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Yordenis Ugas To Buckle Down With Mario Barrios For WBC Interim Title

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Despite having been inactive for almost a year after his loss to Errol Spence Jr. in April of 2022, Yordenis Ugas has skyrocketed past other contenders to be picked to participate against Mario Barrios for the WBC Welterweight interim title. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

The WBC has continued to sow confusion with their president’s latest interview with Dan Rafael’s outlet of Fight Freak Unite where he revealed that Yordenis Ugas would face Mario Barrios for the WBC interim Welterweight title, just shy a couple weeks after their announcement that Cody Crowley and Abel Ramos would face each other in a final eliminator.

With the final eliminator format, the winner of Cody Crowley (21-0, 9 KO’s) vs. Abel Ramos (27-5-2, 21 KO’s) would then need to face another contender to eventually become the mandatory to the WBC (plus WBA and IBF) Welterweight world champion, Errol Spence Jr. (28-0, 22 KO’s). Before the winner of the Crowley vs. Ramos fight – which will be featured this weekend on the Benavidez vs. Plant undercard – gets a whiff at the champion, they will first need to make it past the winner of Yordenis Ugas (27-5, 12 KO’s) vs. Mario Barrios (27-2, 18 KO’s), as was recently confirmed by WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman.

Though no date has yet been set for when Ugas would have to face Barrios in the ring, the decision to grant either of these two fighters a chance seems quite peculiar. Yordenis Ugas is still coming off an orbital bone injury which he suffered in his last match against Errol Spence that ended in a stoppage loss, and is even suspended by the Texas State Athletic Commission following his match with Spence in Dallas. With the Cuban fighter having been out for a nearly a year, the WBC questionably granted an inactive fighter the chance to become a legitimate contender after not having fought once since his April 2022 loss to Spence.

Mario Barrios is coming off a stoppage win over Jovanie Santiago (14-3-1, 10 KO’s) just a month ago in February, but Santiago was only his second fight at Welterweight after he first lost to Keith Thurman (30-1, 22 KO’s) back in early 2022 in his first match in the division. He too, is somewhat of a questionable pick to be chosen to fight for an interim world title given he has had only one win and one loss as a Welterweight, and doesn’t enjoy the distinction of having been a world champion to be afforded such opportunities.

To make matters more confusing, there are at least a double-digit number of boxers who would merit an opportunity to fight for the interim title given their form and standing across multiple governing body ranking boards, yet the WBC has chosen one inactive fighter, and one other fighter who is 1-1 as a Welterweight.

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Mario Barrios currently stands with a record of 1-1 in the Welterweight division. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

It would have made slightly more sense if the roles were switched and Crowley vs. Ramos pertained to an interim title – given they have been active throughout the past year and appear to be in good form. Instead, the WBC has apparently decided to eliminate a whole list of possible contenders to go with the two fighters who arguably would not be considered first-choice challengers for an interim world title.

A good example of worthy challengers fighting each other is reflected in the massively-hyped fight between David Benavidez (26-0, 23 KO’s) and Caleb Plant (22-1, 13 KO’s) that will occur this week. These are two top 5 Super Middleweights who deservedly deserve their opportunity to fight for an interim title given their form and activity.

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Former two-time WBC Super Middleweight world champion, David Benavidez, is now set to defend his interim title against former WBO Super Middleweight, Caleb Plant. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

WBC’s latest confusing decisions is one of many peculiar executive choices that have been made for years. The best and most recent example pertains coincidentally to the same Welterweight division that is currently in topic. Keith Thurman inexplicably became the mandatory challenger to Spence around November of last year, despite not having fought for a year – with his last match occurring in February of 2022 – and having been out of the ring for nearly three years before he fought Barrios.

Afterwards, there were talks of Spence defending his WBC Welterweight title at 154 lbs, which would not make any sense according to any combat rules – as titles need to be defended at the weight class they’re available in, but with the slated fight between Keith Thurman and Errol Spence Jr. still doubtful, the WBC has apparently decided to head into another course in picking the mandatory for the WBC Welterweight title.