Ugas to Wilder: Rise, heal, and return to battle


1163266887.jpg.0 - Ugas to Wilder: Rise, heal, and return to battle
Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

The Cuban welterweight has some advice for a fighter he has long respected.

If you’ve kept up with the boxing news of late, you know pretty well that Deontay Wilder doesn’t seem to be handling this past February’s loss to Tyson Fury all that well.

Wilder has recently concocted a wide-ranging conspiracy theory that involves Fury loading his gloves, his own former trainer Mark Breland tampering with Wilder’s water, Breland and referee Kenny Bayless being in on some sort of fix or the like, and something with Fury’s fingernails.

While many have simply dismissed Wilder’s rantings or figure he’s trying to play some sort of angle, some are genuinely sort of concerned about where his head is at these days. Fellow PBC fighter Yordenis Ugas shared a message directed to Wilder on social media, as a fighter who has suffered losses and come back:

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A post shared by Yordenis Ugas (@yordenis_ugas)

“Wilder is one of my favorite fighters, I love his warrior heart and spoke wonders of him all the time, and we shared an Olympic medal of the same color at the Beijing Olympics,” Ugas wrote on Instagram.

“It’s sad to see how things are in these times and to see that a loss to a fighter has taken so much away from him. Just four years ago I was 15-3 and today I am a world champion, but above all, I am a fighter that everyone respects. Rise, champion; heal and return to battle. I want to continue supporting you.”

Ugas (26-4, 12 KO) was indeed a bronze medalist at the 2008 Olympics, just like Wilder, and there were high hopes for the Cuban when he decided to turn pro in 2010. He lost a fight to Johnny Garcia on ShoBox in 2012, a big upset, and then suffered back-to-back losses to Emanuel Robles and Amir Imam in 2014.

Ugas didn’t fight again for over two years, and when he came back, he was being used as a prospect checker. Then he started beating the prospects — Jamal James and Bryant Perrella both lost their “0” to Ugas, and after wins over Levan Ghvamichava and Ray Robinson in 2017 and 2018, Ugas was becoming an avoided fighter. He got a shot at Shawn Porter’s WBC title in 2019, lost a controversial decision, and has just kept going, winning three straight and claiming a secondary WBA belt in his last fight on Sept. 6.

But while Ugas definitely knows about bouncing back from defeat, it’s also safe to say he’s never quite experienced the big-time lifestyle Wilder was living for years as reigning WBC heavyweight titleholder. And, frankly, some people just are able to deal with setbacks, and some aren’t.

It is good advice, though, and you’d hope Wilder would see that, but it’s been a pretty dramatic fall from grace for the “Bronze Bomber,” too.

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