Yordenis Ugas to Face Errol Spence in Welterweight Three-Belt Unification Bout

It’s official… Yordenis Ugas is readying for a three-belt unification bout…

The 35-year-old Cuban professional boxer, who has held the WBA welterweight title since January 2021, and Errol Spence will unify welterweight titles on April 16 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Spence announced on social media.

Yordenis Ugas,The bout will be Spence’s third at the home of the Dallas Cowboys; he defeated Mikey Garcia and Danny Garcia (no relation) at the venue in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The deal was being finalized in December, as previously reported, but the fight wasn’t announced until two months later as Premier Boxing Champions officials sought to lock in a date and venue.

Spence, who will put his WBC and IBF titles on the line, will be making his second comeback from serious injury. The 31-year-old boxer was involved in a single-car accident in October 2019 that hospitalized him for days and sidelined him for months. A planned August 2021 fight with Manny Pacquiao was derailed after he underwent surgery to repair a detached retina.

Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) stepped in on 11 days’ notice and scored the upset of Pacquiao via unanimous decision. Now, Ugas will defend his WBA title in a three-belt unification.

The 35-year-old Cuban and Spence have one common opponent: Shawn Porter. Spence defeated Porter in a brutal September 2019 fight via split decision. Six months earlier, Ugas dropped a controversial split-decision to Porter.

Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) is rated No. 2 at 147 pounds by ESPN; Ugas is one spot behind. Terence Crawford, who holds the other welterweight title, is No. 1.

A fight between the winner of Spence-Ugas and Crawford would crown an undisputed welterweight champion, but there remains a roadblock. Eimantas Stanionis stepped aside from his mandatory title shot against Ugas to allow him to fight Spence. Stanionsis will fight Radzhab Butaev on the undercard, sources told ESPN. Both are rated in ESPN’s top 10 at welterweight.

Yordenis Ugas to Fight Errol Spence Jr in Welterweight Title Unification Fight

Yordenis Ugas is ready for a unification bout…

will receive his shot at Errol Spence Jr. after all.

Yordenis Ugas,The 35-year-old Cuban professional boxer and reigning WBA welterweight champion will fight Errol Spence Jr. for a welterweight title unification fight that will take place in March or April on pay-per-view at a location to be determined, according to ESPN.

Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) had previously protested when the WBA mandated that he next defend his welterweight title against Eimantas Stanionis, but the latter boxer has agreed to step aside, WBA president Gilberto Mendoza told ESPN on Sunday, paving the way for Ugas to fight Spence.

Spence and Ugas, who are both aligned with Al Haymon‘s PBC, are in the process of finalizing a deal

Spence’s WBC and IBF titles will be on the line, while Ugas will put up his WBA belt at 147 pounds. The other division title, the WBO strap, is held by Terence Crawford.

“Thanks to the WBA for doing the right thing,” Ugas tweeted. “It is an award for my dedication, and for being a brave man in and out of the ring. I will be fighting one of the best [pound-for-pound]. I’m a warrior. First Cuban fighting [for] three belts [in] one night. Thanks [to] all the fans who asked for this fight.”

Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) was slated to fight Manny Pacquiao in August but withdrew after he suffered a detached retina in training. Ugas stepped in on 11 days’ notice and scored the upset of the future Hall of Famer, sending Pacquiao into retirement with a loss.

Ugas was in talks to fight Spence before Pacquiao accepted the assignment, and he hoped to reschedule the bout after the biggest win of his career (Spence was cleared to resume training on Nov. 1.) But the WBA planned to stick to its four-man box-off in an attempt to create only one champion at 147 pounds.

In one of those bouts, Butaev (14-0, 11 KOs) scored a ninth-round stoppage of Jamal James in October. Ugas and Stanionis (13-0, 9 KOs) were meant to fight each other in the other bout. Now, Butaev, a 28-year-old Russian, will meet Stanionis for the right to face the winner of Spence-Ugas after the WBA “agreed to modify the tournament from its original decision,” Mendoza said.

“Eimantas is looking forward to beating Butaev on the Spence vs. Ugas card and then fight the winner,” Schaefer said. “He is ready for anyone in the welterweight division.”

Stanionis, a 27-year-old Lithuanian, fought Luis Collazo in August, but the bout resulted in a no decision after a clash of heads resulted in a deep cut for Collazo.

Meanwhile, Spence, one of the biggest attractions in boxing, prepares for yet another comeback without a tuneup bout. The 31-year-old from DeSoto, Texas, was hospitalized with serious injuries in a single-car accident in October 2019.

He returned in December 2020 with a victory over Danny Garcia but hasn’t competed since.

