Showtime Shawn Porter defends his WBC welterweight belt for the first time against former Cuban amateur standout Yordenis Ugas in the main event of a PBC card on March 9, 2019 at the Dignity Health Sports Park ( formerly StubHub Center) in Carson, California.
A Top Welterweight
Shawn Porter is the former IBF welterweight champion and the current WBC welterweight champion. Showtime won his current belt with a 12 round unanimous decision victory over former champion Danny Garcia in September 2018. Porter has a record of 29-2 with 17 knockouts under his belt. The 31 year old from Akron, Ohio stands at 5-6 and has a reach of 69.5 inches while fighting from the orthodox stance.
Porter is one of the world’s top welterweights today. Showtime is the 4th ranked welterweight by Ring Magazine and is 5-2 in his last seven bouts. In 2013, he captured the IBF 147 pound belt with a win over Devon Alexander, defended it successfully against Paulie Malignaggi before losing to Kell Brook in 2014. Porter’s second crack at a world title ended in his second career defeat to Keith Thurman in 2016 when he lost via unanimous decision for the WBA welterweight title.
Shawn Porter vs Yordenis Ugas Odds
Odds from betonline.ag as of 3/04/19
Yordenis Ugas enters this fight with a 23-3 record that includes 11 knockouts. The 32 year amateur standout from Cuba stands 5-9 and has a reach of 69 inches while fighting out of the orthodox stance. In 2008, Ugas won the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and two years later, he set foot in the United States to start a professional boxing career.
Since losing an 8-round unanimous decision to American prospect Amir Imam in 2014, Ugas has won eight straight bouts to bolt into the world rankings. Four of those wins were by knockout including a 4th round stoppage of the heralded Bryant Perrella in 2016. Ugas’ biggest win to date was his 10-round unanimous decision win over former title challenger Thomas Dulorme in August 2017.
Shawn Porter is neither the hardest puncher nor is he the best technical boxer in the welterweight division but he’s proven himself to be one of the best in the current crop. Showtime is the welterweight version of Leo Santa Cruz who simply throws insane volume and pressure on his opponents. Porter has a very high boxing IQ and he utilizes whatever he has in his arsenal to the best of his advantage. What usually happens in his fight is that he outworks his opponents and does enough damage to win bouts.
Ugas is a flashy boxer who likes to throw haymakers and owns a powerful right hand. He is no knockout artist but Ugas has four knockout wins in his last 8 bouts. Ugas is most dangerous when he gets his opponent against the ropes. He is also most effective when he starts connecting his jabs and when he is patient with landing his big punches. This will be Ugas’ first fight in the state of California and his first ever shot at a world title
The interesting stat in this fight is the reach because while we think Ugas is longer because he is three inches taller, Porter even has a half-inch advantage in reach. That’s important because the key to Porter’s game is advancing and if he is facing a longer foe, he will have a difficult time. I’m not saying Ugas is easy prey here because the Cuban has a laser jab that can keep Porter thinking twice.
Ugas is a very good boxer who also has a high fight IQ. But I’m not sure how he can cope with the pressure that Porter is going to bring. Ugas does have punching power but remember that Porter has stood toe to toe with the likes of Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Andre Berto and Kell Brook among others. That man has a very durable chin and just keeps going forward. I think Ugas gives a good showing but Porter’s relentless approach will be too much.
I’m picking Shawn Porter to beat Yordenis Ugas by unanimous decision.
Abel Ramos vs Francisco Santana
With Andrzej Fonfara’s decision to withdraw ( and then retire from boxing) from his bout with Edwin Rodriguez, the PBC added an all-action 10-round welterweight showdown between the hard-hitting Abel Ramos and the battle-scarred Francisco Santana to be the co-feature of Porter vs Ugas.
Abel Ramos has a record of 23-3-2 with 18 knockouts. He has quietly put together four consecutive TKO wins since suffering a hard fought majority decision to Jamal James in April 2018. The 27 year old from Casa Grande, Arizona stands at 5-9 with has a reach of 69 inches and fights as an orthodox fighter. He isn’t a standout in any particular aspect of the sport but he is a well-rounded fighter. Ramos owns a decent jab and loves to work the body. He is tough and tenacious but when he fought top quality fighters like James, Regis Prograis and Ivan Baranchyk, he showed lack of athleticism and looked a step behind.
Abel Ramos vs Francisco Santana Odds
Odds from betonline.ag as of 3/04/19
Francisco Santana is coming off the biggest win of his professional boxing career and coming off what was perhaps the biggest upset of 2018 when he defeated former Olympic Gold medalist and world title challenger Felix Diaz. Santana is 25-6-1 with 12 knockouts to his credit. The 32 year old from Santa Barbara, California stands 5-9 with a reach of 72 inches. Prior to his win over Diaz, Santana suffered back to back losses to Mahorny Montes and Jose Benavidez. That resilience makes him dangerous because he thrives when he is the underdog. Santana is a favorite among fans because of his relentless offense inside the ring. He’s a guy who never backs down from any challenge and isn’t afraid to step up and face world caliber opposition.
This should be a bangfest with two hungry and willing fighters who want to make a name for themselves in the ultra talent laden welterweight division. Both are game when it comes to exchanging punches and both have decent punching power as well. I think this fight goes down to experience as Santana has faced better opposition. This should be an exciting fight but the more experienced and more durable fighter should win.
I’m picking Felix Santana to beat Abel Ramos on 3/9/19.
Amir Mansour vs Efe Ajagba
Veteran Amir Mansour test the power of the unbeaten and heavy-handed Efe Ajagba in an 8-round heavyweight bout in the televised opener of the PBC’s featured WBC welterweight title bout between Shawn Porter and Yordenis Ugas on March 9th.
Mansour is one of the oldest fighters in the sport right now. At 46 years of age, Mansour is a battle-tested veteran who has faced the likes of Steve Cunningham, Gerald Washington and Dominic Breazeale. Mansour has a record of 23-3-1-1 with 16 wins by way of knockout. The southpaw from Wilmington, Delaware stands 6-1 and has a reach of 74 inches. Mansour only has one win in his last four bouts and he is just 3-3-2 in his last eight bouts with two losses coming via knockout. In his most recent bout, Mansour was stopped inside three rounds by Filip Hrgovic in Sept. 2018.
Amir Mansour vs Efe Ajabga Odds
Odds from betonline.ag as of 3/04/19
Ajagba gained notoriety when one of his opponents walked out after the opening bell of their bout. If you happened to follow the PBC on TV, you will remember that Curtis Harper walked out on Ajagba even before the first punch was thrown. Harper later said he did it as a protest over fighter pay but some say he was scared when he saw Ajagba in person. Ajagba is 8-0 with seven knockouts and not only is he fearsome because of his punching power but because of his size. The 24-year old Nigerian stands 6-5 and has a massive 88 inch reach. Seven of his fights ended in round one and he has not gone past round five in his professional boxing career.
Ajagba isn’t the best prospect in the heavyweight division. However, he may be one of the most feared. The guy has size, length and otherworldly punching power and from what we’ve seen so far, he hasn’t needed anything else except his power. Mansour is without doubt the better boxer and the more experienced fighter between the two and he too has punching power. But given his age and the fact that he hasn’t been consistent in the last couple of years, I don’t think he can withstand the pressure and power of Ajagba. I think Ajagba is going to get another quick stoppage here. Mansour isn’t the most mobile of opponents so I think he will be an easy target.
Prediction: Erislandy Lara by decision