Arlington, Texas – Errol Spence Jr. was stunned when he looked around the ring in search of his trumpet.
After being brutally tied with his right hand in the 6th round, Yordenis Ugas sent it to fly on Saturday, before referee Lawrence Cole slowed the action to recover Spence. It was then that Ugas was attached by the left hand, following which he sent Spence, who had been distracted by the right, into the ropes known as Knock Down.
The series seemed to revive Spence, who was fighting in front of his hometown fans at AT&T Stadium for the third time in four fights. He started to attack very aggressively in the next round and controlled the match after he bent Ugas through the left overhead. Before the ringside doctor advised Cole to stop fighting at 1:44 of Round 10, the Cuban boxer’s right eye was closed, with a systematic kick he scored slowly but surely to Ugas.
Ugas (27-5, 22 KOs) was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas for a right eye examination. Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) was present on all three scorecards, 88-82, 88-83 and 88-82. Two referees beat Spence 10-8 in the eighth round.
With the win, Spence added Ugas’ WBA Welderweight title and the WBC and IBF titles he already holds. Now, Spence only needs Terence Crawford’s WBO title to become the undisputed 147-pound champion.
“Everyone knows who I want next; I want Terrence Crawford next,” said ESPN’s No. 6 pound-to-pound boxer Spence. “That’s the fight I want; it’s the fight that everyone else wants. Terrence, I’m coming to that mother — ing belt.”
For years, Spence and Crawford circled each other, but for a long time one of the biggest potential bots in boxing never came close to concluding a deal. Crawford’s victory over Shawn Porter in November was the final match of a long-running contract with Top Rank, an advertising agency that rarely trades with the BBC, which promotes Spence’s fights.
Now that Crawford is an ad-free agent, the biggest hurdle to the competition has been lifted, and by the end of this year it looks like a real possibility.
“Congratulations, great fight, real fight going on right now,” Crawford tweeted in Spence. “Don’t talk anymore, no side of the street, let’s go!”
In the middle of the Super Fight match with Crawford it seemed to slip into the grip of Spence. Ugas, 35, was down in the 6th round at Spence. Although there was no slump in the game this time, the goalie finally suspended the match. Delay allowed Spence, 32, to recover; After the match resumed he started throwing punches at Ugas.
Spence said he scored the first stoppage of a champion since winning the IBF title from Kell Brook in May 2017. “Then he hit me with three or four shots .It’s my fault, it’s an innovative mistake. You have to protect yourself all the time. I did not do it. I’m not on my feet. I turned around and saw my blowpipe. He hit me.”
The sixth round is the last stage of Ugas. Spence, who was mostly kicked in the back foot during the first half of the match, is now attacking with relentless pressure. The adjustment made all the difference. Number of ESPN. 2 Welderweight targeted Ugas in the middle, which was effective as his performance was low.
Of the 216 punches scored by Spence, 70 were on the body, according to CompuBox. Spence threw 110 in a fiery round 8 and was tied at 46.
Ugas fought with Spence inside, but his right eye was swollen beyond what he could see. He was injured again in the 8th round following a series of shots before the goalie paused to allow the doctor to examine Ugas. After about a minute, the action resumed. This time Ugas got the chance.
“I’m sorry; I trained very hard for this fight,” ESPN’s No. 3 Welderweight Ugas said through a translator. “My respect to Errol Spence. He was a great champion. … The referee stopped the fight, but I wanted to continue until the end. I certainly had a chance to win the fight in the sixth round, but he recovered well..”
In a twist, Spence’s left eye was the first to lead the match. The 32-year-old was due to meet with celebrity Manny Pacquiao in August, but Spence withdrew from the fight after a doctor discovered he had a detached retina.
Spence was soon operated on as Ugas entered the 11-day notice for a life-changing opportunity. Ugas was already a champion and dropped a controversial decision to Porter in a title match early in his career, but it was an opportunity to establish himself as one of the elite in boxing.
Ugas overcame a grievance by making a dominant decision and sent Pacquiao to retire. Spence’s torch fight disappeared into a haze of smoke, but he got another chance.
After he recovered quickly from surgery, Spence overcame a regular tune-up match and merged the title straight with Ugas. It was Spence’s fourth match in a row on pay-per-view and the third in his last four fights at the Dallas Cowboys home (reported to have been attended by 39,946).
“I have no doubt. I trust myself 100%,” Spence said. “… I did not want a tune-up fight or a fight with someone I knew I could win. I wanted someone who was going to bring out the best in me, and I knew Ugas was going to bring out the best in me.”
Once again, following a serious injury, Spence proved that he is one of the best players in all of boxing. After he defeated Porter in one of the best action battles of 2019, he was involved in a devastating single car accident a month later in October.
Following multiple tooth loss and hospital stay, Spence returned victorious in December 2020 against Danny Garcia to retain his title. Now, he has another amazing win over one of the best welderweights in the world in his first fight after eye surgery.
All that remains for Spence in the welterweight division is the long-awaited encounter with Crawford.