TEXAS TOR­NADO

IBF cham­pion Spence races to vic­tory over Ocampo, be­fore call­ing out wel­ter­weight ri­vals Gar­cia and Porter, writes Paul Wheeler

Boxing News - - Action -

FFOR the first two min­utes and fifty­seven sec­onds of the open­ing round, heavy un­der­dog

Car­los Ocampo

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.

AMANDA WESTCOTT/SHOWTIME

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

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