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Shawn Porter defeats Yordenis Ugas to retain WBC welterweight championship

CARSON – Shawn Porter literally had to cut his hair to make his WBC world welterweight title defense official against Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas.
Saturday night at Dignity Health Sports Park, Porter, 31, made the sacrifice worthwhile, retaining the title he won last September by split decision in a contest that judges at ringside saw wildly different.
Steve Morrow (116-112) and Max DeLuca (115-113) had it for Porter, while Zachary Young scored it decisively for Ugas, 117-111.
DeLuca’s decision to give Porter the final round despite Morrow and Young seeing it for Ugas, meant the bout ended in a split decision rather than a split draw.
Returning to the open-air arena for the first time since losing the IBF world welterweight title to Kell Brook by majority decision in the summer of 2014, Porter (30-2-1, 17 KO) walked to the ring shielded by a pair of blankets from temperatures in the low-50s.
To help prepare for Ugas, Porter, a native of Akron, Ohio, worked with trainer Barry Hunter in Washington D.C, as well as his father Kenny Porter.
Porter expected his power to be the deciding factor, but the champion boxed the taller Ugas throughout most of the bout.
“I’m a little frustrated that I wasn’t able to get to the body as much as I wanted or as much as we had planned,” Porter said. “As the clock ticks, you have to do what’s working.
“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.”
Outside of a wild exchange in the fifth when both fighters unleashed a torrent of strikes in the center of the ring, the bout was tight, with few moments of pure fighting.
Each man landed 79 power shots. Over 12 rounds Porter connected 144 times to Ugas’ 128.
Porter fell to the canvas in the final round following an Ugas attack, however referee Jack Reiss ruled it a slip.
“The crowd was expecting a big brawl, but that’s not the way this fight needed to go tonight,” Porter said. “That style that we used left the fight close. We got the win, we’re still champion and we’re looking forward to what is next.”
Fighting out of Miami, Fla., the Cuban-born Ugas (23-4, 11 KO) said prior to the bout that despite being a 2-1 underdog he believed he was “100 percent better technically” than the man he sparred with a couple years ago.
Ugas, 32, didn’t appear wrong despite what two of the three judges said, and the sparse crowd reacted to the decision with disdain.
“There’s no doubt about it, I was robbed tonight,” Ugas said. “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.”
The victory keeps Porter’s hopes intact of meeting Keith Thurman for a second time after losing a unanimous decision two years ago in Brooklyn. Porter also said he would like to fight Errol Spence Jr., who defends his IBF welterweight title next weekend on Showtime against Mikey Garcia. Or perhaps a showcase against Manny Pacquiao.
Also on the card, Abel Ramos, of Casa Grande, Ariz., handled Santa Barbara-based welterweight Francisco Santana, taking a unanimous decision after 10 rounds.
Though Santana (25-7-1, 12 KO) put Ramos (24-3-2, 18 KO) on the canvas with a left hook in the dying seconds of Round 2, the eventual winner controlled enough action for judges at ringside to score the contest in his favor: 95-94, 97-92 and 98-92.
The main card opened with 24-year-old Nigerian heavyweight Efe Ajagba (9-0) forcing referee Thomas Taylor to halt the contest as 46-year-old southpaw Amir Mansour (23-4) sat on his stool prior to the start of Round 3.

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