By Marc Livitz: “Showtime” Shawn Porter was up against it at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California on Saturday night as Yordenis Ugas did everything he could to take his WBC World Welterweight title from him.
By Marc Livitz: “Showtime” Shawn Porter was up against it at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California on Saturday night as Yordenis Ugas did everything he could to take his WBC World Welterweight title from him. In the end, the eye test may have given way to a sheer contrast of styles, as Porter retained his championship by way of a narrow split decision.
Ugas (23-4, 11 KO’s) snapped his left jab early as Porter (30-2-1, 17 KO’s) looked to move inward, then quickly back out. Yordenis held at least a two inch advantage in height, yet he looked to be the larger man with more than just a slight ace in his pocket. The temperature inside the ring was estimated to be somewhere in the 50’s, so the first round was not particularly noteworthy. Shawn jabbed from the onset of round two. The Cleveland area fighter absorbed a body shot from his Cuban opponent and easily landed a counter right hand. Ugas connected with a right of his own just before the bell. Porter continued to dance on his toes and pick his spots, yet Yordenis caught him a few more times with body punches.
Although Porter began to take more chances, round four was much the same as the previous three. Ugas looked for openings created by Shawn’s jabs to fire more towards the body and hips. Highs and lows, as in head or lower was much the story so far. Towards the end of the fifth, Ugas appeared to have had enough of Porter’s shimmying and evasive tactics as he raised his gloves high in frustration. Yordenis used his jab a bit more in the sixth as Shawn used feinting moves with his feet. The opening minute of the next round saw periods of Porter staying inside longer than he’d previously done.
Pushing off from his back foot, he found brief success with a few head shots. Later on, Ugas was all too happy to answer with his counter right hand. Into the eighth, the dilemma of the ringside judges may indeed have been whether they preferred activity or impact. As the crowd began to voice their displeasure, the overall approach of each man didn’t change much.
Ugas found more success with his jab in the ninth and he was able to get in a quick 1-2 to the head in the final minute. He highlighted his efforts with a straight right just as the bell rang. Referee Jack Reiss had nowhere near a rough evening into the tenth as Porter connected with a few crisp punches and he caught Ugas with a right hook just as time expired. Yordenis used a judo style takedown in the eleventh to toss Shawn to the mat. Porter maintained his usual approach, yet this time Ugas was ready enough to tag him him with a counter right. The Cuban may have been slightly staggered when “Showtime” popped him with a hard left just before the bell sounded.
The customary touching of gloves took place as the last round began. Chants of “Ugas” rang though the arena as the very close and competitive contest had trickled down to its final three minutes. Porter moved and moved as before. The same kind of punches were exchanged. To the scorecards the contest would go. Max DeLuca saw it 115-113 for Porter alongside Steve Morrow’s 116-112 card for the champion. Zachary Young awarded a 117-111 tally in favor of Ugas. The split decision victory went in favor of the incumbent champion Shawn Porter.
Additional Results from Carson
Efe Ajagba KO 2 Amir Mansour - Heavyweight
Juan Carlos Payano UD 8 Damien Vazquez – Bantamweight
Eimantas Stanionis UD 8 Samuel Figueroa - Jr. Middleweight
Viktor Slavinskyi UD 6 Luis May - Super Featherweight