Shawn Porter vs. Yordenis Ugas tomorrow at the Dignity Health Sports Park
By Bill Tibbs
WBC welterweight champion Shawn “Showtime” Porter is hoping to get his WBC mandatory title defense out of the way so he can focus on lining up one of the many elite, welterweight fighters for a date later in 2019.
WBC welterweight world champion Shawn Porter (29-2-1, 17 KO’s) will take on mandatory challenger Yordenis Ugas (23-3, 11 KO’s) on March 9 at Dignity Health Sports Park (formerly known as the StubHub) in Carson, California.
Porter has an outstanding resume that has seen him in the ring with Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Kell Brook, Devon Alexander, Keith Thurman, Paulie Malignaggi, Andre Berto, Alfonso Gomez and Adrien Broner in his 11-year career.
While Porter is looking to line himself up with some of the many star players in the 147-pound division like Errol Spence Jr., Manny Pacquiao or Terence Crawford, he will have to get by his mandatory WBC defense of Ugas to do it.
This is the 2nd go-round as a champion for the talented Porter at 147-pounds having previously held the IBF title from 2013-2014.
While “ShowTime” can’t sleep on Ugas, it is safe to say that it would be a huge upset to see Porter lose to his Miami-residing, Cuba-born challenger. A win keeps Porter busy, and in the public eye, while he waits and hopes to land a bigger fight later in the year.
Crawford, Paqcuiao, or the winner of Spence against California’s Mikey Garcia, would be a Porter dream match. But, time will tell what big fight plays out for the Ohio native. However, it all stems from a win against Ugas and nobody knows that better than Porter.
From a recent pre-fight interview, it’s clear that Porter, who before he was challenging the very best in the world was well known for being the go-to guy for sparring for then P4P boss Manny Pacquiao, is clearly excited to get back in the ring.
"Ugas is a strong, aggressive fighter who’s responsible with his defense”, said Porter. “He’s a Cuban fighter and I know he won’t waiver from that. It’s going to be up to me to get him to drop his hands, take some risks and then land my shots. It should make for a very entertaining fight and I can’t wait to get back in the ring and do what I do best."
If Porter defends his title on Saturday night - let’s take a quick peek at our dream-bout roster for a possible opponent for a big fight later in 2019.
*IBF champion Errol Spence (24-0, 21 KO’s) has a huge bout this month with undefeated star Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KO’s) in Texas. Porter would love the winner but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the only fight of the year for both guys after long, gruelling, pre-fight training camps.
*WBO welter champ Terence Crawford (34-0, 25 KO’s) takes on British star Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KO’s) in April and would love Porter later in the year. If Khan wins look for him to seek a huge, all-UK bout with Kell Brook.*WBA Super champ Keith Thurman (29-0, 22 KO’s) came back from some nagging injury repairs after a lengthy break to beat Josesito Lopez in January. Porter would love a shot at the undefeated, Florida-based champ who beat him by MD in 2016.
*WBA welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao (61-7-2, 39 KO’s) beat former world champion Adrien Broner in January to prove there is still some tread left on the tires and is more than likely waiting for a second lottery-win Mayweather bout. If he can’t get that he’ll look for the next biggest payday, which might not be Porter.
*Danny Garcia (34-2, 20 KO’s). Former world champ Garcia lost to Porter last September so he would love another shot at Shawn. Garcia has an April date with Adrien Granados he has to get by and then he’ll be looking to snag a big bout later in the year but Porter might be ‘been there, done that’ with Garcia.
*Former super lightweight/welterweight champion Jesse Vargas (28-2, 10 KO’s). “The pride of Las Vegas” has an April date at the Forum in L.A. but after that would love a shot at Porter. If Porter couldn’t snag a bigger name (see: bigger payday) a guy like Vargas might be in a good spot to get the call for a Porter bout.
*Former welterweight champion Jeff Horn (19-1-1, 13 KO’s). Was unknown outside of Australia until he stole a decision off of Manny Pacquiao in 2017. He babysat the title briefly until Terence Crawford stopped him last June. He closed off 2018 with a November, 1st round KO win over well-known, but completely shot, Anthony Mundine. He is looking to parlay that win into a big fight and he might be able to lure a guy like Porter to his native Australia if there are enough zeros on the end of the cheque.
Could Porter fight the winner of the Spence vs. Garcia fight?