Miguel Cotto Named to International Boxing Hall of Fame

Miguel Cotto entering the hall

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican former professional boxer will be enshrined into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, alongside Roy Jones Jr. and James Toney.

Miguel Cotto,Cotto, Jones and Toney highlight the Boxing Hall’s Class of 2022, as revealed on Tuesday.

They’re joined by female champions Holly Holm and Regina Hamlisch, alongside publicist Bill Caplan, journalist Ron Borges and historian/producer Bob Yalen.

When they’re all inducted on June 12 in Canastota, New York, the group will be accompanied by the previous two classes. Because of the pandemic, fighters from those classes — such as Floyd Mayweather, Andre Ward and Wladimir Klitschko — have yet to be enshrined.

Cotto (41-6, 33 KOs) retired at age 37 following an upset loss to Sadam Ali. One of the most accomplished boxers from Puerto Rico, Cotto routinely fought before sellout crowds at Madison Square Garden, thrilling the masses with his ferocious body punching.

Cotto won titles at 147 pounds and 154 before he upset Sergio Martinez for the middleweight championship. Cotto competed with three Hall of Famers during his career: a win over Shane Mosley and losses to Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Cotto was also defeated by future Hall of Famer Canelo Alvarez.

Cotto’s loss to Antonio Margarito in 2008 is a welterweight classic. He later avenged the defeat.

Yordenis Ugas Notches Upset Win Over Manny Pacquiao to Retain WBA “Super” Welterweight Title

Yordenis Ugas has taken down a legend…

The 35-year-old Cuban professional boxer scored a unanimous decision over Manny Pacquiao on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena to retain his WBA “super” welterweight title, pulling off an upset victory that establishes Ugas as a major player in boxing’s best division.

Yordenis Ugas,

Ugas win came on a night that was supposed to be a celebration for Pacquiao, a culmination of all the great he has accomplished — a champion in eight divisions in four decades, a superstar the world over.

Instead, Ugas, who accepted the assignment on 11 days’ notice, walked away with a unanimous decision.

Yordenis Ugas,

All three judges scored the fight for Ugas: 116-112, 115-113 and 116-112. ESPN had it 116-112 for Ugas, who won as a +310 underdog, according to Caesars Sportsbook.

“I’m very excited, but most of all, I want to thank Manny Pacquiao for giving me this moment in this ring today,” said Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs). “Now the plan is to unify the title at welterweight. … Errol Spence is the next one on the list. … I am praying that he recuperates.”

Yordenis Ugas,

Pacquiao (62-8-2, 39 KOs) was slated to meet Spence, ESPN’s No. 4 pound-for-pound boxer, in a super fight. Those plans were canceled when it was discovered Spence suffered a detached retina in his left eye just 12 days before the fight.

Ugas, a bronze medalist for Cuba in the 2008 Beijing Games and ESPN’s No. 6 welterweight, was set to defend his title against Fabian Maidana in the co-feature and didn’t hesitate to step in to fight Pacquiao when the opportunity of a lifetime presented itself.

“We only had two weeks of training,” Ugas said, “but I listened to my corner, and it all worked out.”

Ugas’ strategy was simple yet brilliant: a double jab to the head followed by a right hand to the body. A high guard that picked off Pacquiao’s incoming shots before a crisp right looped around Pacquiao’s gloves and connected upstairs. Counterpunches that hit the target over and over, finally cutting Pacquiao over the left eye in Round 12.

Pacquiao also was cut under his right eye during the fight. His team told ESPN afterward that he needed five stitches to close one of the cuts and had three stitches glued onto the other. They didn’t specify which cut needed which fix.

On this night, under the brightest of lights, Ugas displayed the composure of a heart surgeon, patiently picking his spots with precise punches that constantly met their mark. He also imposed his superior size and strength on Pacquiao, who perhaps was fighting in his final bout.

This 42-year-old, flat-footed version of Pacquiao was not the same fighter who vaulted to the sport with dizzying speed and combinations thrown from seemingly every angle. Now, well past his best and with a potential presidential race to prepare for, this could be it for Pacquiao.

When Pacquiao was asked if this was his final fight, he said, “I don’t know. I need to relax and make a decision.”

“That’s boxing,” he said. “I had a hard time in the ring making adjustments. … My legs were tight. I’m sorry I lost tonight, but I did my best.”

Guillermo Rigondeaux to Fight John Riel Casimero for 118-Pound Title

Guillermo Rigondeaux is heading back to the ring…

The 40-year-old Cuban boxer, a two-weight world champion, having held the WBA bantamweight title since 2020, and previously the unified WBA, WBO, and Ring magazine super-bantamweight titles between 2013 and 2017, will now fight John Riel Casimero for the 118-pound title.

