Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. said he was focused on scoring a knockout against Yordenis Ugas during a public media workout on Wednesday as Spence vs. Ugas fight week events officially kicked off with an outdoor session for fighters competing this Saturday, April 16 live on SHOWTIME PPV from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The event is headlined by WBC and IBF World Champion Spence Jr. taking on WBA World Champion Ugas squaring off in a welterweight title unification clash.
“Besides the Kell Brook fight, this is definitely the meanest I’ve been going into a fight,” Spence said on Wednesday. “I’m just ready to go.”
Ugas, who worked out before Spence, said that his reach, height and his “will and my heart” are going to be the keys to pulling off an upset.
Also entering the ring for the media workout were fighters competing on the SHOWTIME PPV undercard featuring exciting lightweight contender Isaac Cruz battling former champion Yuriorkis Gamboa in the co-main event, rising unbeaten José Valenzuela taking on former champion Francisco Vargas in a lightweight bout and all-action welterweights Cody Crowley and Josesito López dueling in the telecast opener at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Fighters entering the ring for SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® action prior to the pay-per-view also previewed their respective showdowns during an undercard press conference on Wednesday. Fights live on SHOWTIME and streaming on the SHOWTIME SPORTS® YouTube Channel begin at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT and feature WBA Welterweight Champion Radzhab Butaev facing unbeaten top contender Eimantas Stanionis in the main event, and unbeaten rising star Brandun Lee taking on Zachary Ochoa in a super lightweight bout.
Here is what Spence and Ugas had to say Wednesday from Texas Live! in Arlington:
ERROL SPENCE JR.
Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions
“It means everything to get a response like this in Dallas. It’s getting me pumped up. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to fight. I’m ready to put on a great performance in front of my hometown crowd.
“It’s eat or get ate. That’s all it is on Saturday night. Eat or get ate.
“Of course I’m going to win. But I’m going for the knockout.
“There’s nothing to elaborate on when I said I’m going for the knockout. It’s what I said. So if I get it, I get it. If I don’t, I don’t. I know one hundred percent I’m getting the victory, but I definitely want to knock him out.
“It’s a blessing and a dream come true to get the support of your hometown. People are coming out here to support me with their hard-earned money during a difficult time. It’s a school night and people came out to support me and I really appreciate it.
“I’m one hundred percent ready. I’ve been training hard. I know the task at hand. Training camp has been going great. I know what I’m capable of. You can expect and you’re going to see fireworks. It’s going to be a great show and a great performance.
“This is going to be a great event. I’m excited to be fighting at home in front of family and longtime friends. I think people are going to come out and support and it’s going to be a great night of boxing.
“I’m going to fight Ugas like I’ve been fighting everybody else. He’s a very good fighter. He trains hard. He comes from a Cuban background and he’s very dedicated. But I feel like I’m one hundred percent dedicated and in prior fights, I haven’t been as focused as I am right now.”
Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions
“I’m excited and ready to fight in front of a great fan base on Saturday night here in Dallas. Spence is a respectful fighter and we have nothing against each other outside of the ring, I’m just ready for action.
“I’m a competitor, I’m a warrior and I came to fight 12 rounds strong. That’s the most important thing of all. That alone should make Spence uneasy.
“I know I’m the underdog. I came here to win. I will fight whenever, wherever, in anybody’s backyard.
“Spence can say whatever he wants. I’ll fight the way I always do, exchanging blows and coming forward.
“I’ve always been an underdog – six years ago and now, I’m used to it. Spence is the rightful favorite as a unified champion in his home city, but I came here to pull off the upset.
“I want all of Cuba to know that I fight for them with all my heart and soul, and I will do just that on Saturday night.”
WBA Welterweight World Champion Yordenis Ugas had a virtual press conference Monday as the fighters discussed their journeys to boxing glory and previewed Ugas’ upcoming welterweight championship unification clash against WBC and IBF champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. taking place Saturday, April 16 live on SHOWTIME PPV from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.
Just the 12th unification fight in the rich history of the welterweight division, Spence vs. Ugas will join other classic unification matchups at the weight class such as “Sugar” Ray Leonard vs. Thomas Hearns I and Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao. Ugas will look to join Trinidad on the list of unified welterweight champions, as Trinidad unified 147-pound belts in a 1999 victory over Oscar De La Hoya.
Here is what the Ugas had to say Monday:
“Ismael Salas is one of the best trainers in the world. When I was out of the sport for over two years, I went to the gym with him and he built me back up to where I am now. He’s been a great influence in my boxing career and he’s helped me reach the heights I’ve been able to achieve.
“I love my country, but I am also always asking for a free Cuba, because I want a better future for the country that I represent and love with all of my heart.
“I did my job against Manny Pacquiao. I took the fight on 11 days’ notice. Whatever Spence said about what he would have done against Pacquao, I’m not concerned. I’m only focused on the challenge that I have against Spence.
