Errol Spence Jr. ready to become boxing’s biggest star

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IBF welterweight champion wants either a unification bout or clash against another high-profile fighter after scoring a first-round KO of Carlos Ocampo Saturday in a homecoming bout in Texas.

Errol Spence wants “to rule with an iron fist” and “be a legendary name mentioned like Sugar Ray Leonard” following Saturday’s first-round knockout of Carlos Ocampo at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, the Dallas Cowboys’ training center near his hometown of DeSoto.

It was the 11th straight knockout victory for the 28-year-old southpaw who was coming off an eighth-round stoppage of two-division champion Lamont Peterson in January.

“I wanna rule with an iron fist. I don’t know about unifying by the end of the year, but as soon as I can get these names in the ring, my stock and my pound-for-pound level’s are gonna rise,” Spence said. “Hopefully, when I get these other belts, I’ll be pound-for-pound No. 1. There’s a lot of people salivating for me to be No. 1, and I should be by next year.”

Spence made his second defense of the crown he won by dethroning Kell Brook in the 11th round of their May 2017 title tilt in Sheffield, England.

“I wanna unify,” Spence continued. “A unification fight with the winner between Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter is probably going to happen during the first quarter of next year.”

If not the Garcia-Porter winner, Spence prefers two-division champion Jessie Vargas (28-2-1, 10 KOs) over 2008 Cuban Olympic bronze medalist Yordenis Ugas (22-3, 11 KOs), the latter of whom scored a two-knockdown second-round TKO of Jonathan Batista on Spence’s undercard.

“Ugas is a good fighter, but I want big names. Jessie Vargas would be in front of Ugas. Ugas is a great fighter ranked in the IBF so I’m gonna have to fight him, but I’m looking for big names and ex-world champions to build my legacy on, and Ugas won’t get me anywhere,” said Spence.

“I wanna be a legendary name mentioned like Sugar Ray Leonard. He fought the best, never ducked any opposition. Hopefully I’ll be mentioned as an all-time great like Sugar Ray Leonard and Floyd Mayweather, and Tommy Hearns and Oscar De La Hoya.”

I wanna be a legendary name mentioned like Sugar Ray Leonard. He fought the best, never ducked any opposition. Hopefully I’ll be mentioned as an all-time great. Welterweight World Champion Errol Spence Jr.

Fellow welterweight titleholder Keith Thurman is also on Spence’s hit list.

Thurman made his sixth and seventh defenses by unanimous decision over Porter in June 2016 and split decision over Garcia in March 2017, but has been inactive due to injuries.

“One Time” had surgery to repair damage in his right elbow following his fight against Garcia, and planned to return with a tune up fight in April or May. But after suffering a deep bruise in his left hand, Thurman said he “agreed to relinquish my WBC title at this time” and could defend his WBA belt in the fall.

“Guys still talk about Keith Thurman, like, ‘When are you gonna fight Keith Thurman?’ That’s been the talk for over a year or two, now. That’s the fight that everybody, including myself, wants to see,” Spence said.

“That’s definitely the fight that I’ve wanted and still want. Depending on how many tune-up fights Keith Thurman would need when he comes back, that would be easier to make because we’re under the same management and the same network, business-wise.”

Porter is coming off a unanimous decision win over Adrian Granados in November. Garcia is coming off a ninth-round stoppage of former titleholder Brandon Rios in February. The WBC mandated the duo to fight for Thurman’s vacated crown.

“Shawn Porter’s supposed to be fighting Danny Garcia, so hopefully, I can get the winner of that and we can unify. Whoever wins between Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter for the WBC title will have to fight me. I’m ready to take the belt from either one of those guys,” said Spence, giving the edge to Garcia.

“Danny Garcia doesn’t do anything spectacular, but he’s got great timing and good fundamentals and just seems to end up winning fights by pulling them out. I think Danny could pull it out. I’ll go with Danny Garcia on that one by decision, although I can see him knocking Shawn Porter down once.”

For a complete recap of Spence vs Ocampo, check out our fight page.

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