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Errol Spence, Jr. vs Yordenis Ugas: Fight preview and prediction for April 16

Jason Leach

On Saturday night at AT&T Stadium, one of the biggest fights of the year will take place as WBC and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence (27-0, 21 KOs) takes on WBA welterweight champion Yordenis Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs).

The winner will walk away with three championship belts and could set themselves up for a unification matchup with WBO champion Terence Crawford down the road.

Spence is the obvious favorite as he’s in the top five of everyone’s pound for pound list. But this will be his first fight since December 2020 when he dominated Danny Garcia on route to a unanimous decision victory. He was scheduled to fight Manny Pacquiao in August of last year but had to withdraw 11 days prior to the fight due to suffering a retinal detachment to his left eye.

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Errol Spence vs Yordenis Ugas this Saturday night

Ugas would step in as a replacement for Spence and earned the most impressive win of his career as he defeated Pacquiao by unanimous decision in what would be the “Pacman’s” boxing swan song.

Despite their strong resumes and recent wins, they both enter the bout with something to prove. Can Spence show that he’s as good as he’s ever been despite his inactivity? Was Ugas’ win over the legendary Pacquiao just a sign of better things to come? Let’s take a look at several keys to victory for each fighter.

Keys for Spence, Jr.

errol spence, yordenis ugas
Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Jab often: Due to his punching power, sometimes Spence’s boxing ability gets overlooked. But he has one of the most effective jabs in boxing. It helps set his left cross and combinations. It will be important for Spence to utilize his jab all night long to set up his offense and keep Ugas off balance.

Land something big early: Coming off the biggest win of his career, Ugas will come into this fight supremely confident. But if Spence lands a big shot early and stuns him, it may have Ugas second guess himself and realize that Spence is a different fighter than what Pacquiao was.

Throw a high volume of punches: One of the reasons Spence is one of the best fighters in the world is that he overwhelms his opponents with his high work rate. In his last fight against Garcia, he threw 707 punches and landed 187. If Spence continues to use his high work rate the judges are likely to score close rounds in his favor.

Keys for Ugas

errol spence, yordenis ugas
Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Let your right hand loose: Against Pacquiao, Ugas’s right hooks and straights were by far his most effective and damaging punches. He needs to do the same against Spence as southpaws are always vulnerable to right hands against orthodox fighters. If he’s going to pull off the upset, he must land his right hands at a high connect percentage.

Increase the output:  Ugas is a natural counter puncher that relies on landing hard counter shots, as opposed to throwing punches in bunches. Against Pacquiao, he landed 151 out of 405 punches compared to Pacquiao who landed 130 out of 815 punches. The strategy of throwing half as many punches against the smaller Pacquiao will not work against Spence. He must increase his work rate on Saturday night, because it could be a huge benefit if Spence shows ring rust.

Work the body: Ugas is a vicious body puncher and he’ll need to cut the distance between him and Spence and attack the body. If he can consistently attack Spence, Jr.’s body it can slow him down in the later rounds.

Prediction: The first half of the fight should be competitive with each fighter having moments. But Spence will start to take control of the second half of the fight and win a unanimous decision.

Spence vs Ugas will be broadcast on Showtime pay per view beginning at 9 PM ET.