Guillermo Rigondeaux

The fight is set for August 14, according to MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions president Sean Gibbons.

The bout, a Showtime main event, will be held at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

The fight was announced in April. But after Casimero’s countryman, Nonito Donaire of the Philippines, regained a 118-pound title with a fourth-round knockout of Nordine Oubaali in May, Premier Boxing Champions worked quickly to make a deal for a title unification fight between Casimero and Donaire. Rigondeaux stepped aside to allow the bout to proceed.

It all spiraled out of control from there. Following the formal announcement of Donaire-Casimero, there was a disagreement over drug-testing protocol. Donaire, a longtime proponent of comprehensive testing through the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association, and Gibbons disagreed on when testing should commence.

The dispute boiled over into a personal exchange, with Casimero’s camp insulting Donaire’s team. Following the remarks, Donaire decided to withdraw from the fight on Tuesday.

Donaire made it clear that the bout is off because of those insults, not the drug-testing dispute, telling ESPN, “I represent boxing to the utmost with integrity.”

“I’m not making the fight happen because I’m here to stand on the problems,” he said.

TGB Promotions, which handles all PBC events, formally informed VADA on June 25 that both fighters would be tested. The following day, Casimero submitted his paperwork, including his whereabouts form so that he can be tested randomly.

Accepting the ultimate result — and with a Casimero-Rigondeaux bout back on the books to plan for — Gibbons apologized to Donaire’s team for his part in the controversy, admitting that “it got out of control.”

“We jump on the sword and say there were some things that shouldn’t have been said,” Gibbons added. “That’s boxing. We’re not in ballet; we’re in boxing.”

With the fight off, Donaire (41-6, 27 KOs) is left to find another big opportunity. A win over Casimero would have made him a unified champion at 118 pounds. The only bigger matchup available is a rematch with Naoya Inoue, ESPN’s No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter. When they met in November 2019, Inoue won a unanimous decision but suffered a broken orbital bone in ESPN’s fight of the year.

“[Donaire is] one of the most exciting fighters in the sport, he’s must-see TV, he’s a world champion and he’s a legend,” Donaire’s promoter, Richard Schaefer, told ESPN. “You put all of these things together, it will be a big event. We’ll see what we can get done.”

While Donaire, 38, seeks another opponent, Casimero, 32, once again prepares for Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Rigondeaux is a former champion at 122 pounds but is now campaigning at 118.

Rigondeaux (20-1, 13 KOs) scored a unanimous decision victory over Donaire in 2013. His lone professional defeat came to Vasiliy Lomachenko at 130 pounds in 2017.

“I think we’re fighting the tougher fight; we’re fighting the guy who beat Donaire,” Gibbons said. “He’s only had one bad fight in his life, and that was fighting a guy two divisions bigger than him, Vasiliy Lomachenko. Guillermo Rigondeaux … dude has a lot of life left in him.

“We’re taking on a very difficult challenge.”

Casimero (30-4, 21 KOs) won the title with a third-round TKO of Zolani Tete in 2019. Casimero’s only defense came in September, with another third-round stoppage, this time versus Duke Micah.

Casimero is rated No. 4 at bantamweight; Rigondeaux is No. 2.

Mikey Garcia in Advanced Talks to Fight Regis Prograis

Mikey Garcia is thisclose to another clash…

The 33-year-old Mexican boxer and former four-division champion is in advanced talks to take on ex-titleholder Regis Prograis for a fall clash at 140 pounds, according to both fighters and promoter Eddie Hearn.

Mikey Garcia

If a deal is completed, the bout would take place in the U.S., and be streamed on DAZN.

Garcia is one of the most accomplished active fighters in boxing with titles claimed at 126 pounds, 130, 135 and 140. He attempted to win a title at 147 pounds but dropped a decision to Errol Spence Jr. in his lone pro defeat. His last fight also was contested at 147 pounds, a decision victory over Jessie Vargas in February 2020.

Formerly recognized by ESPN as one of the top 10 pound-for-pound boxers in the world, Garcia is a proven box-office draw in Southern California and Texas, where he has headlined numerous times.

“I definitely feel better at 140 (pounds), the only reason I was trying to be at 147 was for a title fight, but since we couldn’t secure a fight with Manny (Pacquiao), there was no reason to stay there,” Garcia (40-1, 30 KOs) told ESPN. “But I’ve pretty much made my decision to campaign at ’40 for the next matchup.

