IBF orders Errol Spence Jr. to defend against Carlos Ocampo

By Boxing News - 01/23/2018 - Comments

Image: IBF orders Errol Spence Jr. to defend against Carlos Ocampo

By Dan Ambrose: IBF has ordered welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. to make a mandatory defense against Carlos Ocampo (22-0, 13 KOs) in his next fight, according to ESPN. This is not the fight that the unbeaten Spence (23-0, 20 KOs) was hoping to get. He’s interested in facing WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman in a unification fight in late 2018.

Spence’s promoter and the promoter for Ocampo, Zanfer Promotions has been ordered by the IBF to start negotiations right away. They have until February 22 to negotiate the fight. If they fail to get the Spence vs. Ocampo fight negotiated by February 22, then it’ll go to a purse bid.

Ocampo is entitled to only 15 percent of the purse due to him not having fought an eliminator match to become the #1 mandatory. That’s obviously not a good deal for Ocampo, but he probably wouldn’t have won a title eliminator anyway, so 15 percent of the purse for a title shot against Spence is better than nothing.

If the IBF hadn’t ordered Spence to face Ocampo, he likely would have fought one of the Premier Boxing Champions fighters like Luis Collazo.

According to Dan Rafael, the 27-year-old Spence was given an exception by the IBF to make a voluntary defense against Peterson last Saturday night with the condition that he must face his mandatory challenger in his next fight. With Spence’s voluntary defense against Peterson out of the way, the IBF has now ordered Spence to defend against Ocampo.

It’s not a great fight, but it’s not all that surprising. When Kell Brook was the IBF welterweight champion, the IBF ordered him to defend against Jo Jo Dan and Kevin Bizier. Those both badly over-matched opponents. The IBF basically made two very beatable fighters Brook’s mandatory challengers.

Now the IBF is doing the same thing with Spence. It’s an ideal situation if Spence was a weak champion with little talent. He would stay champion for years with the IBF selecting marginal opposition periodically for him to make mandatory defenses against. That’s not the case though. Spence has the talent to fight and defeat the best at 147, so the IBF is wasting his time by ordering him to face Ocampo instead of a talented contender.

Ocampo is a big step down for Spence from his fight against Lamont Peterson last weekend. For Spence, this will be like a low level tune-up against Ocampo. It’s too bad the IBF didn’t order for Spence to face Jessie Vargas. That’s a arguably a much better fighter than Ocampo. WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith Thurman will be facing Vargas for his April tune-up.

The IBF’s two spots in their top 15 rankings are currently vacant. However, they’ve decided to order Spence to fight the No.3 contender in Ocampo rather than taking the time to order an eliminator fight.

The IBF ordering Spence to fight the little known Ocampo, who comes from Mexico, takes away his ability for him and his adviser Al Haymon to select his next opponent for April or May in Dallas. After the fight, Spence didn’t give any hints about his next opponent, but the option is now taken away from him with the IBF ordering him to make a mandatory defense against Ocampo.

Spence, 27, is coming off a superb 7th round stoppage win over former 2 division world champion Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KOs) last Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Spence immediately called out Keith Thurman after the fight, challenging him to meet him in a unification fight after his next tune-up in April. Thurman won’t commit to the fight with Spence, telling him to “be patient.”

Spence says he wants to fight 3 times in 2018 with his third fight of the year being against Keith Thurman. Unfortunately for Spence, it appears he’ll need to use up one of his defenses against the obscure fighter Ocampo instead of a more recognizable opponent that the casual and hardcore boxing fans have heard of.

Ocampo has recent wins over the following fighters:

• Dario Ferman

• Daniel Echeverria

• Alvaro Robles – knocked out by Kell Brook in the 8th round in March 2014

• Ramses Agaton

• Charlie Navarro

• Jorge Paez Jr.

• Johnny Navarrete