By Keith Idec
Errol Spence Jr. will face the opponent everyone expected June 16.
An ESPN.com report early Wednesday morning stated that promoters for Spence, the unbeaten IBF welterweight champion, and mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo have reached an agreement for them to fight that night. Showtime will televise the Spence-Ocampo match from an undetermined venue in the Dallas area.
The IBF ordered Spence (23-0, 20 KOs), of DeSoto, Texas, to make his next title defense against the unproven Ocampo (22-0, 13 KOs) last month. A purse bid was scheduled for March 6 at the IBF’s headquarters in Springfield, New Jersey, but the IBF informed the involved parties Tuesday night that it was canceled because Tom Brown, the promoter representing Spence, and Zanfer Promotions (Ocampo) came to an agreement.
The 27-year-old Spence – who’s generally regarded as one of the best boxers, pound-for-pound, in the sport – will make the second defense of the IBF welterweight title he won by knocking out Kell Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) in the 11th round May 27 in Sheffield, England, Brook’s hometown. The powerful southpaw stopped former two-division champion Lamont Peterson (35-4-1, 17 KOs), of Washington, D.C., in the eighth round January 20 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The 22-year-old Ocampo hasn’t beaten a top contender during his climb up the IBF’s rankings.
He is rated No. 3 among the IBF’s 147-pound contenders. The top two spots are vacant, however, which makes Ocampo the leading available contender for the mandatory defense Spence is due to make.
Ocampo will fight outside of Mexico for the first time when he travels to the Dallas area to challenge Spence. He last fought November 11, when Ocampo stopped fellow Mexican Dario Ferman (14-4, 11 KOs) in the seventh round in Chihuahua, Mexico.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.