By: Hans Themistode
Yordenis Ugas begged and pleaded with the WBA to change their mind.
Since defending his welterweight title against Manny Pacquiao as a late replacement earlier this year, Ugas made his feelings crystal clear that he wanted to take on unified champion Errol Spence Jr.
But, despite voicing his desires, Ugas’s voice fell on deaf ears. The 35-year-old Cuban star was instead selected to take part in a four-man boxing tournament in order to end the proliferation of world titles in the WBA sanctioning body. On one end of the bracket, Radzhab Butaev dethroned former WBA “Regular” belt holder Jamal James via ninth-round stoppage.
Next up, Ugas was set to take on undefeated contender Eimantas Stanionis with the winner facing off against Butaev in the second half of 2022. However, as first reported by BoxingScene.com, Stanionis has agreed to step aside in order for Ugas to take on Spence Jr. in a three belt unification match. As an alternative, Stanionis will now take on Butaev. The winner of their newly formed contest will reign supreme as the WBA mandatory challenger.
With a showdown between Spence Jr. and Ugas now on the verge of coming to fruition, Gilberto Mendoza, longtime president of the WBA sanctioning body, is doing his best Santa Clause impersonation.
“Stanionis has agreed to withdraw from the mandatory title fight,” said Mendoza, longtime. “He will now fight Butaev. Errol Spence and Yordenis Ugas, Merry Christmas to you both and let’s have a great fight.”
For Spence Jr., the 31-year-old is coming off a rough 2021. After proving that he was back to his old dominant self following his horrific car wreck with a one-sided unanimous decision victory over Danny Garcia in December of 2020, the Dallas native failed to enter the ring at all this year.
Originally, the powerful southpaw was set to take on Manny Pacquiao in a legacy-defining showdown. Those plans, however, were immediately scrapped once it was discovered that Spence Jr. suffered a torn/detached retina in his right eye, forcing him into subsequent surgery. Ironically enough, Ugas stepped in on just a few weeks’ notice. And, as previously mentioned, despite being a heavy underdog, would go on to pick up the biggest win of his career.
Still, regardless of his recent setback, Spence Jr. remained confident that his latest ailment would be innocuous. The unified titleholder has been recently been cleared to return to training and has been spotted working on his craft with head trainer Derrick James.
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