By: Hans Themistode
Although Errol Spence Jr. eventually broke Yordenis Ugas down and truncated his WBA welterweight title reign, the determined Cuban slugger gave Spence Jr. all he could handle.
As a crowd of nearly 40,000 thousand cheered the unified titlist on, they were left motionless with their hands over their mouths as Ugas staggered his man in the fourth. To kick off the change in momentum, Ugas landed an overhand right that seemed to buckle Spence Jr. Shortly after, Ugas connected on an uppercut on the inside, sending Spence Jr.’s mouthpiece flying halfway across the ring.
Under normal circumstances, a referee will allow both fighters to continue battling if they’re in the middle of an exchange. However, once a lull in the action takes place, the referee will pause their showdown and allow said fighter to retrieve their mouthpiece. Spence Jr. though, seemingly forgot the rules.
The moment the Dallas product’s mouthpiece was knocked loose, he immediately stopped defending himself and attempted to recover it. Ugas though, took full advantage, landing a three-punch combination. The final blow, a straight right hand, sent Spence Jr. into the ropes.
It wasn’t the first time that Spence Jr. had an awkward reaction to losing his mouthpiece. In December of 2020, against Danny Garcia, the Philadelphia native rocked Spence Jr., causing him to spit out his mouthpiece. Once again, Spence Jr. stopped protecting himself and went looking for his mouthpiece, allowing Garcia to take advantage.
With his inability to keep his mouthguard in place, Spence Jr. admits that it’s time to go looking for a better one.
“I gotta get a new mouthpiece,” said a laughing Spence Jr. to a group of reporters. “My mouthpiece been messed up. I gotta get a new mouthpiece. It’s not molded to my mouth at all. I gotta bite down real hard for it to stay in my mouth. That’s my fault.”
When Spence Jr. initially lost his mouthpiece against Garcia, it happened at the tail end of round 11. Although Garcia attempted to follow up when Spence Jr. looked down, the bell had already rung to signal the end of the round. However, against Ugas, there was plenty of time remaining on the clock.
As the powerful southpaw staggered across the ring and into the ropes, a collective gasp could be heard from his hometown fans. While Spence Jr. initially revealed that referee Laurence Cole had shouted “break” before he went to find his mouthpiece, he refuses to blame the veteran ref for his actions. Instead, Spence Jr. is holding himself accountable for his boneheaded move.
“That was a rookie mistake for me to go looking for my mouthpiece and then I get punched like three times. That was my mistake because you’re supposed to protect yourself at all times.”
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