Errol Spence doesn’t miss a beat.

For the second time in as many fights, Spence returned from over a year out of active competition and recovery from injury to dominate a world-class professional. Spence’s win over Danny Garcia was efficient and steady. What Spence did Saturday night to Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas was more violent and entertaining.

Spence put his hands to work and controlled much of the early action with activity. He’s not quite Roman Gonzalez in terms of the streams of leather he unleashes but Spence is a lot to try to contain. Ugas couldn’t but he did his own good work, arguably winning the first round and staying in the fray for the next four before seeing a window open up in the sixth.

Spence was hurt. His legs were unsteady. Ugas paused for a moment too long, perhaps surprised by the moment, perhaps distracted by the positioning of referee Laurence Cole. When he had a chance to unleash and go for broke, Ugas boxed largely to his standard form. Spence recovered, was firing back by the end of the round, and never let the fight get that close again.

Ugas will watch that round again and wonder what he could have done differently. Spence will move forward knowing that he responded like a champion and then dished out a beating, closing the right eye of Ugas and battering him to the body. Two judges scored the eighth round 10-8 without a knockdown and, while Ugas had a nice rally with straight shots to the body late in the ninth, it was just too much incoming to overcome.

The ring doctor saved Ugas from himself in the tenth. It was the right call  

The win added the WBA belt to a trophy case that already holds the IBF and WBC straps. It was Spence’s fourth consecutive win over a fighter ranked top ten in their class by TBRB or Ring Magazine, the longest such streak among active professionals.

And then, in post-fight comments, Spence said what everyone has been waiting to hear for close to four years.

It appears we have arrived at our destination.     

Futures: It feels like it was always going to go down like this. 

It made too much sense not too.

The bulk of the best welterweights in the world in recent years have been under the PBC umbrella. When Errol Spence won the IBF crown overseas with a stoppage of Kell Brook, The WBC and WBA belts rested with Keith Thurman. Most of their best contenders were also co-affiliated. The outlier to the welterweight title picture was Manny Pacquiao’s WBO claim with Top Rank before he also joined the PBC fold. 

That belt stayed the outlier, bouncing from Pacquiao to Jeff Horn to Terence Crawford. Spence could potentially unify three belts before the showdown that has felt inevitable ever since Crawford moved to welterweight.

Fate extended the timeline. Spence survived a horrific car accident and has now rebounded from an eye injury that scuttled a fight with Pacquiao last year. Crawford, now a promotional  free agent, is available. Both men were chirping on Twitter before the sun came up. Crawford hasn’t had the same quality of opposition as Spence at welterweight but it’s been good enough to keep him sharp. Crawford could always take a fight before seeing Spence but it feels like they can go straight there now. 

Assuming they do, and coming off Crawford’s win over Shawn Porter, Spence would be Crawford’s second straight similar top ten opponent and third in Crawford’s last four. Crawford hasn’t faced fighters ranked consecutively by TBRB and/or Ring since winning five straight from Viktor Postol to Horn. Both men have proven plenty over the course of their careers. 

On paper, it’s the best clash of unbeaten welterweights since Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya.

We’ve waited long enough. Next sounds great. 

Cliff’s Notes…

Eimantas Stanionis may or may not ever win a welterweight belt but he’s just fabulous viewing. So was his defeated foe, Radzhab Butaev. Showtime made a good call to give that one away as the preview for the night...The pay-per-view side of the undercard was dreadful. Some fights can feel like human sacrifice. All three of the support bouts Saturday in Texas had that feel to varying degrees. Yuriorkis Gamboa in particular needs to be protected from himself sooner than later…Conor Benn has something and he’s getting better each fight. It might be time to test him a little harder.    

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.