A little interruption is sometimes the best thing for a fairy tale.
One might argue that Yordenis Ugas didn't simply play a spoiler on Saturday night in Las Vegas. He simply came in with a much needed intervention.
If the odds had been in Manny Pacquiao's favour and he had defeated Ugas to reclaim the WBA "super" welterweight championship, it would have put the Premier Boxing Champions' stable of 147-pounders in serious jeopardy.
While Al Haymon has been successful in selling his well-promoted welterweights to other firms (like as Top Rank and Terence Crawford), it was apparent that Errol Spence Jr. and the rest of his peers have established a chasm. However, when Ugas stepped in to fight Pacquiao when Spence was forced to withdraw due to an eye injury and went on to defeat Pacquiao by unanimous decision, it ignited renewed interest in a division with a lot of recognizable faces.
As Spence's future is uncertain, Ugas gave PBC's welterweight division a much-needed reset and created a plethora of potentially fascinating matches. With his victory with Pacquiao, Ugas moved from a well-known commodity to one of the best world boxers, as legitimate champion.
"I told you I am the champion of the WBA, and I showed it tonight," said Ugas during his postfight interview.
As Spence's future is uncertain, Ugas gave PBC's welterweight division a much-needed reset and created a plethora of potentially fascinating matches. With his victory with Pacquiao, Ugas moved from a well-known commodity among boxing fans to a legitimate champion.
"I told you I was the WBA champion, and I proved it tonight," Ugas stated in his postfight press conference.
In front of a crowd that was largely coming to watch Pacquiao win in his 72nd and perhaps final professional fight, Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) did just that. Ugas outpointed one of boxing's most renowned fighters with an imposing double jab and a significant size, reach, and youth advantage.
The PBC's welterweights have developed into stars since Haymon and the PBC sought a grip on the division in which Haymon resembled an overzealous crossing guard trying to cross the street. Spence, Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, and Danny Garcia all became big names who demanded large paydays and sparked genuine interest in who among the bunch was the greatest.
However, the aforementioned split finally happened. Spence was unbeaten because he raced past his opponents. Others swapped victories and defeats. And it became obvious over time that Spence and Crawford were in a league of their own inside the division, with their cold war being the most intriguing aspect of it all.
When the bout between Spence and Pacquiao was announced, it seemed eerily similar to Pacquiao's 2008 battle against Oscar De La Hoya. Pacquiao destroyed De La Hoya and used it as a springboard to become one of the most famous athletes in the world. Spence's chance to accomplish the same was cut short when he sustained a right eye injury that necessitated emergency surgery and caused him to withdraw from a megafight he had been looking forward to for years.
Spence's and the PBC's choices at welterweight would have been restricted if he had fought and won. With Ugas, a capable but imperfect fighter, Haymon can effectively start again, given Spence's uncertain future. If Porter and Crawford meet the WBO's criteria for a bout, regardless of what occurs, Ugas may face Porter in a rematch of their 2019 fight, which Porter won.