ARLINGTON, Texas — In his return from a 14-month layoff and surgery on a detached retina, unified champion Errol Spence Jr. made quite the statement in Saturday’s homecoming about where he stands in the welterweight division.
Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) extended his control as the power player at 147 pounds by unifying his WBC and IBF titles with the WBA belt from Yordenis Ugas (27-5, 12 KOs) in a thrilling 10th-round TKO of his game opponent inside an electric AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
A native of nearby Desoto, the 32-year-old Spence traded huge shots throughout at close range as he looked to make a statement against the brave Ugas, who wobbled Spence in Round 6 with a flurry of shots that knocked out his mouthpiece. To Spence’s credit, he never went down and he went on to swell the right eye of Ugas shut, forcing referee Laurence Cole to stop the fight at 1:44 of Round 10 on the advice of the ringside doctor.
Spence, who previously had a history of hard weight cuts to 147 pounds, hired a nutritionist for the first time and looked to be in the best shape of his career.
“I didn’t have any doubts at all. I believed in myself 100% and trained 100%,” Spence said. “I didn’t want a tune-up fight or someone I knew I could beat. I wanted someone who would bring out the best in me and Ugas did that.
“The nutritionist helped a lot. I lost the weight and they did a great job. It was just my work in the gym. I felt like my timing was off [early in his return] but I just kept working. I think that was due to the long layoff and I was super psyched to get in the ring and push the pace.”
Spence, who fought with a dogged determination throughout while pushing an insane pace, outlanded Ugas by a margin of 216 to 96, according to ShoStats. He also landed 40% of his power shots.
After the victory, in what was just the 12th title unification bout in welterweight history, Spence didn’t hesitate in letting it be known he wants WBO champion Terence Crawford next for the undisputed championship.
“Everybody knows who I want next, I want Terence Crawford next,” Spence said. “That’s the fight that I want.”
Ugas, a 35-year-old native of Cuba, filled in for Spence last fall and upset Manny Pacquiao, but there would be no heroics in this one despite a spirited effort in Round 6. Ugas hurt Spence with a right hand and knocked his mouthpiece out. Spence took his eye off the ball and ate two more punches after Ugas caught him flush and sent him staggering into the ropes.
“I thought the referee had said stop, so I stopped,” Spence said. “I think he hit me with three or four shots. You have to protect yourself at all times and I didn’t do that.”
Cole controversially stopped the action just as Ugas began pouring it on in hopes of a knockout to allow Spence a chance to have his mouthpiece cleaned.
Spence, who has never been knocked down as a pro, continued to press forward and outland Ugas, who was largely limited to one punch at a time. He forced Ugas into a shootout at close range and continued to chop away until the swelling on Ugas’ right eye became a major problem.
CBS Sports was with you throughout the entire way on Saturday night, so be sure to follow along with the live results and highlights below.
Spence vs. Ugas fight card, odds
- Errol Spence, Jr. (c) def. Yordenis Ugas via 10th-round TKO (doctor stoppage)
- Isaac Cruz def. Yuriokis Gamboa via fifth-round TKO
- Jose Valenzuela def. Francisco Vargas via first-round knockout
- Cody Crowley def. Josesito Lopez via unanimous decision (98-91, 98-91, 99-90)
- Eimantas Stanionis def. Radzhab Butaev via split decision (116-111, 117-110, 113-114)
- Brandun Lee def. Zachary Ochoa via unanimous decision (99-91, 99-91, 98-92)
Spence vs. Ugas scorecard, live coverage