Ruben Villa Scores Knockout
Against Garcia In Comeback Fight
The Big Fish successfully navigated treacherous waters on
Saturday night to pick up a third welterweight title. IBF
and WBC welterweight champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr.
showed his greatness against WBA champion Yordenis Ugás,
battling back from early adversity to stop Ugás in the tenth
round on SHOWTIME PPV live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington,
Texas headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event before an
announced crowd of 39,946. Click HERE to watch the Spence
The remaining welterweight title not in Spence’s possession
belongs to WBO titleholder Terence Crawford, who was an
interested observer on Saturday, Tweeting his reaction to
the Spence victory. Spence made clear his preference for his
“Everybody knows who I want next,” Spence said. “I want
Terence Crawford. That’s the fight that I want. That’s the
fight everybody else wants. Like I said, I’m going to get
these straps then go over there and take his too. Terence
I’m coming for that belt!”
Spence had to overcome some harsh conditions courtesy of
Ugás to get to this point. After Ugás hurt Spence in the
sixth, knocking his mouthpiece out with an uppercut, Spence
of DeSoto, Texas, stormed back to hurt Ugás repeatedly to
the body and eye. By the tenth round, Ugás’ right eye was
completely shut when referee Laurence Cole stopped the
contest for the second time to allow the ringside physician
to inspect the damage.
Unlike earlier, the doctor advised Cole to stop the bout at
1:44 of the tenth round, giving Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) a
resounding victory, a third welterweight belt, and perhaps
the greatest triumph of his still accumulating career
following a 17-month layoff after corrective surgery to his
left eye forced him to pull out of a mega-fight with Manny
Pacquiao. Ugás stepped in for Spence on late notice, beating
and retiring Pacquiao last summer, setting the stage for
Saturday’s welterweight unification contest, just the 12th
in the division’s history.
“I believe that you’re going to go through trials and
tribulations,” Spence said. “I went through a lot of trials.
I got tested and I passed the tests due to my upbringing. My
mother and my father always telling me not to quit and not
to give up and just believing in myself and my family. I
wanted to prove them wrong, and I knew that I could come
back. Why would I quit now?”
Ugás’ size and skill appeared to confound Spence early on.
The Cuban Olympic bronze medalist hurt Spence with a right
uppercut and a right hand that had Spence falling back into
the ropes and sent his mouthpiece flying in the sixth. The
referee interrupted the action with 1:32 left in the frame
to allow trainer Derrick James to replace the mouthpiece.
Following the break, Spence returned fire, banging to Ugás’
body to end the frame on a high note.
The referee again interrupted the action with 53 seconds
left in the eighth to have the doctor examine Ugás’ right
eye, which was nearly shut, the result of Spence timing Ugas
with hard right hands. Spence jumped on him moments later,
nailing Ugás (27-5, 12 KOs) to the body, sensing the end may
Ugás appeared to hurt Spence to the body with a right hand
in the ninth and again with a left to the body, for which he
was warned by the referee for veering a little low.
Spence came back and hurt Ugás with a right to the body in
the tenth that had him retreating, covering up, clearly in
pain. The referee again had the doctor check on Ugas’ right
eye, this time deciding he had sustained enough punishment.
Ugas screamed in dismay, clearly wanting to continue, while
Spence shouted to the rafters in pure joy and stomped his
feet on the canvas.
“I feel sad,” Ugás said. “I trained really hard for this
fight. All my respect to Errol Spence. He’s a great
champion. I’m just sad about what happened tonight. The
referee stopped the fight, but I wanted to keep going to the
end. I definitely had a chance to win the fight in the sixth
round, but he recuperated well. Congratulations to him and
Lightweight contender Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz proved his
impressive performance against three-division champion
Gervonta Davis last December wasn’t a fluke. In a dominant,
knockdown-filled performance, Cruz dropped the proud former
unified featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa four times
en route to a dominant fifth-round stoppage of Gamboa in the
co-main event. Click HERE to watch the stoppage.
A monster left-right hand combination from Cruz sent Gamboa
careening into the ropes, causing the referee to wave the
bout off at 1:32 of the round of the scheduled 10-round
lightweight bout. Cruz threw 36 power punches per round
landing an average of 11 per round.
“I’m here to defeat and dethrone anyone that gets in my way
while putting on a show for the fans,” Cruz said. “I wanted
to send a clear message to the division that I’m here to be
a world champion no matter what. Mexico, just wait until we
arrive. We have something special planned for you when we
come back to celebrate.”
Cruz (23-2-1, 16 knockouts) hurt Gamboa with a big left hook
early in the first round. Gamboa stumbled back against the
ropes, his balance off, legs wobbly and held on to survive
the remainder of the round.
Cruz dropped Gamboa (30-5, 18 knockouts) with a right-left
combo with seconds left in the second round that buckled
Gamboa’s legs and caused him to touch the canvas.
Cruz jumped him to start the third, knocking him down again
seconds into the frame with a left hook. But again, Gamboa
danced his way out of trouble again to make it to the
fourth. In the fourth, Cruz dropped Gamboa again with a left
hand toward the end of the round.
José Valenzuela (12-0, 8 knockouts) made a startling
statement about his punching power and future in the
lightweight division in his bout with former champion
Francisco Vargas. Valenzuela landed a looping left hand that
sent Vargas crashing to the canvas, prompting the referee to
immediately stop the scheduled 10-round lightweight bout at
1:25 of the first round in Saturday’s second pay-per-view
bout. Click HERE for the knockout.
A stablemate of unbeaten two-time world champion David
Benavidez, Valenzuela, 22, stepped back to avoid the
37-year-old Vargas’ jab and launched forward with a windup
left that landed clean. Vargas (27-4-2, 19 KOs), who won a
130-pound title in 2015, dropped his second straight while
Valenzuela has now stopped seven of his last eight
“I worked hard for this and stayed calm, and I stayed
patient and went for it when I saw the opening,” said
Valenzuela, who referenced the support of Benavidez,
standing in the ring next to him. “Working alongside this
guy right here, David Benavidez, he has shown me a lot of
things in and out. I look to see what he does and what he
goes through. He tells me to be patient and that’s what I
did. I was expecting (Vargas) to get up but when I took a
look back, I knew. It was a good knockout.”
Canada’s Cody Crowley remained undefeated with a tough,
punishing unanimous decision victory against veteran
contender Josesito López in a 10-round contest of all-action
welterweights that kicked off the PPV telecast. The scores
were 98-91, 98-91, 99-90 for Crowley.
Crowley (21-0, 9 KOs) sent Lopez to the canvas with a
cuffing right hand that seemed to graze the back of Lopez’s
head and was deemed a knockdown by the referee. Though Lopez
(38-9, 21 KOs) wasn’t hurt in that sequence, he was wobbled
throughout by heavy shots, his left eye nearly shut, and his
legs unsteady in the later rounds.
Still, as he has done against Canelo Alvarez, Marcos
Maidana, Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz, the “Riverside Rocky”
soldiered on, refusing to let his corner stop the fight even
though he was offering little resistance. Crowley, who,
according to CompuBox landed 41% of his power punches and 53
of 440 jabs, was back in action following a sterling
SHOWTIME debut in December 2021 when he topped previously
unbeaten Kudratillo Abdukakhorov by unanimous decision.
“I want to bring a world title back to Canada,” Crowley
said. “Canada supports so much. You see what happens when
the Raptors win a championship. The Toronto Maple Leafs
hardly make it to the playoffs, and they sell out every
single game. Canada just needs a horse to ride behind and
I’m that horse. I guarantee we’ll sell out every arena when
you bring Cody Crowley.”