Heartbreaking to watch Yordenis Ugas celebrate when he’s not champ – Manny Pacquiao is

Manny Pacquiao Yordenis Ugas

@yordenis_ugas / Stephanie Trapp

Yordenis Ugas is such a likable personality. Since a victory on Sunday, the Cuban has been celebrating becoming a world champion. Sadly for him, Manny Pacquiao is the only recognized WBA welterweight champion.

Claiming the ‘regular’ championship is the equivalent to claiming a mandatory title, with Pacquiao still the only rightful king at 147 pounds.

It’s tragic and heartbreaking to see Ugas, one of boxing’s good guys, proclaiming to be a fully-fledged world champion. We all know he isn’t.

The blame, if any, for this sad set of circumstances should be firmly laid at the door of the World Boxing Association.

Their decision to have two championship belts in the same division has always been a controversial one. For some, it was the last straw of support for the organization.

Ugas’ version came into play way back in 2003 when Ricardo Mayorga beat Vernon Forrest for the new ‘super’ title. Since then, Cory Spinks, Zab Judah, Floyd Mayweather, Keith Thurman, and eventually, Pacquiao have claimed it.

The lesser ‘regular’ strap, when running alongside the ‘super’ belt, was captured by the likes of David Avanesyan and Alexander Besputin since split during the reign of Keith Thurman in 2015. It has only been a bonafide championship since then when it suits the promoter’s agenda.

Until recent years, the regular held kudos with the majority of the sport and added to multi-weight hauls with no question. Rightly so for that particular period.

The WBA demeaned the ‘regular’ strap when they stated to World Boxing News they would eradicate the lesser title in 2013.

But it wasn’t until the WBA ‘Gold,’ WBO ‘Global’ and WBC ‘Franchise’ were released in 2019 that the lines became further blurred.

Where does it end?

Sadly for Ugas, most of the fans know the truth about the situation. They’ve been letting him know since his triumph over Abel Ramos.

“Twitter is still my favorite social network, but I’ve been getting more support on Facebook and Instagram this time,” pointed out Ugas in what was an expected outcome.

“Here on Twitter, many people detract from my triumph and my championship. They seem to forget that I was also supposed to be a WBC champ. OK. Where do you have me, 147?”

Before Ugas questioned why the lack of love, the 34-year-old Cuban posted a heartwarming dance with his wife – in it, he proudly displayed the WBA title in the video clip.

“My house in Cuba has been full. I spoke to everyone in my neighborhood. They are very excited and happy for my success.

“May God bless my people. I hope to continue growing and to continue asking for a better country for them.

“Respect and honor. Thanks to Abel for being a great competitor. It was an honor to share that ring with you. I will always remember you.

“We were two warriors fighting for a dream. Blessings. I’m sure you will be a champ,” added Ugas.

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Gracias a Dios, mi equipo, mi familia y todos mis fans por esta gran noche. Estoy agradecido con cada uno de ustedes que deseaba esto. Gracias también Abel por ser un gran competidor y llevarme al Límite. He perdido tres decisiones cerradas y divididas en Los Ángeles. Ya puedes imaginar por qué. Mi primera victoria en Los Ángeles. Ha sido muy difícil competir aquí. Más de 10 años soñando con esta noche. No ha sido fácil, injusticias, decepciones, en 2014 todos decían que mi carrera había terminado. Hace sólo un mes y medio estuve enfermo por algo que la gente muere, y aun así no deje de trabajar con mi preparador en mi casa, no quería otra fecha, quería esto esta noche. Y estoy aquí hoy. Convertido en Campeón del Mundo en la división mas dura y talentosa del boxeo. También haciendo historia del boxeo cubano. Primer campeón cubano peso welter de los últimos 49 años. Esto or todos los cubanos sin importan donde vivan. Con trabajo duro, disciplina y dedicación no hay imposible. Nunca te rindas. Gracias a todos. Y que Dios lo Bendiga🇨🇺🇨🇺 #teamugas #elmilagro #chango #orula ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… . Thank God, my team, my family and all my fans for this great night. I thank everyone who wanted this. Thanks also Abel for being a great competitor and taking me to the Limit.I have lost three close and divided decisions in Los Angeles. You can already imagine why. My first win in Los Angeles. It has been very difficult to compete here. More than 10 years dreaming about tonight. It has not been easy, injustices, disappointments, in 2014 everyone said that my career was over.Only a month and a half ago I was sick from something that people die, and even so I did not stop working with my preparer at my house, I did not want another date, I wanted this tonight. And I am here today. Become a world champion in boxing's toughest and most talented division. Also making history in Cuban boxing. First Cuban welterweight champion in the last 49 years.This is for all Cubans no matter where they live. With hard work, discipline and dedication there is no impossible. #teamugas

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Firstly, it truly is upsetting to see the delight of a fighter who you know will not get the recognition for his achievement.

Secondly, this begs this question to the WBA – ‘Is it worth it?’


Is it worth a boxer receiving unwarranted abuse for winning a title we all know is not the meaningful version?

Everybody with full knowledge of the sport’s championship status understands that Manny Pacquiao holds the most worthy welterweight belt, and no sanctioning body can have two champions at the same weight.

It is completely crazy to suggest this is possible. If it was the case, the WBC or IBF could have as many championships as they want, and we’d all be in a ridiculous arrangement.

Ugas declaring himself a world champion and celebrating with his family and friends hurts, not only the fighter but the fans too. We are all empty of the rightful position crowning one sole title-holder.

It also takes some shine off Pacquiao – the full ruler.

None-the-less, Ugas is enjoying his moment and good luck to him. Until the WBA does what they said they’d do in 2013, we’ll all have to watch boxers commemorating hollow championships.

This lack of action caused WBN to remove the WBA ‘regular’ from our website in May 2019.

Furthermore, will they act to rectify the secondary championship anytime in the future? – I highly doubt it.

The WBA also have an interim champion to the same title in Jamal James – unfathomable.

Congratulations to Ugas once again for his victory, but he needs to beat Manny Pacquiao before he can genuinely take his place as the champ.

Phil Jay is Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay.