On the eve of Father's Day, the homecoming IBF welterweight champion literally bodied the unheralded Mexican at 2:59 of the first round on SHOWTIME. And in the process, officially gave birth to a hot rivalry with WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford.
☆☆☆ ☆☆☆ ☆☆☆
“These ni**a's be lying on me! That's on me baby… That's on me baby,” sings Yella Beezy, performing during the ringwalk entrance of ESJ. “The Truth” knows all the words to the song, but made sure all “Bud” smokers knew those in particular.
Fighting with an understated swagger of I-know-what-you-did-last-week, Spence (24-0, 21KOs) took to the ring to dispense of Ocampo (22-1, 13KOs) ASAP, reminding all 12,640 inside a raucous Ford Center at the Star that Rocky was nowhere to be found in the squared circle or anywhere else within the training facility of the Dallas Cowboys.
“This moment is a dream. I wanted to play for the Dallas Cowboys and now I'm fighting in front of the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones,” said a grateful Spence from nearby Desoto, standing next to the Cowboys owner during a post-fight interview with new HOFer Jim Gray.
“When I came out and everyone was proud to see me fight it made me feel so good. The support and love from the fans was amazing. Being a boxer in Dallas, it was a great event.”
It was also a great (although brief) sparring session.
Ocampo was actually there to fight, but his inexperience on an elite stage was exploited at the sound of the :10 warning. Seemingly disarmed by the coming bell, a fully armed Spence struck at his guts like a burglar.
I know what Terence Crawford did last summer, and though what Spence did to Ocampo on Saturday night wasn't nearly as spectacular as Bud's one-punch body demolition of Julius Indongo, his tat was better than the tit job Crawford turned Jeff Horn into in Vegas.
Only “One-Time” did Jim Gray mention former WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith Thurman– and Spence completely ignored it, opting instead to focus on the winner of an upcoming war between Danny “Swift” Garcia and “Showtime” Shawn Porter for the WBC belt vacated by a now married and still honeymooning Thurman. “I would love to fight the winner of that fight, but since it's pretty much in September (slated for Aug. 25) I doubt it could happen in 2018,” offered Spence, who'd stated to me in January after bodying Lamont Peterson, that he wanted to face Thurman at the end of 2018.
Now, however, he's turned his attention to bodying Jessie Vargas, someone who was initially supposed to be in front of Thurman before getting a draw with a hardcore Adrien Broner. Not for nothing, but if it's gonna be a stay busy fight with drama to sell it, then Broner deserves that fight, just like he probably deserved a decision over Vargas. “The Problem” probably can't handle “The Truth,” but he's never lied down for anyone or been stopped. The only welterweight in the world who appears capable of making a liar out of Spence is Crawford, who no doubt heard Spence utter these words a few days ago to ESPN.
“He’s crafty, he’s a switch-hitter, he can box, he can move,” said Spence, a throwback fighter straight outta da 80's. “For me, I just feel like I’m bigger. I’m stronger. I’m just as sharp. I have a better chin. I hit harder. I’d just basically beat him up.”
Well… I think we'll leave it right there. I know Carlos Ocampo, Lamont Peterson and Kell Brook ain't about to throw seeds of doubt. Hope you had a happy Father's Day, ladies and gentlemen.