IBF welterweight champion disposes of mandatory challenger with a wicked body shot in the first round of his homecoming bout at the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters in Frisco, Texas.
Errol Spence Jr. already has a claim to being the best 147-pounder in the world. Saturday night in front of a hometown crowd, he did nothing to dispel that belief.
Spence took care of undefeated but unheralded Mexican challenger Carlos Ocampo with one second left in the opening round. A left, right combination to the body put Ocampo down, slouched over. Referee Laurence Cole reached a ten count, rendering Spence the winner by first-round KO on a Showtime-televise card in front of a hometown Dallas-area crowd of 12,600.
The brief fight featured a fair amount of back and forth action as Ocampo was game, but the body attack of Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) was unforeseeable by the unbeaten Mexican. The knockout called to mind Roy Jones Jr. stopping Virgil Hill. Spence retained his IBF belt at and is likely to find himself in a marquee matchup in the next 12 months.
“I was a little disappointed. I wanted to give the crowd their money's worth,” Spence said. “I wanted him to sustain a bit and give him some punishment, but the body shot got him and I dropped him.”
It happens to be the ninth time in Spence’s career he has stopped an opponent with a body shot.
“I knew if I hit him again he would probably drop,” Spence said. “That was my game plan. I’m the body snatcher. If he reacts weirdly, I just keep going to the body and I keep breaking him down.”
Spence is in a stable of fighters that includes Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, and Shawn Porter. There are easy to make matchups amongst that quartet, and then of course there’s Terence Crawford across the street. That seems like the fight down the road that has the chance of being for all the marbles at 147 pounds, and both fighters are capable of building that matchup.
“I want to fight the best,” Spence promised. “Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter are fighting each other (for the WBC title) and I definitely want to make that a unifying fight. We both have the same management, we both fight on Showtime. Why not make that happen? I definitely want that fight whenever it's available.”
One thing Spence has in his favor is he has established himself as a bonafide hometown draw—and that’s more than any 147-pounder can say about themselves. The amount of people that turned out to support him against a flimsy challenger at best in Ocampo is promising to see.
After the fight, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones joined Spence in the ring to congratulate him on the victory.
"This moment is a dream," Spence said. "I wanted to play for the Dallas Cowboys and now I'm fighting in front of the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones. Thank you to the whole Dallas Cowboys organization.
"We'll definitely be back after I unify some titles. We'll make this an annual thing where I fight here."
Jones was thrilled with what was the first boxing event inside the Ford Center at The Star, the centerpiece of the 91-acre campus of the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters and practice facility.
"This room was full of Dallas Cowboys football players supporting you," Jones said. "They share your passion. I saw a guy in this ring who knew what he wanted. When you knock a guy out by hitting him once on the side of his back, you're bad to the bone."
Roman defends 122-pound title; Fortuna-Granados ends in no-contest
WBA super bantamweight champion Daniel Roman made easy work of mandatory challenger Moises Flores, earning a lopsided decision.
Roman (25-2-1, 9 KOs) outclassed Flores (25-1-1, 17 KOs) in every which way, outboxing Flores for the duration of the bout. Roman has worked himself into being a reputable champion after starting his career 2-1-1. Flores looked completely out of his depths despite his unbeaten record. After clearing his mandatory, Roman is now in a position to make a big fight with one of the other titleholders at 122 pounds.
I was trying to box him. We tried to do a smart fight," Roman said. "We tried to take him out, but unfortunately we couldn't."
Roman prevailed via scores of 120-108, 118-110, and a too close 116-112.
Roman wore Flores down with body shots and sharp power punching. In the championship rounds it seemed questionable that Flores would see the final bell.
There are fewer freaky finishes in the history of boxing than what happened between Javier Fortuna and Adrian Granados at junior welterweight on Saturday.
After a back and forth couple of opening rounds, Fortuna (33-3-1, 23 KOs) was deducted two points in the fourth round.
The first point deduction came when referee Robert Chapa ruled that Fortuna had tried to headbutt Granados (18-6-2, 12 KOs). Fortuna was deducted another point for holding about a minute later.
With about 20 seconds left in the round, Fortuna was pushed through the ropes and banged his head against something on the outside of the ring. Fortuna was flat on his back for several minutes, and was then wheeled out on his stretcher.
The fight was ruled a no contest before four rounds had been completed. Fortuna was moving up from 135 pounds to 140 pounds for the first time.
"I didn't push him. I think he fell with his own," Granados said. "I think he was looking for an excuse on his way out. We were both battling, but I knew he could feel I was getting stronger."
It's a shame the fight ended the way it did because it was starting to heat up.
For a compolete look at Spence vs Ocampo, check out our fight page.