“I had to leave Cuba on a speedboat, never knowing if I’d see my family again. I didn’t see them for almost a decade. I had to overcome everything alone. Not only professionally, but personally I had a lot to overcome.
“I’m a competitor, I would have put my best foot forward in any decade. I would have loved to fight Trinidad and the other fighters of his era. I could have won, I could have lost, but I would have loved to face those challenges.”
Photo: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champion
WBC and IBF world champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. and WBA world champion Yordenis Ugas faced off for the first time Wednesday at a press conference to discuss their welterweight title unification clash that headlines a SHOWTIME PPV on Saturday, April 16 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
Spence vs. Ugas will be just the 12th unification fight in the rich history of the welterweight division and will see Spence fighting in front of his hometown crowd looking to add a third welterweight title and boost his standing as the world’s top welterweight. Fresh off of an upset victory over legendary eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, Ugas will seek another upset victory as he hopes to continue his remarkable run through the division that has seen him win 12 of his last 13 fights since 2016.
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Wednesday from AT&T Stadium:
ERROL SPENCE JR.
“I can guarantee fireworks on April 16. Ugas is going to give it his all, just like I will. I’m going to put on another great performance in front of my hometown crowd. It’s ‘Man Down’ and it’s ‘Strap Season’. I’m the guy everyone is talking about. The motivation I get from my family and friends allows me to push through everything I’ve gone through.
“I want to thank Jerry Jones and the Cowboys for bringing me back and realizing my skills and my potential. We’re going to sell this stadium out and make this a great night. I’m going to put on a great show in front of my fans, my family and the whole Cowboys organization.
“I also have to thank Ugas for agreeing to take this fight with me. He’s a tough competitor who comes to fight. I thought he beat Shawn Porter in 2019 and then he beat Pacquiao with an arm injury. He’s a great warrior, but I believe that it’s my time to show the world that I’m here to win another belt.
“At the end of the day, I want to be the undisputed welterweight champion of the world. This is another step toward that goal. I’ve been the shot caller. I’m the big fish at 147.”
“My eye has been good. Sparring has been great and I’ve been looking good. I’ve taken some hits and my eye feels great. I haven’t been in the ring in a year and a half, but I’ve been focused and in the gym training every day.
“I feel very sharp right now. My last couple of fights I was really only able to train for about two months. But I’ve been in the gym for the last six months getting ready for this.
“I started my career on SHOWTIME. I had my pro debut and won my first world title on SHOWTIME. This is a reunion of sorts and I’m excited to be back.
“This is going to be a great fight. Ugas always comes to compete. With all respect to Pacquiao, I’m a way different fighter than Pacquiao and at this point I’m a better fighter. Ugas is a real warrior, but I’m hungry too. I’m not letting this opportunity pass by me.
“I’ve been feeling strong. My nutritionist that I added for this camp has been the missing ingredient. I was struggling to make weight and I think that’s the reason that I haven’t gotten a stoppage in my last few fights. This is the first camp in a while that I haven’t put the sauna suit on. It’s been a breath of fresh air. I’m really having fun in this training camp.
“It feels good to be back. It’s a blessing to be in this position. Most people take life for granted until they’re given a second chance, and I’ve been given a second chance in life and a third chance in boxing.”
“I’m so excited for this fight. I have nothing but respect for Errol Spence Jr., for his team and his trainer. What you are going to see on April 16 is two of the three best welterweights in the world face-to-face and ready to give a great show for the fans. This is not just going to be a fight between two of the best welterweights in the world, but a fight between two of the best trainers in the world too. They are going to go head-to-head and show their prowess as well.
“I’ve fought since I was six-years-old. I have overcome any and all challenges. I was ready for Pacquiao and I’m going to be ready for Spence. Like I said before, I’m so excited for this fight to be able to show people what I’m worth. I can promise you that I’m going to be ready on April 16 to show what I’m worth.
“I’m a warrior. I’m someone who is committed to his family, to his community, to his team. I’m going to give the fans more than 100 percent of what I can give and I can promise you it’s going to be something you don’t want to miss.
“I not only accepted this fight, I pushed for this fight. Because I want to fight the best. Here we are, two of the best welterweights in the world. I want the biggest challenges. I’m here and I’m ready to prove that everything I’ve done so far wasn’t a fluke at all.
“You know how long I’ve been calling for this fight and how long I’ve wanted this fight? Four years. I have wanted this for so long. Spence is one of the best in the world and I’m so glad that I get to face him like I’ve wanted for the past four years.
“Whoever wins this fight is going to be the king of this division and the one that calls the shots from now on.
“I’ve been waiting for the best Spence to reappear for two years now. I was well aware that he had to overcome a terrible accident. After that, the surgery on his eye was nothing. I knew he could overcome that.
“It’s been a long, hard road. I had to go through a lot to get to where I am today. The Pacquiao fight helped me get to where I am today but make no mistake, I made it here because of my hard work, my resilience and my skills. I’m ready to prove that once again at the AT&T Stadium.”
