When the WBA named former “super” welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao champion in recess, they elevated former “world” champion Yordenis Ugas to fill the void. Now, they’ve done the same with interim champion Jamal James, promoting him to world champion and ordering him to face #3 contender Radzhab Butaev.
As usual, the pair have 30 days to negotiate before a purse bid gets called.
WBA cretinism aside, this is a really nice matchup between two sub-elite but very capable welterweights. James (27-1, 12 KO) has rattled off seven straight since getting a “levels to this” lesson from Yordenis Ugas in 2016, notably taking a majority decision over Abel Ramos two years later and defeating Thomas Dulorme for the interim title last year.
Butaev (13-0, 10 KO) got his first crack at WBA gold in 2019, dropping a razor-thin decision to fellow unbeaten Alexander Besputin in Monte Carlo. That loss got scrubbed when Besputin tested positive for ligandrol and was subsequently stripped; rather than give Butaev another title shot, however, the sanctioning body ordered Ugas to face Abel Ramos for it and leave the Brooklyn-based Butaev to stay busy against Terry Chatwood on last December’s David Morrell-Mike Gavronski card.
This looks competitive, relevant to the division, and easy to make from a promotional standpoint. Nothing to do now but sink this layup.