WBC Welterweight champion Shawn Porter (29-2-1) makes the first defence of his title against Cuban No1 contender Yordenis Ugas (23-3-0 11 KOs) on Saturday, March 9th.
Porter is a former IBF welterweight titleholder. He won that title in 2013 against the then excellent Devon Alexander (25-1-0) by unanimous decision.
After a successful defence against New Yorker, Paulie Malignaggi, Porter defended against Britain's Kell Brook (32-0-0). He lost a razor-tight majority decision in a fight that could have gone either way.
Seven months later Porter was back in the ring in a ten-round contest against Erick Bone (16-1-0). Shawn scored a 5th round KO and 3 months later took an even better scalp when he beat Adrien "The Problem" Broner by unanimous decision. Broner had previously only lost to Marcos Maidana in a (30-1-0) career, that saw him a champion in four weight divisions.
A year later, Porter challenged for the WBA welterweight title. Champion Keith "One Time" Thurman was regarded as the No1 welterweight in the world, but Porter was seen as an acid test for him. As it turned out, in an excellent display of skill and will to win, both boxers came out with huge credit. And, although Thurman won a unanimous decision Porter enhanced his standing with the sanctioning bodies and more importantly, the fans.
Wins over Andre Berto and Adrian Granados paved the way to another challenge, this time for the vacant WBC title against the excellent Danny Garcia. Porters higher punch output gave him a unanimous decision in a close fight. Once again Shawn was fighting the best opposition in the division.
Now Porter makes his first defence against Ugas in a fight that he is expected to win. Ugas is on an 8 fight winning streak, and even though he has 11 KOs in his 23 wins, he looks an even better puncher than his record indicates.
Ugas, a highly decorated amateur, likes to take the centre of the ring but is not easy to hit with head-shots as he slips under and to the sides to deliver wide shots that are difficult to see coming.
Three decision defeats earlier in his career indicate a gap in levels with Porter. All three losses were to prospects at that time but not well-known names to most fans. Whereas Porter has top-level names like Thurman, Garcia, Berto, Broner, Brook and Malignaggi on his resume, Ugas's best wins have come against Ray Robinson and Cesar Miquel Barrionuevo. It is this gulf in professional experience that gives Porter the advantage.
It should be exciting while it lasts but I believe Porter will stop Ugas in the early or middle rounds.