IBF champion Spence races to victory over Ocampo, before calling out welterweight rivals Garcia and Porter, writes Paul Wheeler
FFOR the first two minutes and fiftyseven seconds of the opening round, heavy underdog
acquitted himself rather well against IBF welterweight titlist
Errol Spence Jnr, but this relatively bright start ultimately proved to be a false dawn for the Mexican challenger.
Ocampo was unbeaten heading into his world title tilt, but was nonetheless largely untested. Despite having never even contested a scheduled 12-rounder before, the 22-year-old somehow found himself ranked at a lofty number three in the 147lb ratings (take a bow, IBF).
Spence was expected to sweep him aside with minimum fuss, and that is exactly what came to pass at The Ford Center at The Star in front of a sold-out crowd of 12,604 people in the champion’s home state.
After a cagey sequence of jabbing from the fighters at the outset, the first significant punch of the contest – a left hook to the midsection – was landed by Ocampo. Spence immediately replied with a replica shot, before the pair entered into a brief exchange of hooks up top.
With time running out in the first frame, Spence – who was making the second defence of his world championship – connected with a shooting jab to the head, followed by a solid left downstairs, which seemed to stray low. A sweet left hook to the solar plexus then found its mark from the Desoto southpaw, who scored with a curving follow-up right to the ribs. Only three seconds were left in the opener when Ocampo fell to his knees and slumped forward with his forehead on the mat. The Ensenada man – who had previously never once endured a trip to the canvas – was unable to beat referee Laurence Cole’s count, with the official time of the KO being recorded as 3-00. Afterwards, Spence – who has now registered a total of nine body-shot knockdowns in his career – revealed his frustration at the brevity of the fight. “I’m a little disappointed, as I wanted to give the crowd their money’s worth,” the undefeated 28-year-old said. “I wanted him to sustain a little bit, take a little bit more punishment, but the body shot landed right on point and it dropped him. “I took my time and tried to use my jab. He was a little bit awkward, but
I caught him and hurt him. I thought he was going to be a little bit tougher, but I don’t get paid for overtime. If I can get him out in the first, great, but I wanted to carry it, go to the fourth or fifth round for the fans.
“I went on the outside because he kept ducking and trying to come underneath. That was my game plan – check him to the body in the first round to see how he reacts. Then I just kept going to the body and breaking him down. I’m the bodysnatcher, so I knew if I hit him properly he’d probably drop.”
Following the quick-fire victory, Spence wasted little time in calling out the winner of the clash between former world champs Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter, who are pencilled in to meet on August 25 for the vacant WBC welter crown – a title formerly held by WBA king Keith Thurman, who has been sidelined due to injury, but is set to return soon. Another appealing option for Spence is threeweight world ruler Terence Crawford, who took the WBO 147lb strap from Jeff Horn earlier this month.
“I want to fight the best,” Spence declared. “Garcia and Porter are fighting each other and I definitely want to fight the winner in a unification. We all have the same management [Al Haymon], we all fight on Showtime. Why not make it happen? I definitely want that fight whenever it’s available.”
In the chief support on this TGB Promotions event, Los Angeles’ in-form WBA super-bantamweight boss Daniel
Roman, 28, unanimously outpointed Guadalajara’s game Moises Flores, who came in overweight by one pound at the previous day’s weigh-in, and therefore was not eligible to compete for the title.
It was a first-ever defeat for the 31-year-old Mexican, who lost by scores of 116-112 (Sergio Caiz), 118-110 (Wilfredo Esperon) and 120-108 (Levi Martinez). Mark Calo-oy officiated the bout, in which Roman’s eye-catching body work proved too much for his aggressive, always-advancing opponent, who injured his shoulder in the second round.
The super-lightweight 10-rounder between Braintree, Massachusetts-based Dominican Javier Fortuna and Mexicanamerican Adrian Granados, of Cicero, Illinois, ended in bizarre circumstances at 2-50 of the fourth.
Fortuna – 28 years old, like Granados – was bundled through the ropes and out of the ring after a clinch, landing awkwardly on the outside. Seemingly suffering from whiplash, the portsider was subsequently unfit to continue, and worryingly had to leave the ringside area on a stretcher, wearing a neck brace. Referee Robert Chapa announced the fight a No Contest.
It was an unfortunate finish to an entertaining and action-packed tussle, during which both boxers traded leather vigorously. Prior to the conclusion, Fortuna had been controversially deducted two points for holding and hitting behind the head.
Also on the bill, welterweight contender Yordenis Ugas required just 1-16 of the second (set for 10) to dispatch the Dominican Republic’s outgunned Jonathan Batista, 33, in a keep-busy run-out.
Ugas – a 31-year-old Cuban living in Miami – decked Batista four times in total (twice in the first, twice in the second), before referee Neal Young called it off.
THE VERDICT Let’s hope Spence gets his wish and takes on one of the other 147lb world title-holders next time out.
FAR TOO EASY: Spence Jnr picks his opening and prepares to finish the mismatch
ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: Spence does not appear to be overjoyed with his night’s work as Ocampo collapses on his face ON WE GO: Spence [right] spells out his desire for a tougher foe next time out
COUNTER PUNCH: Roman times Flores’ right and clouts him with a left