Errol Spence Jr makes his return to the ring at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington. The WBC and IBF welterweight champion is the betting favorite to defeat the WBA Super welterweight title holder Yordenis Ugas.
It’s the latest exciting event at the stadium after the recent WrestleMania weekend. Spence is odds on at sportsbooks to win this unification title match. He comes into this fight with a perfect record of 27 professional wins. 21 of his wins have come inside the distance and betting on him it making it 22 could well pay off on the 16th.
The WBC and IBF champion has some ring rust to get rid of in this fight. He last stepped into the ring in December 2020. That fight saw him defeat Danny Garcia on a unanimous points decision to retain his IBF title.
While Spence dreams of going on to win more world titles, he’s been battling the odds just to keep his career going. He retained his IBF title in September 2019 when beating Shawn Porter. That also saw him win his opponents WBC title.
One thing you can always bet on in boxing is the judging of fights often being hard to understand. In this fight, two of the judges gave it to Spence Jr by five points, while the other somehow gave it to Porter by three points.
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The following month he was seriously injured when crashing his Ferrari. The odds were good on him making a recovery, but would he be able to continue at the top level? More medical problems followed last year. A retinal tear to his left eye forced him to postpone a fight against Manny Pacquiao.
It seems the odds are often against him, but Spence Jr will be out to beat Ugas on the 16th. That could set up a long-awaited clash with WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford.
Spence Jr has been a welterweight champion since 2017. He travelled to England to take on Kell Brook (recent winner over Amir Khan) for his IBF welterweight title and stopped the champion in the 11th round. He’s seen off all challengers since and sportsbooks believe he will be winning against Ugas in Arlington.
Back to the postponed fight against Manny Pacquaio. When Spence Jr pulled out, it was Ugas who took his place. He took on the former multi-champion and won a points decision that made him the Super champion in the welterweight division.
His win led to this title fight with Spence Jr but unlike his opponent, he is far from an unbeaten fighter. There have been many times when you wouldn’t have imagined the heights he’d climb.
The Cuban made his professional debut 12 years ago. He won his first 11 fights before losing to Johnny Garcia in 2012. Those betting on the fight going all the way were on a winner. Garcia won the points decision but boy was it close. Two judges gave it to Garcia by a point and the other had Ugas a point ahead.
His unbeaten record gone; the Cuban won his next four fights before losing an interim WBC Latino super lightweight title fight against Emanuel Robles. Three months later Ugas lost again to Amir Ahmed Iman. Not many would have bet on him becoming a future world champion at that stage.
Moving up in weight worked the trick for the Cuban. He won his next eight fights and that earned him a crack at the WBC welterweight title against Shawn Porter. Ugas was not fancied by sportsbooks to win the title and they were right.
Again, that bet on judges making ludicrous decisions was a winning one. Two judges had Porter winning by two and four points. The other judge gave it to Ugas by six points and many believe that it was the challenger who should have won that night.
September 2020 saw him beat Abel Ramos to win the WBA welterweight title, even though another dodgy judge had him losing the fight by six points! With the win against Pacquaio, he now takes on Spence Jr, but sportsbooks have him as the underdog.
Betting on Spence Jr adding the Super welterweight title to the two he already owns looks a good one to make. Why? Well, examining the record of his opponent reveals two clear facts. Firstly, he can be a dirty fighter and has been penalised for low blows and holding. He’s also been knocked down several times. All points to Spence Jr retaining his title unless that ring rust causes problems.