PBC’s featured fight this weekend is a Welterweight world title fight as Shawn Porter (29-2-1; 17 KO) defends his WBC 147 lbs. title against Yordenis Ugas (23-3; 11 KO). Porter vs. Ugas takes place this Saturday, March 9 and airs live on Fox with a fight time of 8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT.
- Deep division - Porter doesn’t benefit from being in arguably boxing’s deepest division. Were he not at Welterweight, he could potentially be a division’s #1, but with Keith Thurman (who holds a 2016 win over Porter), Errol Spence, and Terence Crawford around, he has to settle for being ranked #4 on the Ring Magazine list. I doubt you’ll find a better #4 in any division.
- Rough style - Porter’s style is a tough one to deal with for many opponents. He gets inside and roughs opponents up, outworking them and just wearing them down, particularly with body shots, in a highly physical match-up. It’s maybe not the prettiest, but it certainly is effective. He has mixed in more boxing at times, but usually comes back to this stye when push comes to shove.
- Garcia win - Porter’s last fight was in September when he defeated Danny Garcia. That was a huge fight for him - had he lost to both Garcia and Thurman it would have secured him a spot as “almost” good enough for the top spot. But the win there put him right back into serious contention, and gave him the WBC title as well. This is his first defense of that belt.
- Outboxed - Porter has 2 losses - to Thurman, and in 2014 to Kell Brook. Both times, his opponent managed to outbox him, preventing Porter from fighting his own game. Garcia had some success with this method in their fight too before Porter brought it inside and took over. That will be the likely method employed by anyone looking to defeat Porter.
- Two careers - Ugas is currently on an impressive 8-0 run dating back to 2016. Prior to that, he was a not-very-impressive 15-3 with back to back losses. He took two years off in 2014-2016, and has looked very good ever since.
- Cuban Olympian - Ugas is a Cuban fighter who represented his country in the 2008 Olympics, winning Bronze. He was a dedicated amateur outside of the Olympic win as well, and that should tell you plenty about his style.
- Favorable match-up - Ugas is ranked #8 in the division, and of everyone above him, Porter might be the most favorable match-up for the Cuban, given his technical skills and how that has caused issues for Porter in the past.
- +270 - Those are the odds against Ugas here, and they’re not as wide as you might expect. He’s clearly a live dog in this one.
What else is on the card?
- Francisco Santana (25-6-1; 12 KO) vs Abel Ramos (23-3-2; 18 KO) - This is a Welterweight fight. Santana comes in off a good win over Felix Diaz that ended a 2-3 skid. Ramos has mostly been KOing guys in Tijuana bar shows lately (literally) - he’s stepped up before, but lost. Not much to see here.
- Efe Ajagba (8-0; 7 KO) vs Amir Mansour (23-3-1; 16 KO) - Ajagba is a decent enough Heavyweight prospect from Nigeria. He’s been a pro less than two years. Mansour is a 20+ year veteran and is 46 years old. He’s here to give the youngster a veteran test. There are worse fights.
This is a very intriguing match-up to call. Porter seems like the safe and obvious pick, but the memory of him underperfoming against Brook lingers in my mind. That’s probably unfair given what he’s accomplished since then, so I’ll pick him to win, but this should be a good one. Tune in early to see if Ajagba can make his mark.
Prediction: Shawn Porter, UD