“I think it’s a great matchup for a few reasons being that he’s an aggressive fighter, he’s accomplished, former world champion and he’s also hungry to regain that position and have a big victory. I want to get back, I want to do big things, I want to be able to challenge for a world title again and be a world champion so I think those are the elements that make it a great matchup.”

Prograis, 32, dropped his 140-pound title to Josh Taylor (currently the undisputed champion and ESPN’s No. 7 fighter pound-for-pound) in a thrilling scrap in October 2019. Taylor narrowly earned the decision in London and went on to win two more titles from Jose Ramirez in May.

Prograis, meanwhile, stayed busy with stoppage victories over Juan Heraldez and Ivan Redkach while he hoped to gain another crack at Taylor.

“I think it’s the biggest fight at 140,” Prograis (26-1, 22 KOs) told ESPN. “He has a big name; I have a big name right now. All sides want it. Sometimes one side don’t want it and the other side tries to push it. But with me and Mikey, I want it, he wants it. I talked to his brother (trainer Robert Garcia) on FaceTime; he wants it.

“I think it’s going to be a huge, huge fight. I do want to fight the best; I’ve been telling you I want to be a champion again. If I can’t get Josh Taylor, I think Mikey is bigger than anybody right now.”

Prograis has missed the weight limit in both of his past two fights, weighing in at 141 pounds for a fight against Heraldez contracted at 140 and 143 for a bout with Redkach contracted at 142.

“Rougarou” said he’ll be hiring a nutritionist for his next training camp after trying to “do everything by myself. I know I need professional help.”

“I grew up in New Orleans, I was raised eating a lot of (expletive),” Prograis said. “Very, very bad food habits. It takes a long time to break a bad habit.”

Recently, Prograis has been training with legendary fighter Roy Jones Jr., in Pensacola, Florida, though Jones won’t be part of his team during training camp or on fight night. Bobby Benton trains Prograis in Houston.

Garcia, meanwhile, is trained by his brother, former champion Robert Garcia, in Oxnard, California, and is anxious to return to the ring.

“I’ve been off for a little over a year now, a year and a half,” Garcia said. “It’s a good fight to get that return and not many good fights, good matchups get done. I think this is one that can get done.”

Oscar de la Hoya to Return to the Ring in July

Oscar de la Hoya is officially coming out of retirement…

The 48-year-old Mexican American former professional boxer and boxing legend has a date in mind for his previously stated plan to return to the ring.

Oscar De La Hoya

At a news conference for the upstart promoter Triller Fight Club, de la Hoya took the stage alongside Snoop Dogg at the Venetian and suddenly announced that he’d be making his boxing comeback on July 3.

De La Hoya said last August that he would be coming out of retirement, but now there is a date for his return. And he will be promoted by the new fight promotion launched by Triller, the social media app.

Ryan Kavanaugh, the CEO of Triller parent company Proxima Media, told ESPN that he and de la Hoya are “dear friends” and the two have been discussing his return for “a long time.” Kavanaugh said the card will take place in Texas — possibly AT&T Stadium — and the promotion is targeting a “big” UFC name for de la Hoya’s opponent.

“He has been [training] and in his own words, he’s stronger and better than ever,” Kavanaugh said of De La Hoya.

Sources told ESPN that de la Hoya has a multifight deal with Triller and this will not be a one-off bout.

de la Hoya, a former six-division boxing champion and Olympic gold medalist, has not fought since a 2008 loss to Manny Pacquiao. He’s one of the best drawing boxers in the sport’s history. The news conference was held Friday to promote Triller Fight Club’s April 17 card, which is headlined by YouTube star Jake Paul and former UFC fighter and wrestling Olympian Ben Askren.

World Boxing Council Orders Ryan Garcia to Face Javier Fortuna for Interim Lightweight Title

Ryan Garcia has lined up his next opponent…

The World Boxing Council has ordered the 22-year-old rising lightweight boxing star to face contender Javier Fortuna for the interim lightweight title and right to be mandatory challenger to champion Devin Haney.

Ryan “Kingry” Garcia 

The negotiation period has begun for a Garcia-Fortuna bout with a purse bid scheduled for April 16 if no deal is in place by then.

Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) won the WBC interim lightweight title with a seventh-round TKO victory over Luke Campbell. Despite significant interest from Haney, Garcia decided not to enter negotiations with Haney for a title shot, instead pursuing bigger deals with Gervonta “Tank” Davis and Manny Pacquiao. Neither deal materialized, and now Garcia appears set to face Fortuna this summer.

Fortuna (36-2-1, 25 KOs) is a former champion coming off a sixth-round knockout victory over Antonio Lozada Jr. in November. He was the secondary WBC mandatory challenger.