Photos: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME
WBA Welterweight Champion Jamal “Shango” James will look to move one step closer to the very top of the welterweight division when he takes on unbeaten contender Radzhab Butaev in a matchup that headlines action live on SHOWTIME Saturday, October 30 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
“I’m looking to make a big statement in this fight,” said James. “This will be my first title defense and my first time fighting on SHOWTIME and in Las Vegas. My whole mindset is to come out and show out, so that everyone knows I’m a major player in this division. I have to prove to everyone why I deserve the biggest fights.”
James continued his ascent up the 147-pound rankings in his last fight in August 2020, when he out-boxed Thomas Dulorme to capture his title. With the title win, James was set to take on his mandatory challenger in Butaev, allowing James ample time knowing who his next foe would be.
“We’ve known that Butaev is the opponent for a while, so we’ve been training for a long time and I’ve been in great shape all camp,” said James. “We’re just working on our different tools and perfecting them for the fight ahead. We know that everyone is coming for us since I have the title now, so I’m just doing whatever I have to do so that I’m ready on October 30.”
The unbeaten Butaev was an amateur standout before turning pro in 2016 and quickly rising up the welterweight rankings. Trained by Joel Diaz, Butaev most recently knocked out Terry Chatwood in December 2020 to officially set up his showdown with James. While James anticipates his opponent trying to negate the height advantage he brings to the ring, he’s confident in his boxing ability making the difference on fight night.
“Like any other fighter, Butaev has two arms, two legs and a head,” said James. “All of these guys are coming with their A-games. He has strengths and weaknesses just like anyone else. I know he’ll come in there strong and try to test me. He’ll probably try to get inside on me. It’s my job to out-box him and beat him.”
The Minneapolis-native has developed a strong following in his hometown, filling up The Armory in downtown Minneapolis four times between 2018 and 2019, a run that included exciting victories over contenders Abel Ramos and Antonio DeMarco. Training out of the Circle of Discipline gym, James has led the charge in a Minneapolis boxing renaissance, which continues to motivate him even as he hits the road and prepares to fight in Las Vegas for the first time.
“Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota in general really has my back,” said James. “They give me a ton of motivation. And the Circle of Discipline is like my extended family. The people here all push me and keep me on task. That’s what makes me bite down a little bit harder in training, because I know all the people that I have behind me and supporting me.”
James is riding a seven-fight winning streak since his lone pro defeat, a decision loss to WBA World Champion Yordenis Ugas in August 2016. He hopes that a victory on October 30 will lead him directly into a rematch against Ugas, or a showdown against one of the other big-name welterweight stars.
“I’d like the rematch with Ugas coming off his big win against Pacquiao,” said James. “He’s fought the top guys and I’ve fought him before, but it was under less-than-ideal circumstances. I’d like to see what a fight between us would look like after both of us have had a full camp. I haven’t been able to get anyone like Errol Spence Jr., Danny Garcia or Shawn Porter yet, and those are the biggest fights in the division. I’d love to face one of those guys that are already considered the best at welterweight so that I can really prove myself.”
On Saturday night, eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao lost by unanimous decision to WBA 147-pound champion Yordenis Ugas at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The 42-year-old Pacquiao was supposed to fight unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., but he had to withdraw due to an eye injury.
Throughout the fight on Saturday night, Pacquiao had a hard time getting out of the way of Ugas’ jab and right hand.
While some were stunned by the result, the great Roy Jones Jr. was not.
“It’s what I expected,” Jones said about Ugas’ win. “Pacquiao is not as young as he used to be. If you don’t have legs, you are not going to beat Ugas. Ugas is a very good fighter, a very smart fighter, a very experienced amateur fighter, and a very experienced pro fighter.
“So, I knew going in, in my opinion, Ugas was going to be a harder fighter than Spence because Spence was going to come right at him… A guy that could box him and use his jab like Ugas did would create more of a problem, and that’s what happened.”
Jones does not think Pacquiao is done, but he believes his team should be smarter with the matchmaking going forward.
Watch below as Jones talks Pacquiao, Spence’s injured eye, and his induction into the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame.
Jones was on hand in Atlantic City for Sunday’s fifth annual ACBHOF induction ceremony at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Here is a list of the other individuals inducted into ACBHOF on Sunday:
Riddick Bowe, Pernell Whitaker, Al Cole, Ernest Bing, Tony Thornton, Sr., Calvin Grove, Percy Richardson, Tommy Parks, Earl Morton, Steve Weisfeld, Ron Katz, Murad Muhammad, Marc Abrams, Al Bernstein, and Ms. Laoma Byrd. Felix Trinidad, Kelly Pavlik, Simon Brown, Ivan Robinson, Aaron Snowell, Joey Eye, Frank Cappuccino, Ed Keenan, and Nino Delbuno.
For more information about the ACBHOF, go to www.acbhof.com.
Photo: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions