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20 NOVEMBER 2018

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Spence Stops Ocampo In First Round,Roman Retains WBA Crown

By Jason Pribila: Like many young men growing up on Dallas, Texas Errol Spence Jr. dreamed of one day wearing the star of the Dallas Cowboys as a professional. On Saturday night in Frisco, Texas Spence’s dream came true. Although he had long ago traded in shoulder pads and a helmet for padded gloves, Spence entered the ring in front of nearly 13,000 partisan fans and successfully defended his welterweight title three minutes after the opening bell rang.


Spence himself admitted that he was a little disappointed that his opponent Carlos Ocampo was unable to continue and absorb more punishment. Everyone involved in the production should be disappointed that the IBF made Ocampo the mandatory challenger despite never defeating anyone in the top 20 of the division.


Spence continues to be a bright spot in the sport. He went to his opponent’s home country to win his title, and he has long been calling out the top of the division. He seems genuinely determined to unify titles within the division rather than collecting paychecks for fighting stablemates in fights that seem more like business meetings than the fight business.


A week ago, Bud Crawford lifted a title from Jeff Horn, and the two seem destined to eventually meet to determine who the best in the division is while staking a claim as the sport’s pound for pound best. Of course, Crawford plied his trade on a different network so at best that fight will need to begin the marinating process.

Spence (24-0, 21 KO) had hoped to send a message to the rest of the division by ending his eleventh straight fight by knockout, but on this first round stoppage said more about how unworthy Ocampo (22-1, 13 KO) was to share the fight’s marquee.


In fairness to Ocampo, he seemed confident in his abilities and no one would suggest that he would turn down this golden opportunity. He landed a good body shot to Spence early, and spent much of his three minutes trying to answer Spence’s output. Unfortunately, he found himself against the ropes where he was a stationary target ill-equipped to absorb a left hook to the body, followed by a right that landed as Ocampo was on his way to the canvas.


Spence had dropped 8 previous opponents with body punches, but this one appeared as if it would add to that number without necessarily stopping the fight. Unfortunately, for the paying fans, Laurence Cole’s count reached 10 before Ocampo could recover.


Following the fight, Spence was joined in the ring by the Hall of Fame Owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones. Jones stated that he and his franchise are going to continue to support Spence and welcome him back to fight in their facilities. Jones hosted a pair of Manny Pacquiao fights in Cowboys Stadium in 2013, but he was unable to lure Pacquiao-Mayweather or Canelo-GGG. With a homegrown titlist impressively wearing his team’s iconic star, Jones may have better success luring future mega-fights as long as Spence keeps winning.


Spence left his fans wanting more, but we will all need to wait to see how long it takes his manager, Al Haymon to get Spence back into the ring. Keith Thurman is now injured and he has not fought since unifying titles against Danny Garcia. Thurman’s victory lap would have made James J. Braddock proud. Garcia is fighting Shawn Porter in September. The winner will most likely wait for Thruman before facing Spence. Which would leave us with names like Yordenis Ugas, Devon Alexander, or heaven forbid Adrian Broner.


No matter who is on the B-side, I for one hope to see Spence back soon. The sport as a whole will benefit from Spence being active while growing his brand.


Promoters had hoped that a potential all-action fight between Danny Roman (25-2-1, 9 KOs) and Moises “Chucky” Flores (25-1, 19 KOs) contested for Roman’s WBA super bantamweight title title would steal the show on Saturday Night.


Unfortunately, some of the luster was lost on the scales of Friday’s weigh-in when Flores failed to make weight. Flores paid a percentage of his purse to the Roman camp in order to keep the fight on the card. Adding to the confusion, the governing body decided to keep the fight at 12 rounds while labeling the contest a title fight, even though Roman could not lose his bout. Basically, they still wanted to collect their percentage from each fighter.


Flores entered the ring 9 pounds heavier than Roman, but Roman would successfully target Flores’ lanky body which quickly diffused any disadvantage.


Many times when a fighter fails to make weight we see one of two outcomes. In the first scenario the heavier fighter uses his weight advantage and added energy from not depleting themselves to stop the smaller fighter. In the second scenario, the heavy fighter was weakened by making every effort to lose the excess weight that they are stopped in the early to mid-rounds.

According to the Showtime announcers, Flores had the look of a fighter who made every effort to make weight.


Flores began every round aggressively, usually throwing a big right hand as soon as he left his stool. Roman would continually display better defense which he would turn into offense by landing thudding body shots and upper-cuts.

While Flores fought hard until the final round, he did not present any danger to Roman from the sixth round on. He took shots that would have given many fighters a reason to look for a soft spot on the canvas to take a knee.


All three judges scored the fight for Roman: 120-108, 118-110, and 116-112.


Roman, like Spence, went overseas to win his title. Also like Spence, he pledges allegiance to taking one’s body knowing that the head will follow. I believe he would be a natural fit to open for Spence on future Showtime cards.


Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He could be reached for questions or comments at or followed on @PribsBoxing

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