New York- WBA Welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas continues his quest to defend and unify the welterweight titles against WBC and IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. Saturday April 16 live on SHOWTIME PPV in a Premier Boxing Champions event from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Ugas, the WBA champion from Cuba, won the title last year after dethroning the now retired and eventual Hall of Fame eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao. Then, because Spence could not fight Pacquiao due to a detached retina, Ugas got the call and took advantage of the opportunity.
Wednesday in Las Vegas, Ugas had an open workout for the media and provided his perspective of the anticipated fight that could also be career defining for the first welterweight champion from Cuba.
Thai is the 12th unification fight in the illustrious welterweight division and joins other classics that include Sugar Ray Leonard vs, Thomas Hearns, Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Pacquiao in 2015, established at the time as the all-time pay-per-view record.
Though, Ugas when he fought Pacquiao in August of 2021 defended the WBA title by technical issue with sanction organization bylaws that caused controversy. Pacquiao, though, was the champion but did not meet the mandate to defend his title due to political obligations as a Senator in the Philippines and Ugas got his opportunity.
Regardless, Ugas became a champion and now meets Spence. Here is what Ugas had to say at the media workout:
“I’m very thankful for everyone who has supported me. I’m extremely ready for this fight and to give the fans a great show on April 16. This has been a fantastic training camp and I can’t wait. I’m happy to be fighting in Spence’s backyard, because they have great fans down there in Texas. It just adds extra motivation. We’ve had a great training camp here in Las Vegas with Ismael Salas. We always make sure that the hard work pays off. We’re going to be bringing our best into the ring.”
“I was out of the ring for a long time, but when I came back and gave Jamal James the first loss of his career, I knew that I would be coming for big things. Everything changed for me that night and it’s all led up to this. The Pacquiao fight was a great night for me. After that fight my life changed in even more ways. But I’ve always kept myself humble. I showed everyone who the WBA champion was. I have my eye on continuing to make history.”
“Being an underdog means nothing to me. I was the underdog against Pacquiao and now again against Spence. I’ve always been the underdog and it doesn’t faze me. It’s an honor to be in the ring with Errol Spence Jr. We’re fighting for three belts, but even more important is fighting for honor and respect.”
Ismael Sales, Ugas’ trainer, commented about Spence and his prior motorcycle accident that was almost fatal and kept him out of the ring for a year.
“I watched Errol Spence fight Shawn Porter and then I watched Errol Spence fight Danny Garcia, after Spence had his accident. It was not the same Errol Spence Jr. I do believe he lost something between the Porter and Garcia fights. Yordenis came to us with three losses and since then we’ve been beating undefeated guys and going step by step up to this point of facing top fighters. Manny Pacquiao was the biggest fight of his career and Ugás beat him clearly. That was the same Pacquiao who had beat Keith Thurman in his previous fight.”
“We need to absorb the punching power of Spence. Everyone knows he’s a front-footed fighter who throws bombs from start to finish. It’s no secret that we need to use Spence’s aggressiveness and make it work in our favor.”
Other Showtime Upcoming Highlights: Unified WBC, WBA and IBF World Champion Jermell Charlo and WBO World Champion Brian Castaño will meet in a rematch of one of 2021’s most significant fights as again seek to become the first ever undisputed 154-pound champion in the four-belt era on Saturday, May 14 live on SHOWTIME from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.
Charlo vs. Castaño II was previously announced to take place on March 19, but was rescheduled after Castaño suffered an arm injury in training In a classic, Charlo and Castaño went toe-to-toe for 12 grueling rounds on July 17, 2021 on SHOWTIME, the back-and-forth tilt ending in a split-decision draw.
Houston’s Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs) became a unified champion in September 2020, dropping Jeison Rosario three times on his way to an eighth-round knockout that earned him the WBA and IBF titles.
The 32-year-old Castaño (17-0-2, 12 KOs) ntive of Buenos Aires, Argentina, put on a spectacular performance to capture the WBO title in February 2021, as he dominated Patrick Teixeira to wrest the belt away via unanimous decision.
“I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to face Charlo again for all four titles,” said Castaño. “This is champion vs. champion, just like it should be. The first fight was a great war. The rematch will be no different, but this time I won’t leave it in the judges’ hands. This is my era, and I will prove it.”
Benavidez Returns With Eyes On Canelo: Unbeaten two-time world champion and Phoenix-native David “El Bandera Roja” Benavídez returns to his home state for the second consecutive time when he battles former world champion David Lemieux in a 12-round showdown for the vacant Interim WBC Super Middleweight Title headlining live on SHOWTIME Saturday, May 21 from Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
Benavídez, 25-years old, (25-0, 22 KOs) enters this fight having knocked out his last five opponents, including a September 2019 knockout of two-time super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell. Most recently, Benavidez returned to fight in Arizona for the first time since 2015 and delivered a dominating seventh-round knockout of Kyrone Davis. Benavídez is trained by his father José Sr.
“I’m excited to be fighting for another belt, and I’m training extremely hard because it is another big opportunity for my career and future,” said Benavídez. “David Lemieux still has a lot of power, so I have to make sure I sharpen all my skills 100 percent. I’m confident I can stop Lemieux and I’m planning on giving my fans another great fight on May 21.”
Fighting out of his native Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Lemieux (43-4, 36 KOs) has won five consecutive bouts heading into May 21, including three-straight wins since moving up to super middleweight in December 2019. The 33-year-old became a middleweight world champion in June 2015, defeating Hassan N’Dam to capture the belt before dropping a unification bout against Gennadiy Golovkin later that year.
Rich Mancuso is a senior writer with Latinosports.com Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso
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