Porter Outworks, Outboxes Ugas to Split Decision Win

By Caryn A. Tate on March 9, 2019
Porter Outworks, Outboxes Ugas to Split Decision Win
It was a clear win for "Showtime" Shawn Porter due to the number of punches he landed.

WBC welterweight world champion Shawn Porter retained his title tonight against mandatory contender Yordenis Ugas…

WBC welterweight champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter (30-2-1, 17 KOs) successfully defended his title tonight at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California against mandatory contender Yordenis Ugas (23-4, 11 KOs). The event was televised live on FOX.

As discussed in my breakdown of this bout, the champion Porter has always displayed superb footwork, and that was on display in a big way tonight against Ugas. In fact, one could say it’s the number one reason the bout went the way it did.

In the early rounds, it was a high action tactical match. Ugas, who likes to keep his feet planted, did that for 12 rounds tonight. It was Porter, best known for his inside work and buzzsaw style, who utilized smart mobility and continuously turned Ugas. Porter simply didn’t allow Ugas to do what he wanted to do most, which was set his feet and counter Porter’s fast flurries. Now and then Ugas would have success with that strategy, but it wasn’t enough to win the rounds. Porter was still landing more clean punches, pure and simple, which is the number one scoring criterion for boxing judges.

In round two Porter landed a great punch to the body on Ugas that clearly hurt the challenger. In the third, another body shot from Porter had Ugas double over a bit, and later in the round, he dropped his hands and did a little showboating in an attempt, I suspect, to divert attention from the fact that he was actually protecting his body.

In the fourth, Ugas picked up his output just a bit while Porter missed a few more of his shots than before. It was the first round I scored for Ugas on my card.

As the bout continued, Porter’s championship experience, athleticism, and elite level timing and ring IQ began to widen the gap between himself and Ugas. Ugas was able to make Porter miss more than many other fighters have been able to, but because of the champion’s top shelf stamina, he was still able to outland Ugas in most of the rounds due to his volume punching and activity.

Despite Ugas’ Cuban schooling, it was Porter who displayed the better and more effective footwork and boxing ability from the outside. It defied logic—on paper, since Ugas has quite a height and reach advantage, it should have required Porter to get inside and do his work there. But the key was the feet. Since Porter’s feet are better and faster, he was able to continue moving and darting in and out when he chose to punch and get back out of the way, with Ugas continually planting his feet and looking for big punches.

Porter was cut from an accidental headbutt in round 10. After the round ended, his father and head trainer Kenny Porter could be heard saying something that sounded like, “If you don’t start doing what I’m saying, I’m gonna wait for the bell to ring and stop it.” Since Porter was fighting so well and hadn’t been hurt in the fight, it was a curious thing to say and made one wonder if Porter was carrying an injury we weren’t aware of.

Porter appeared to lose some steam in the last two rounds, but he was still able to outland Ugas by a small margin.

The official scorecards were 116-112 for Porter, 117-111 for Ugas, and 115-113 for Porter. Judge Zachary Young turned in the disgraceful 117-111 card for Ugas, which is simply mind-boggling.

On my card, it was a clear win for Porter due to the number of punches landed. Add to that the fact that Porter was doing a lot more of what he wanted, that he was frustrating Ugas throughout the bout, and it was quite clear. The rounds were competitive, which is not the same thing as close.

Ugas is a terrific fighter and had his moments of success, and his precision punching—which may be his best asset in the ring, aside from his intelligence—enabled him to land enough clean punches on Porter to keep him honest. But he simply got outworked and outlanded in the majority of rounds by the more versatile Porter.

After the bout, Porter said, “We wanted to outbox him and eventually turn it on and press him, but my dad didn’t see a need to do that tonight. No one’s ever seen me fight like that before for 12 rounds, and I think that may have even thrown the judges off. But whatever the case may be, I’m still the WBC champion.

“I’m a little frustrated that I wasn’t able to get to the body as much as I wanted to, but as the rounds go you do what’s working—and that was the footwork and boxing from the outside. We fought very consistent and we won the majority of the rounds.”

Hopefully, after displaying the kind of boxing ability he has in his last two bouts, Porter will start getting more of the broadly acknowledged recognition he deserves as an elite fighter with the ability to utilize different styles.

Welterweights Abel Ramos (23-3-2, 18 KOs) and Francisco Santana (25-6-1, 12 KOs) competed in a competitive, evenly matched, and fun 10-round battle earlier on the card. Ramos utilized good movement and volume, but Santana’s reach advantage was in play as he occasionally caught Ramos clean.

In round two, Santana dropped Ramos with a picture-perfect left hook upstairs that Ramos didn’t see. The latter was rattled but not terribly hurt, and made the count.

The rounds continued to be closely contested with an interesting contrast of styles. As the bout progressed, Santana seemed to be feeling the effects of Ramos’ punches more than the other way around, and Ramos’ volume was making the difference. In the late rounds, Santana wasn’t taking punches well and appeared to visibly hurt him. While the fight could have been stopped in the last few rounds, it was allowed to go the distance, with Ramos winning a well-deserved unanimous decision.

In the first bout of the broadcast, heavyweights Efe Ajagba (9-0, 8 KOs), who is 24, faced 46-year-old Amir Mansour (23-4-1, 16 KOs) in an 8-rounder. Mansour is a talented fighter who has overcome the odds in the past to put forth impressive performances against boxers who have been in the sport a lot longer than he has. But now in his late 40s, Mansour’s legs looked like an old fighter’s. Ajagba, who had a large height and reach advantage over Mansour, was able to land nearly at will, and the fight was stopped by the referee between rounds two and three.

Check out more of Caryn’s work at http://www.CarynATate.com and follow her on Twitter@carynatate

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  1. Mike from Brooklyn 05:23pm, 03/11/2019

    Ajagba looks to me like a fighter who could be real good in 1.5 to 2 years. He clearly dominated, and of course we all know about the age difference.  But I liked Ajagba’s concentration, his focus on his opponent.  Ajagba is big and strong.  Seems to me his right hand could be improved upon, he seemed to push punch rather than just punch. I’d bet with the right trainer we will be talking about him in a couple of years.

    Mike from Brooklyn

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