Errol Spence Jr. has become a three-belt welterweight champion by defending his WBC and IBF titles in a unification bout in front of a home crowd, when his fight against Yordenis Ugas was stopped in the 10th round because of the WBA champ’s right eye that was almost completely swollen shut.
The fight was scheduled for 12 rounds, but 1:44 minutes into the 10th, referee Laurence Cole sent Ugas to a corner to have his eye checked out by a ringside doctor for the second time.
Unlike two rounds earlier, when the fight was allowed to continue, it was stopped this time despite protests by Ugas.
Spence improved to 28-0 with his 22nd knockout, the first time in his past four fights the 32-year-old southpaw didn’t have to go the distance.
Ugas, the 35-year-old Cuban, dropped to 27-5.
Cole had sent Ugas to the corner with just under a minute left in the eighth round, when the doctor spent an extended time checking the fighter’s peripheral vision before the fight resumed.
Two rounds before that, Ugas delivered a blow sent Spence’s mouthpiece flying onto to the mat.
Before the hometown favourite could gather himself, Ugas delivered a left-right combo to the head that sent Spence stumbling toward the ropes, though he didn’t fall down.
A few seconds later, Cole paused the round, picked up the mouthpiece and sent Spence to his corner to put it back in.
While Ugas started Spence down at the end of the sixth, like he had already done several times, it was the American that dominated the seventh.
Spence was back in the ring for his first bout in more than 16 months, since a 12-round unanimous decision over Danny Garcia in in December 2020. That was also at the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
The question now is will there be a fight with Spence and undefeated WBO champion Terence Crawford to crown an undisputed champion in the 147-pound division.
Spence had said leading up to the fight that was he was aiming for that, and repeated that in the ring afterward.
Crawford (38-0, 29 knockouts) last fought in November, a 10th-round TKO of former champion Shawn Porter when defending the WBO title for the fifth time since claiming it nearly four years ago.