By Jeff Aranow: Errol Spence Jr. (23-0, 20 KOs) will be getting his wish to fight at home in his next title defense of his IBF welterweight title on June 16 against his likely mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo (22-0, 13 KOs) on Showtime Boxing in Dallas, Texas.
Spence-Ocampo is still yet to be negotiated, but the IBF ordered the fight this week for Spence’s next defense. That means we’ll be seeing Spence, 27, defend against Ocampo on June 16 for his homecoming in Dallas. It’s just as well for Spence, because Ocampo is from nearby Mexico, and a lot of his boxing fans will likely come see him fight.
Spence is riding the crest of his impressive 7th round stoppage win last Saturday night over Lamont Peterson. That was a voluntary defense for Spence. After the fight, Spence said he wanted to return home to fight in Dallas for his next title defense. Spence lives in Desoto, Texas, which is in Dallas County.
Spence will have a lot of his fans turning out to see him put on a show against the little known Ocampo, who will likely be the equivalent of a voluntary defense/tune-up. The International Boxing Federation need to work on improving their selection of contenders, because it’s been Mickey Mouse for a while for them with some of the fighters that they’re ranking. In the past, the IBF had Spence ranked below Kevin Bizier and Jo Jo Dan.
Ocampo has fought only in Mexico during his 6-year pro career. The closest that Ocampo has come to fighting a quality opponent was his fight against Rames Agaton (20-6-3, 10 KOs). Ocampo beat Agaton by a one-sided 10 round unanimous decision in June 2016. Ocampo did a better job beating Agaton than the highly ranked Top Rank fighter Konstantin Ponomarev, who beat him by an 8 round majority decision in November 2015.
Ocampo is probably not the kind of fighter that Spence had in mind when he decided to make his next title defense at home in Dallas, but you have to take what the IBF is willing to give you. Sometimes the IBF gets I right in picking out talented contenders to order champions to fight in their mandatory defenses, but more often than not, they select obscure fighters with limited talent and inflated resumes. Ocampo definitely fits in that category. This will be Ocampo’s first fight outside of his home country of Mexico when he faces Spence. It’s too bad Ocampo will be stuck fighting what could be the best fighter in the 147 lb. division in Spence.
It would be interesting if Spence’s management is able to steer around Ocampo in order to get a more meaningful fight against one of the top contenders. Unfortunately, even if Spence’s adviser Al Haymon is able to swerve the dull title defense against Ocampo, he’d likely be stuck fighting someone like 36-year-old Luis Collazo. That wouldn’t be a good defense for Spence either. A fight against #6 IF Bradley Skeete would be an interesting one for Spence to take, but I doubt that Haymon will put in the effort to get Skeete as Ocampos’ replacement.
Spence wants to fight WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman in 2018 late in the year. Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) will be fighting on May 19 on Showtime, possibly against Jessie Vargas.
Spence wants to fight 3 times in 2018. He fought only once in 2017. We’ll have to see if he’ll be able to make the third fight of not this year. It would be a surprise if Spence does.