Since putting Manny Pacquiao into retirement, welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas has spoken out against the World Boxing Association for his treatment.
Ugas beat the eight-weight legend fair and square to retain the WBA 147 title in August, beating the odds to become a top player in the weight class.
The Cuban has since gotten linked to a massive battle with Errol Spence for three versions of the championship. However, Ugas believes he’s being steered away by a new WBA tournament format.
Since the WBA wants to drop many belts, any division with more than one champion must abide by the new measures.
Welterweight, where Ugas rules as a “super” title-holder, has many fighters needing condensing into one through a series of fights.
Therefore, the WBA order a four-person semi-final to crown one sole champion. This outcome means Ugas won’t be able to face Spence yet.
The “regular” champion, Jamal James, is set to battle Radzhab Butaev before the winner then takes on Ugas or Eimantas Stanionis.
Those orders have to be followed through, according to a WBA ruling. But Ugas is displeased about not being able to open talks with Spence.
“It is disrespectful that the WBA [and President Gilberto Mendoza] has a tournament to define its champ when I’m the super champ,” said Ugas.
“I had my first defense with Pacquiao, and I have a victory over the regular champ James. Of the fourteen WBA super champions [currently in circulation], none have a mandatory fight.
“Why me if I want to unify?”
Irked by the decision, Ugas continued: “Which super champ has a mandatory fight imposed?
“Even though he is on his way to a unification of three belts. Every fighter’s dream is to be a champion, then to unify. That is my intention that I think I have won [the right to do].”
Eluding to a possible challenge against the WBA’s order, the 35-year-old concluded: “My team and I will reach the last consequences for our right.
“I am excited to be the first Cuban fighter to fight three championships in one night [against Errol Spence].
“Spence vs. Ugas [is the fight] between two of the world’s best welterweights.”
Beating Manny Pacquiao has elevated the reputation of Ugas high enough to be considered for the massive clash with Spence. There’s even talk of the contest being a Pay Per View affair.
Taking on Stanionis before James or Butaev is a far cry from where Ugas wants to be. It potentially delays the Spence fight for one year and puts the whole plan in jeopardy.
In the next 24 hours, a ruling will happen to decide whether or not Ugas can negate the order to face Spence first.
If this happens, former interim champion Gabriel Maestre could get drafted in for the Stanionis fight in place of Ugas.
The eventual winner of the four-person tournament would then be in line for a three-belt shot at Spence or Ugas in 2023.