Errol Spence Jr and Yordenis Ugas may be heading for a three-belt unification fight at 147 pounds, following Ugas being promoted to WBA “super world champion” with Manny Pacquiao moved to “champion in recess.”
The WBA’s move had a pretty clear destination, and this is it. Spence (27-0, 21 KO) has the WBC and IBF belts, and now Ugas (26-4, 12 KO) is the recognized WBA titleholder, meaning that PBC can rather easily put together this as a unification, almost surely on FOX pay-per-view.
Both fighters are already talking it up on Twitter:
all you needed was something I want #strapseason— Errol Spence (@ErrolSpenceJr) January 29, 2021
I have it. We are going to do it for three online championships. Let's give the fans a great fight. I'm ready— Yordenis Ugas (@YordenisUgas) January 29, 2021
The fight everyone actually wants from the 31-year-old Spence is against WBO titlist Terence Crawford, but it’s pretty clearly not happening still. Top Rank promoter Bob Arum recently said that it’s specifically Spence who has proven an obstacle, not Al Haymon or PBC as a company.
And even if Spence were to beat the 34-year-old Ugas, which would be the expectation, he would still have more in-house options at PBC. A rematch with Shawn Porter would be there, most notably, and he could also reverse his feelings on fighting Keith Thurman. He could also simply move up in weight, as PBC have a lot of fighters at 154 pounds, too, and there is the potential for a Canelo Alvarez fight, as both sides have expressed interest. Weight would be the issue there, as Canelo seems unlikely to ever fight at 160 again, and asking Spence to go over 160 would be pretty tough.
As for where this leaves Crawford in the short-term, he remains low on options. If PBC are willing to work with Top Rank on Spence-Crawford, then maybe Crawford and Top Rank could pull another deal for a PBC fighter. But Porter is WBC mandatory, and that fight went nowhere the last time it was talked up as possible. Thurman has expressed no desire to work with Arum. And with Pacquiao seemingly focused on on what might be a cold cash play exhibition fight with Ryan Garcia, he might be out unless Top Rank can make him a really, really big offer. Even Vergil Ortiz Jr is now tied up for late March. We could be seeing Crawford-Kavaliauskas 2 at this rate, and it might genuinely be the best fight “Bud” can get.