Spence keeps IBF title at home with quick knockout of Ocampo
FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Errol Spence Jr. gave the home folks the knockout he figured they wanted. There just wasn’t much of the show he hoped would go with it.
Spence stopped Carlos Ocampo to retain his IBF welterweight title, dropping the Mexican challenger with a right hand to the body as the first round was ending Saturday night.
Fighting at the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility after growing up in the suburbs as a fan of America’s Team, Spence improved to 24-0 with his 11th straight knockout and 21st overall.
The crowd might have been left wanting more, as Cowboys owner Jerry Jones jokingly suggested after winking at the camera while celebrating with the 2012 U.S. Olympian in the ring.
“He can fight again tonight if someone wants to step up and fight him,” Jones said.
Ocampo crumpled to the canvas after taking the body shot. He tried to get up but went down to his knees and was counted out in the battle of unbeaten fighters.
“I was a little disappointed,” Spence said. “I wanted to give the crowd their money’s worth. I wanted him to sustain a bit and give him some punishment, but the body shot got him and I dropped him.”
The 28-year-old Spence was fighting in front of a sellout crowd in the 12,000-seat football stadium that doubles as the indoor practice facility for the Cowboys at their headquarters about 30 miles north of Dallas.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and several teammates were in the crowd along with Jones.
“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.”
It was the second defense of the 147-pound title that Spence won last summer in Englishman Kell Brook’s hometown.
Ocampo (22-1) was fighting professionally outside his home country for the first time.
“l got a lot of experience out of fighting Errol,” Ocampo said. “It would have been a very difficult fight for me. I got overconfident at the end of the round and he caught me.”
The buildup for the right was all the crowd got, with Spence taking the ring to big cheers with a big Cowboys star logo on the front of his robe. Earlier, Spence got a good roar when he was shown on camera alongside Jones near his locker room.
“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.”
Spence battered Lamont Peterson in his first title defense in New York in January, winning in the eighth round. Last summer in Sheffield, England, Spence broke Brook’s orbital bone and knocked him down in the 10th round before the fight was stopped in the 11th.
This was Spence’s first fight as a co-promoter, the other reason besides the hometown crowd that the show was part of the story line.
“We’ll definitely be back after I unify some titles,” Spence said. “We’ll make this an annual thing where I fight here.”
Spence’s victory came a week after Terence Crawford took the WBO crown from Jeff Horn, who had beaten Manny Pacquiao a year earlier. But Spence’s focus is on the expected August fight between Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter for the WBC title.
“I definitely want to make that a unifying fight,” Spence said. “We both have the same management. Why not make that happen? I definitely want that fight whenever it’s available.”
In the previous fight, WBA super bantamweight champion Danny Roman won a unanimous decision over Moises Flores. Roman would have retained the belt regardless of the outcome because Flores didn’t make weight.
“I went for the body because we knew he was so drained from cutting weight,” Roman said. “Him missing weight and not being able to win my belt didn’t change anything.”
A 10-round junior welterweight fight between Javier Fortuna and Adrian Granados ended in a no-decision after Fortuna appeared to hit his head while falling backward out of the ring during the fourth round. Fortuna was placed in a neck brace and taken away on a stretcher.
The 28-year-old Fortuna went to a hospital and was diagnosed with a concussion.
“I didn’t push him,” 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. Let’s do the rematch.”