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Yordenis Ugas To Face Mario Barrios On Canelo-Charlo Undercard For Interim Belt

Yordenis Ugas To Face Mario Barrios On Canelo-Charlo Undercard featured image
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 21: Yordenis Ugas walks though the ring after defeating Manny Pacquiao in a WBA welterweight title fight at T-Mobile Arena on August 21, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ugas retained his title by unanimous decision. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

Former WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas is scheduled to face former WBA super lightweight champion Mario Barrios on September 30, as part of the undercard for the main event featuring Canelo Alvarez and Jermell Charlo. Although both fighters are currently without titles, the victor will become the WBC mandatory contender, potentially leading to a match against the reigning undisputed welterweight champion Terence Crawford.

However, the WBC’s decision-making process has introduced confusion into the welterweight division. Over the past year, the WBC has organized several welterweight eliminators, leading to uncertainty regarding the actual mandatory challenger. Last February, Keith Thurman (30-1, 22 KO’s) emerged as the apparent winner of a “semi-final eliminator” against Mario Barrios (27-2, 22 KO’s). Yet, Thurman was swiftly mandated to fight then-WBC title holder Errol Spence Jr. (28-1, 22 KO’s) during the WBC’s annual convention in November of the same year, and confirmed to be the WBC welterweight mandatory not long after.

Further confusion arose when Cody Crowley (22-0, 9 KO’s) won an eliminator (not confirmed but alluded to be a semi-final eliminator) against Abel Ramos (27-6-2, 21 KO’s) in March of this year. However, the WBC declared yet another eliminator the same month, this time between Yordenis Ugas (27-5, 12 KO’s) and Mario Barrios, with the winner set to claim the WBC interim welterweight title.

The Ugas vs. Barrios match is now scheduled for September 30 on the undercard of the CaneloCharlo event, and the winner is poised to become the WBC interim welterweight champion.

While becoming the WBC interim champion is the straightforward path to attaining the mandatory challenger position, there are reservations about whether Ugas and Barrios truly deserve it. Cody Crowley, an undefeated contender, seems more deserving due to his activity and recent accomplishments in the ring.

Comparatively, Yordenis Ugas hasn’t fought since April of the previous year, and Mario Barrios has experienced two losses in his last three matches. Barrios’ inactivity has been noticeable, as he hadn’t fought from his February 2022 defeat to Keith Thurman until he returned in February of the following year to defeat Jovanie Santiago (14-3-1, 10 KO’s). While this was a commendable win for Barrios, it doesn’t match up to Crowley’s victory over highly-rated WBC welterweight contender Abel Ramos.

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – FEBRUARY 05: Mario Barrios (R) and Keith Thurman trade blows during a welterweight bout at Michelob ULTRA Arena on February 05, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Thurman won by unanimous decision. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)

In terms of merit, Cody Crowley’s active presence and recent accomplishments should position him as the top contender and mandatory challenger. However, the WBC’s decisions seem influenced by political factors rather than pure competitiveness, resulting in an unfair situation. Additionally, Keith Thurman’s current #1 WBC welterweight contender status is questionable, given his lack of activity since defeating Mario Barrios in 2022.

The WBC’s inconsistencies and favoritism are detrimental to the welterweight division, causing confusion and stagnation. In an ideal scenario, Cody Crowley would be recognized as the true #1 contender and mandatory challenger, but the current leadership of the WBC appears to prioritize politics over genuine competitiveness. This recurring issue within boxing remains challenging to address and resolve.