SAN DIEGO, Calif. June 16, 2018 – IBF welterweight champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. is a true road warrior, winning his title from Britain’s Kell Brook on Brook’s home turn in Sheffield, England last year, and defending it in January in Brooklyn against Lamont Peterson.
Spence. Jr. deserves a little home cooking and wanted to put on a title defense for his hometown fans in the Dallas area. He’ll deliver on his promise Saturday night in Frisco at the at The Ford Center at The Star, located at the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility. The fight airs on Showtime Boxing at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. It is the first title fight in the Dallas area in 50 years.
Spence, age 28, (24-0, 20 KOs) faces mandatory opponent Carlos Ocampo (22-0, 13 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico. The 22-year-old Ocampo will make his first professional appearance outside Mexico. Ocampo put himself on the map at age 19 by defeating Jorge Paez Jr. But no matter how skilled or tenacious he might be, he’s facing one of the best in the boxing game today in Spence Jr.
“I’m looking forward to this,” Spence said. “I’m fighting before my home crowd, my people. But I have to be honest, when [Ocampo’s] name was brought up as my next opponent, I didn’t know who he was. He’s my mandatory, so I would rather get it out of the way now, rather than have it as a bump in the road later on when I’m trying to get bigger and better fights.”
Everyone knows what they are paying to see tonight in Frisco, It’s a homecoming party, a stay busy fight for Spence despite Ocampo being a mandatory challenger. Spence Jr. gets to reinvigorate his fan base and put on a demonstration of the skills pushing him slowly up the top ten pound for pound rankings. Ocampo benefits, too, because he gets the opportunity to introduce himself to the American audience. With a strong performance even in a loss, Ocampo can develop a fan base and return for more fights. At only 22 years old, a learning experience can be the best thing for Ocampo.
“I respect Ocampo, but there is nothing that I see about him that’s special,” admitted Spence Jr. “He is young and undefeated, so he will come to fight. Mexican fighters are known to be durable, but there is nothing I see that concerns me. Ocampo is a guy who tries to think in the ring a little too much. I’m not overlooking him. Don’t get that wrong …I just can’t let someone like Carlos Ocampo detour my route for bigger fights ahead.”
Best American born boxer in the world today?
What Ocampo is likely to learn: speed kills. Spence Jr.’s impressive speed causes all of his opponents to struggle, then become frustrated. When they are frustrated enough to take a few chances, Spence Jr. will be ready to pounce. If Ocampo is fortunate and lands an early shot or two, he’ll also find out Spence Jr. has the chin to walk through nearly anything an opponent can throw at him.
So extend your sports day after watching World Cup games by watching perhaps the best American born boxer today in action. We won’t see Spence Jr. truly challenged until he takes on the man at the top of the welterweight food chain, Keith Thurman.
Spence Jr. will have to be patient a little longer. Any Spence Jr. vs. Keith Thurman showdown to determine welterweight supremacy won’t happen until 2019. Thurman has the upper hand. Spence could drop his IBF title, and try to position himself as a mandatory challenger by the WBA or WBC to try and force the issue, but the matchup would still be far from assured.
In the meantime, Spence says he can still “improve a lot” in his defensive skills and in other ways. Lord have mercy on his competitors.
Roman vs. Flores: All-action super bantamweight matchup
On the undercard, WBA super bantamweight champion Daniel Roman (24-2-1, 9 KOs) of Los Angeles will make his second title defense against unbeaten Moises “Chucky” Flores (25-0, 17 KOs) of Mexico. Flores barely made weight for the bout. Flores is coming off a no contest against Guillermo Rigondeaux. The Cuban knocked Flores out at the end of the first round, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission ruled the punch came after the bell. Flores would like to erase the memory of seeing himself on the canvas. Roman is coming off a pair of bouts in Japan, and he’s poised to step up to the next level in the division should he win over Flores. This is sure to be an all action fight.
Fortuna and Granados fight to get back on track
Opening the Showtime broadcast, former two division champion Javier Fortuna (33-2-1, 23 KOs) of the Dominican Republica faces Chicago native Adrian Granados (18-6-2, 12 KOs) in a 10 round junior welterweight bout. Don’t let Granados’ record fool you. He lost a close decision to Shawn Porter, and a hotly disputed loss to Adrien Broner. The biggest win on his resume was a TKO win over Amir Imam. Granados would love to get back in the win column, but so would Fortuna. He gave Robert Easter plenty of trouble in January before losing a split decision.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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