Eighteen months after coming up short via disputed decision in the biggest opportunity of his career to date, Yordenis Ugas is looking to get another shot at proving he's among the best 147-pound fighters in the world.
Ugas (25-4, 12 KOs) dropped a split decision in 2019 many felt he had won against then-champion Shawn Porter. On Sunday, Ugas is looking to make a statement in his return, headlining a Premier Boxing Champions card on national television (Fox, 8 p.m. ET) against Abel Ramos (26-3-2, 20 KOs)
If Ramos' name isn't necessarily of the household nature, it would appear to be part of PBC's plan in showcasing its big-name welterweight stars in comeback fights out of the quarantine -- similar to Porter's whitewashing of Sebastian Formella two weeks ago -- to set up bigger matchups down the road.
A 34-year-old native of Cuba, Ugas is hoping to be in those fights once again and enters on a two-fight winning streak thanks to victories over Omar Figueroa Jr. and Mike Dallas Jr.
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"Everyone knows the welterweight division is always loaded with the best fighters in boxing, and I consider myself as one of those guys," Ugas said on Wednesday's media teleconference. "I feel I beat Shawn Porter, so I know I belong with the elite boxers at 147 pounds. I must get past Ramos first, then I'm coming for everyone."
Porter used the disputed victory over Ugas to launch himself into a pay-per-view unification fight against current IBF and WBC champion Errol Spence Jr., which Porter lost by split decision in a fight-of-the-year contender. Ugas will compete on Sunday for the vacant WBA title despite the fact that Manny Pacquiao is the current WBA full titleholder at welterweight and Jamal James holds the interim version.
The 29-year-old Ramos, who fights out of Arizona, is a durable fighter riding an eight-bout win streak, including victories over Francisco Santana and Bryant Perrella.
"Ramos is a very tough fighter who has a tremendous amount of heart, as shown in his last fight when he knocked out Perrella in the final seconds," Ugas said. "This will be one of those fights that the fans will be talking about for many years because we are not going to be backing up. I'm expecting an all-out war."
Ramos echoed his opponent's promise that, despite Ugas' impressive advantage technically, he plans to very much make this a fight.
"I trained extremely hard and prepared myself for a tough fight," Ramos said "I know that Ugas always comes to fight, and the fact that there's a title on the line makes this fight even better. It's every fighter's dream to become a world champion. I'm prepared for war. Boxing fans can expect fireworks on Sunday."
There are a pair of featured bouts to go along with Ugas vs. Ramos in this unusual Sunday night event. Undefeated prospect Jesus Ramos will take on another unbeaten fighter in Esteban Garcia at 140 pounds. Ramos has plenty of power with 11 knockouts in 12 professional bouts. Plus, Omar Juarez takes on Dakota Linger at 147 pounds. Jaurez is undefeated and coming off a win last month by decision.
Ugas vs. Ramos card
- Yordenis Ugas -2000 vs. Abel Ramos +1000, vacant WBA "regular" welterweight title
- Jesus Ramos vs. Esteban Garcia, junior welterweights
- Omar Jaurez vs. Dakota Linger, welterweights
Ugas vs. Ramos prediction
Ugas proved with great success against come-forward fighters like Porter and Figueroa that he can maintain control of distance without getting swallowed up. That plus the wide gaps between them in everything from speed to experience makes it easy to understand why Ugas is as high as a -2000 betting favorite.
Expect Ramos to fight the only way he knows how, which is aggressive and straight ahead. As long as Ugas remains smart in terms of when he looks to counter Ramos' pressure with pinpoint power shots of his own, a late stoppage following a one-sided performance is well within reason.
Pick: Ugas via TKO10