shawn Porter. In 2019, Spence Jr and Porter delivered an absolute classic seeing Spence Jr unify the belts via split decision.
However, disaster struck not long after the Porter, as Spence Jr crashed his Ferrari at high speed. Spence Jr would be charged with DWI, and take a 14 month hiatus from the ring.
Spence Jr returned in December 2020, defeating former world champ Danny Garcia via unanimous decision.
Spence Jr’s next fight was revealed to be a unification with WBA champion, the legendary Manny Pacquaio. However, Spence Jr was forced out with an injury. Pacquaio was given a replacement opponent, who went on to defeat him for the WBA title, that man was Yordenis Ugas.
Ugas had worked his way through the ranks. In 2017 he scored his biggest win to date, defeating Thomas Dulorme on the undercard of Mayweather McGregor. Ugas kept working and in March 2020, he had landed himself a shot at WBC Champion, Shawn Porter.
Ugas was controversially on the wrong end of a split decision against Porter, with many believing that he was robbed of being world champion. Porter’s next bout was the Spence Jr unification fight, whilst Ugas handed Omar Figueroa Jr his first defeat with an impressive unanimous decision.
Ugas kept the momentum going, as in 2020, he defeated Abel Ramos to win the WBA ‘regular’ title.
The call came short notice to Ugas about the Pacquiao fight, but he grabbed the opportunity with both hands, as he got the unanimous decision over Pacquiao, making him WBA world champion.
So, Spence Jr and Ugas go at it this weekend in Texas in a fight where the styles should gel well, will Spence Jr carry too much power, or has Ugas got another huge performance in him?
We’re sure the WBO world champion Terence Crawford will be watching closely as he holds the final piece to the undisputed puzzle.