By: Hans Themistode
Once Errol Spence Jr. and Yordenis Ugas agreed to unify welterweight titles, Derrick James knew it would be no easy task to formulate a game plan. Nevertheless, Spence Jr.’s longtime trainer believes that over the past few months, he’s figured Ugas out.
In just a few short hours, at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Spence Jr. and Ugas will look to add even more championship gold to their already impressive collection.
Since suffering back-to-back defeats in 2014, and moving his then record to 15-3, Ugas has completely turned his career around. With wins in 12 of his past 13 contests, the former 2008 Olympic bronze medalist has firmly entrenched himself as one of the welterweight division’s elite.
Though Ugas is known for his come forward and aggressive style, the 35-year-old has a multilayered game. Amongst his many attributes, James believes that the counter-punching ability of Ugas has become something that he’s excelled at.
So, in an effort to negate one of the current WBA champion’s best traits, James reveals that he brought in additional help to aid in Spence Jr.’s preparation.
“I think that it was a good training camp,” said James to a group of reporters. “We had two really good fighters in the gym. Two really good counterpunchers. That’s really what Ugas does a lot of. He’s going 14 and 15 rounds so it’s good.”
As previously mentioned, Ugas has worked diligently on all facets of his game. But, despite adding several wrinkles, the proud native of Cuba has used his size and overall strength to bully his opponents into submission. In his most recent trip to the ring, Ugas registered the impressive victory of his career, a 12-round unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao on relatively short notice.
During their action-packed chess match, Ugas not only made Pacquiao miss and subsequently pay, but he also imposed his will while muscling the smaller Pacquiao.
In the case of Spence Jr., James smiles when asked if he believes Ugas will plant his feet and fight fire with fire in the middle of the ring come later tonight. If, for some reason, the Cuban star elects to go Mano e Mano, James is convinced that the three judges watching ringside will be given the night off.
“It’s not going to make the 12th round. I’ve seen him spar big guys and shoot those shots, and in two rounds, they’re depleted. So if that’s what he wants to do, it won’t make it to the 12th round. There’s no way.”
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