After Yordenis Ugas, a 2008 Cuban Olympic bronze medalist, lost back-to-back junior welterweight fights to unbeaten Emmanuel Robles and Amir Imam in 2014, most wrote him off.
And Ugas did not do much to change anyone’s mind because he did not fight for the next two years and he was all but forgotten.
But then he returned as a welterweight in August and has now scored two wins in the past two months against promising unbeaten opponents to significantly raise his stock once again.
In his Aug. 12 return, Ugas won a 10-round decision against Jamal James (20-1, 9 KOs). And on Tuesday night at the Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino in Santa Fe, New Mexico, he scored an impressive fourth-round knockout of Bryant Perrella (14-1, 13 KOs) in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card.
Dedicating the fight to his friend, the late Miami Marlins pitching star Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident Sunday morning, Ugas, 30, could not miss with his right hand against Perrella. He dropped Perrella with one about 40 seconds into the fight and kept throwing it.
"The right hand was there early and all night long," Ugas said. “I was able to land it from the beginning. Then I went to the body. Before I left my corner to start the fight, I said a prayer for Jose, and for sure that was my motivation. I felt his spirit throughout the fight."
Perrella, a 27-year-old southpaw from Fort Myers, Florida, looked to land left hands but Ugas’ defense blunted his attack most of the time.
Ugas landed a hard right hand late in the third round that hurt Perrella and sent him into the ropes. In the fourth round, Ugas landed yet another right hand on the chin that dropped Perrella to his backside. Perrella, cut and dazed, made it to his feet and Ugas went after him, eventually unloading a sustained flurry until referee Rocky Burke waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 20 seconds.
"This shows that I've put all my losses behind me," Ugas said. "It doesn't matter who I fight next. I'm ready for anyone in the division."