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Errol Spence Jr. vs. Carlos Ocampo announced for June 16

Errol Spence Jr

By Dan Ambrose: Its official that IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. (23-0, 20 KOs) will be defending his title against his IBF mandated challenger Carlos Ocampo (22-0, 13 KOs) on June 16 on Showtime Boxing. The Spence vs. Ocampo fight will take place at The Ford Center at The Star, Frisco , Texas.

It’s not a great opponent for the 28-year-old Spence, but it’s in keeping with the type of contenders the IBF has ranked at No.1 in the not so distant past. We’ve seen the IBF rank guys like Jo Jo Dan and Kevin Bizier.

Ocampo comes into the fight with a razor-thin resume against obscure opposition. These are Ocampo’s best wins:

• Dario Ferman (14-3)

• Daniel Escheverria (19-3)

• Alvaro Robles (19-7)

• Rames Agaton (20-8)

• Charlie Navarro (25-9)

• Jorge Paez Jr. (40-11-2)

• Johnny Navarrete (27-6-1)

Those are not good enough fighters for Ocampo to be ranked at No.1. It would be understandable for Ocampo to be ranked No.1 if he had beaten someone like Jessie Vargas, Manny Pacquiao, Jamal James, Shawn Porter, Adrian Granados, Danny Garcia or Terence Crawford. Ocampo hasn’t fought any of those guys, and chances are that if he had fought them, he would have been knocked out by most if not all of them. It’s problem when contenders are given a No.1 ranking without having beaten anyone good.

Spence will be fighting in his hometown of Dallas against Ocampo. For Spence, this will be his second defense of his IBF title since he won the belt last year in stopping champion Kell Brook last year in May in an 11th round stoppage. Spence has been mostly sitting around being inactive apart from his one successful title defense in defeating former light welterweight champion Lamont Peterson last January.

Spence says he wants to fight three times this year. Spence wanted to fight welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman, but his injury problems will keep the fight from taking place until 2019 or possibly even later. Spence’s best shot at a big fight will be fighting the winner of the Danny Garcia vs. Shawn Porter match if those two scrap for the vacant WBC title that Thurman vacated last week.

There’s no telling whether Porter or Garcia will agree to fight Spence. Neither of them has shown a desire to get into the ring with Spence. Terence Crawford says he’d like to fight Spence, but he still has a lot to prove at 147 before a fight between him and Spence is a viable option. Right now, Crawford’s future at 147 is very uncertain, because he’s not fought at the weight and his only quality opponent at 140 was against former featherweight champion Yuiriorkis Gamboa. Crawford’s resume is mostly padded with weak opposition.

The Mexican Ocampo is inexperienced when it comes to facing quality opposition. The type of opponents Ocampo has faced is similar to the level of 21-year junior middleweight Jaime Munguia, who will be challenging WBO junior middleweight champion Sadam Ali on May 12. The difference is Ocampo is ranked No.1 by the International Boxing Federation, so Spence has no choice but to defend against him if he wants to hold onto his IBF title. It’s either face the obscure and totally inexperienced Ocampo or lose the IBF title.

“I believe that I’m the number one fighter in the welterweight division and I’ll step into the ring on June 16 with that feeling. I’m going to draw from the energy of my fans,” Spence said. ”I’ve studied some of Ocampo and I can tell he likes to box but he’s willing to get into a fight. I know how he feels going into someone else’s hometown for his first shot at the title. This is his big opportunity and it’s going to make this a great event,” Spence said.

Spence is considered one of the top welterweights in the division, but for him to receive the No.1 spot, he’s going to need to knock off Crawford, Manny Pacquiao, Lucas Matthysse, Jeff Horn, Danny Garcia, Thurman and Porter. There are only seven fighters that Spence needs to beat for him to clean out the 147 lb. weight class to become the No.1 guy at welterweight, but it’s unlikely that he’ll end up fighting more than two or three of those guys. If Spence becomes a huge star one of these days, then he’ll have all those fighters chomping at the bit to fight him.

Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult for fighters to become super popular nowadays because the top promoters often don’t work with each other. Back when Floyd Mayweather Jr. was fighting in the early part of his career, he was able to get fights against the top fighters because the promoters were more willing to work with one another. That changed unfortunately to the point where promoters don’t always work with one another. Spence will likely be given the status as the No.1 welterweight by the boxing media without him ever proving it by fighting the top 3 or 4 welterweights in the division.

“I’m training very hard for my fight against Errol Spence Jr.,” said Ocampo. “This is the opportunity that I’ve worked my whole life to get and I’m coming to take Spence’s belt on June 16. I will give the fans a very exciting fight and show once again what Mexican fighters are made of,” Ocampo said.

Ocampo isn’t a big puncher, so it’s going to be difficult for him to win this fight unless Spence suffers an injury. Ocampo is a boxer with a resume that a journeyman would be proud of. He’s not been fighting the type of guys that would make you think that he’s going to unseat Spence. Ocampo is a huge step down from Spence’ last two fights against Lamont Peterson and Kell Brook. You can argue that Ocampo isn’t even as good as past Spence knockout victims Chris Algieri, Phil Lo Greco, Leonard Bundu, Samuel Vargas, Chris Van Heerden and Alejandro Barrera.

If Spence doesn’t carry Ocampo, this fight will likely be over well before the 6th round. It depends on what kind of mood Spence is in and will also depend on whether Ocampo runs from him. This fight has mismatch written all over it.


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