CARSON, CALIF. — WBC Welterweight World Champion Shawn Porterretained his title with a close split-decision victory over Yordenis Ugas Saturday night in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
"The crowd was expecting a big brawl, but that's not the way this fight needed to go tonight," said Porter. "The style that we used left the fight close. As the clock ticks, you have to do what's working. Tonight the foot movement was working and it made Ugas have to reset."
"I showed tonight that I belong with the elite fighters at welterweight," said Ugas. "All I can say is that I'm ready to fight any of the top names in the division. I'll be back."
The early rounds were defined by Porter using his jab to try to cut down the distance, while Ugas worked power shots and jabs to the body. Porter had some success on the inside landing on Ugas' chin during flurries, but was unable to hurt the Cuban.
In round five, both men stood in the center of the ring for an extended period of time throwing power punches that had the crowd on their feet. Ugas began to work cleaner on his counterpunching as the fight went on, and Porter focused on movement while trying to snap his jab.
"I was on my toes all night," said Porter. "I was very focused the entire fight and just listening to my corner. We wanted to out box him and eventually turn it on and press him. But my dad did not think that was the smartest way to win the fight. We fought this way for 12 rounds and no one has ever seen that from me before."
Porter's activity clashed with the sharp countering and body punching from Ugas. According to CompuBox, Porter was more active on a per round basis, throwing 42.9 punches per round to 37.4 from Ugas. Ugas held the advantage in body punches landed at 57 to 34, while the two fighters each landed 79 power punches.
In round 10 Porter began to bleed from his right eye due to an accidental head butt, but late in round 11 he landed one of his most significant punches of the fight when he backed Ugas up with a left hook to the head. After 12 rounds, the judges' scorecards reflected that there were numerous close and hard to score rounds as all three judges agreed on only the fourth and ninth rounds, which went to Ugas and Porter respectively.
One judge saw the fight 117-111 for Ugas, which was overruled by scores of 116-112 and 115-113 for Porter. Both fighters believed after the fight that they had done enough to win.
"There's no doubt about it, I was robbed tonight," said Ugas. "After the first round I figured him out and dominated the fight. He had no answer when I was pushing him back. I dominated the fight in my opinion."
"We fought a good smart fight tonight," said Porter. "I was consistent and I thought we won a majority of the rounds. We got the win, we're still champion and we're looking forward to what is next."