It took longer than I expected, overcoming more obstacles than anticipated, but Yordenis Ugás is already world champion. The phrase should sound like glory to those who left everything behind because of an illusion that in their native Cuba was impossible and yet fills it with glory.
Ugás not only defeated Abel Ramos by split decision – unbelievable that one judge saw Abel Ramos win over to claim the World Boxing Association’s welter scepter, but became the first professional king of the 147 pounds for his land, since the great Joseph “Butter”‘ Nápoles succeeded in 1975.
From the first round, Ugás controlled the pace of the action with an educated jab – and many repeated occasions – that easily penetrated the face of Ramos, who was forced to retreat and could not find cracks in the Antillean strategy.
By the end of the third Ramos placed a good blow, but nothing that could change the tide of combat, although both were encouraged to exchange more in the following rounds without the Mexican being able to solve the riddle of the double jab of the eventual champion.
Ugás lowered the intensity in the eleventh round and it was then that Ramos had his best moments looking to repeat his triumph against Brian Perrella, when he prevailed at the last moment, but this time time time he would not reach him and Ugás did not let him press.
It cannot be overlooked, however, the criminal card of 117-111 in favor of Ramos, while the other two judges opted for the Cuban with identical ballots of 115-113.
The history of Ugás is that of a rebirth in every sense of the word. We are talking about a man who has overcome difficulties and circumstances – and more of an injustice like that of theft against Shawn Porter – to be inserted into the elite of the most competitive and profound division of boxing today.
Perhaps the important thing about this victory is not that sash around the waist, but the odds it opens for Ugás, because up to this point his story had not lifted the flight he deserves. A man who rose out of nowhere after two costly defeats in 2014, when his star seemed to be completely eclipsed. How many Cubans didn’t lose faith after a couple of failures, one?
Thanks to the help of his life brother Aroldis Chapman, Ugás spent two seasons rubbing his physical and mental wounds, until he was back involved with the warrior he had once been. The second part of his success is due to Professor Ismael Salas, who received him in his gymnasium and helped him get the best out of himself.
With renewed faith and a driver’s teacher, Ugás returned in 2016 knowing that he would be seen as the perfect victim, the stepping stone to be used by younger boxers, with greater promise and projection. These second parts are often not good.
But the second in Ugás was better than the first. From that moment on, he praised triumph after triumph until the controversial defeat to Porter, regardless of name or time, place or time. Suddenly, he went from victim to predator and eventually to champion.
He has already earned the right to face Errol Spence Jr. by the International Federation and the International Federation him for his supposed little history and name. Then came the controversial defeat to Porter, but now no one can deny him glory and chance.
Yordenis Ugás is world champion. About time.