Garcia is one of boxing’s biggest young stars with a significant following, particularly from Gen Z and social media communities. But his mission has been to gain respect for his boxing ability. He made his first big step in that by overcoming a first-round knockdown to beat Campbell earlier this year.

If a bout with Fortuna is finalized, Garcia would have his second consecutive contender to add to his résumé and continue to raise his profile.

Oscar de la Hoya Says He’s Coming Out of Retirement & Resuming Boxing Career

Oscar de la Hoya is ready to rumble once again…

The 47-year-old Mexican American former professional boxer and boxing/mixed martial arts promoter says he’s planning to return to the ring.

Oscar De La Hoya

Twelve years after his last fight, the 11-time titlist confirmed he’s ready to end his retirement.

“The rumors are true, and I’m going to start sparring in the next few weeks,” de la Hoya said.

de la Hoya (39-6 30 KOs) added that he won’t be engaging in an exhibition fight like fellow retired champions Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr.

“It’s a real fight,” he said. “I miss being in the ring, I love boxing. Boxing is what gave me everything I have today, and I just miss it.”

After winning a gold medal for the United States at the 1992 Barcelona Games, de la Hoya had a meteoric rise in the professional ranks, winning the WBO junior lightweight title by stopping Jimmi Bredahl in 10 rounds in 1994, in only his 12th professional bout.

de la Hoya would eventually win major world titles in six different weight classes.

During this stretch, “The Golden Boy” was considered one of the best fighters in boxing and its biggest pay-per-view and gate attraction. He was as marketable outside the ring as he was good inside of it. There are very few fighters who can appear on the cover of Ring Magazine and Newsweek.

de la Hoya’s career came to an ignominious conclusion when he quit on his stool after the eighth round of a fight against Manny Pacquiao in December 2008. A few months later at age 36, de la Hoya announced his retirement.

“Look, my last fight with Pacquiao, I weighed in at 145 and obviously that was a shell of myself,” said de la Hoya of his ill-fated decision to move down to welterweight to face Pacquiao after seven years of campaigning at junior middleweight.

Now, as he’s set to return, de la Hoya understands that many will question his decision.

“Look, it’s been a long time, yes,” said de la Hoya, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014. “But actually my jab feels faster than ever. I have to make sure that my conditioning is perfect, my health is good. And that’s going to take place in the next few weeks. So we’ll see.”

de la Hoya, who has battled drug and alcohol addiction in the past, said he started to get back into shape a couple of months ago, and as he began to feel better and better, the old itch came back.

de la Hoya said he looked around the current landscape of boxing and didn’t like what he saw.

“All these fighters are not of the level that was 15, 20 years [ago], all these fighters are demanding so much money, all these fighters are demanding the moon,” said de la Hoya. “And they’re forgetting that you must train hard, you must work hard. So that’s a huge advantage for me because I know what it takes to train hard, I know how to train smart. I know how to fight smart in the ring.

“These guys are in it just for the money — that’ll be the big difference. I will fight for the glory, and these guys only fight for the money. And guess what? The glory will always win.”

For now, the plan is to compete between 154-160 pounds. As for who he will be targeting?

“Any top guy, any top guy out there,” said de la Hoya.

Danny Garcia Has Reportedly Agreed to Fight Errol Spence Jr. This Fall

Danny Garcia has lined up his next opponent…

The 32-year-old Puerto Rican professional boxer, the former junior welterweight and welterweight titlist, has agreed to fight unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. in a fall pay-per-view event, according to ESPN.

Danny Garcia

The bout — which needs a negotiation of final contract numbers — is expected to take place in November at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, according to sources. 

But, Premier Boxing Champions, which promotes both fighters, has put holds on other venues around the country as it monitors the coronavirus pandemic and the guidelines in place for each state.

The Athletic first reported the agreement.

Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) was a unified champion at junior welterweight and a world titlist at welterweight. In his most recent fight in January, Garcia outpointed Ivan Redkach over 12 rounds.

Spence defeated Shawn Porter by 12-round split decision on September 28 in a tough fight at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Spence, who came into the bout as the IBF titlist, earned the WBC belt with the win. He was involved in a horrific one-car accident a few weeks later near Dallas, Texas, and suffered serious injuries, including facial lacerations and a broken jaw.

Before the accident, there was talk of Spence facing Garcia in late January 2020.

Spence is ranked No. 1 at welterweight in ESPN‘s divisional rankings, and Garcia is No. 6. Manny Pacquiao (WBA) and Terence Crawford (WBO) are the other titleholders in the division.