Yordenis Ugas will get an opportunity to win a version of another welterweight title in his next fight.
BoxingScene.com has learned that the WBC has ordered a bout between Ugas, a former WBA welterweight champ, and Mario Barrios for its interim 147-pound title. Ugas, who is ranked second among the WBC’s welterweight contenders, and the fifth-rated Barrios are expected to fight sometime in July in a bout Showtime likely would televise.
Errol Spence Jr. owns the WBC welterweight title, but the undefeated southpaw is expected to face former WBA/WBC welterweight champ Keith Thurman next in a 12-round, 154-pound non-title bout. If Spence were to remain in the junior middleweight division thereafter, the Ugas-Barrios winner would be elevated from interim champion.
The Cuban-born Ugas (27-5, 12 KOs) or San Antonio’s Barrios (27-2, 18 KOs) also could be ordered by the WBC to defend his title against the winner of that sanctioning organization’s upcoming elimination match in which Cody Crowley will battle Abel Ramos. The third-rated Crowley (21-0, 9 KOs), of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, and the sixth-ranked Ramos (27-5-2, 21 KOs), of Casa Grande, Arizona, will square off in a 12-rounder Showtime will air as part of its pay-per-view undercard March 25, when super middleweights David Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) and Caleb Plant (22-1, 13 KOs) will meet in the 12-round main event at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas’ Ugas hasn’t fought since Spence stopped him in the 10th round of their welterweight title unification fight last April 16 at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The 36-year-old Ugas wasn’t allowed to continue by a ringside physician due to severe swelling around his right eye. He lost his WBA welterweight title to Spence (28-0, 22 KOs), who retained his IBF and WBC belts in that Showtime Pay-Per-View main event.
Barrios bounced back last month from his lopsided points loss to Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC) in their 12-rounder a year earlier at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas. The former WBA super lightweight champ stopped Puerto Rico’s Jovanie Santiago (14-3-1, 10 KOs) in the eighth round of his return from a one-year layoff February 11 at Alamodome in San Antonio.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.