“The Truth” Shines in Dallas

By Caryn A. Tate on June 16, 2018
“The Truth” Shines in Dallas
To his credit, Ocampo came to fight. (Smiley N. Pool/Staff Photographer/Dallas News)

Spence’s length and his very sound fundamentals made it an impossibility for Ocampo to gain any footing…

IBF welterweight world champion Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs) defended his title against his mandatory contender Carlos Ocampo (22-1, 13 KOs) on Saturday from The Ford Center at The Star in Spence’s hometown of Dallas, Texas. Spence sold out the venue to a tune of approximately 15,000 tickets, and he showed his Texas colors by sporting a kit in a Dallas Cowboys motif.

Ocampo was a severe underdog in this bout, having never fought at the world level or outside his home country of Mexico. But for anyone who had seen tape on the challenger, they would also see that his technique was not on the level of the champion Spence. And that showed up in tonight’s contest.

To his credit, Ocampo came to fight, and he landed a few good shots on Spence in round one when he threw in flurries. But Spence’s length and his very sound fundamentals made it an impossibility for Ocampo to gain any footing in the round.

True to form, Spence landed a lot of thudding body shots. Later in round one, the southpaw champion landed a sickening left hand to the solar plexus of Ocampo, then followed it up with a right hand around the back of the challenger’s left arm. Ocampo fell to the canvas, in obvious pain, and wasn’t able to make the count.

“I was a little disappointed,” Spence said after the stoppage, regarding how quickly the fight went. “The body shot landed right on point and it dropped him. That was my game plan anyway—I’m the Body Snatcher.”

“We’ll definitely be back—make this an annual thing,” he added. When asked about who he could fight next, Spence said, “I definitely want to unify.” He mentioned he’d like the winner of Shawn Porter vs. Danny Garcia, which may happen in September.

“You make sports proud tonight,” Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “I saw a guy in this ring that knew what he wanted. You knock a man out by hitting him to the side of the back, you’re bad to the bone.”

In the co-feature, WBA super bantamweight world champion Daniel Roman (25-2-1, 9 KOs) faced mandatory challenger Moises Flores (25-1, 17 KOs) for the “full” WBA world title. On Friday at the weigh-in, Roman made weight handily but Flores weighed a full pound and a half over the 122 pound limit. After the standard two hour allotment, Flores was only able to shave off half a pound, weighing 123. By missing the weight limit, Flores would not be fighting for the title—even if he were to win, Roman would retain his belt.

Tonight, Roman put on only seven pounds, while Flores weighed 138 pounds. He could have been fighting in the first bout of the evening (Fortuna vs. Granados, contested at 140 pounds—more on that fight below).

Roman showed from the beginning that he was the more skillful fighter. Flores seemed to mostly rely on his size and his high activity rate in the ring, but Roman utilized the better footwork, angles, and accuracy despite Flores’ reach advantage. When he moved laterally, Roman threw Flores for a loop, who struggled to keep the American in front of him where he wanted him.

While Flores’ activity rate may have won him a round or two, it was largely Roman’s fight. He landed far more clean punches, while many of Flores’ shots were partially blocked (or missed entirely).

By the middle rounds, Roman seemed to have Flores on the way out. He focused heavily on the body, which was of course a smart game plan against an opponent who missed weight, and he displayed a really solid left hook that tended to catch Flores on his way in—particularly because Flores has a bad habit of leaning over and completely giving up his own height advantage.

Personally, I didn’t feel Flores won more than one round. While one judge, Sergio Caiz, had a bizarre 116-112 scorecard, the other two judges were more reasonable with one score of 118-110 and the other 120-108.

Said the humble Roman following the fight, “I would like to unify. I’d like to fight any of the other champions. Rey Vargas, or I’ll go back to Japan.”

It’s refreshing to see a young fighter with solid fundamentals, who also carries himself like a champion outside the ring. Hopefully we’ll see more of Roman on televised cards.

Kicking off the night was a 140-pound bout between Javier Fortuna (33-2-1, 23 KOs) and Adrian Granados (18-6-2, 12 KOs). I expected this to be the most exciting fight of the night and, while it certainly didn’t end the way any of us wanted, it was great while it lasted.

Fortuna was fighting at 140 for the first time. He has most recently been competing at lightweight (135), though he missed weight in his last bout, when he challenged IBF lightweight champion Robert Easter for his title. Granados, on the other hand, normally campaigns at 140, but in has past few bouts has taken better opportunities at welterweight. 140 is perhaps his more natural weight.

It was a contrast of styles. Granados is a come forward, inside or mid-range kind of fighter, but he’s underrated in my opinion. He is more adept at cutting off the ring on slick boxers than many modern buzzsaws, and he always gives it his all. He never lets up.

Fortuna, on the other hand, is a flashy southpaw with excellent footwork and reflexes, who is more of a boxer by style. Yet his temperament doesn’t seem to allow him to simply box from the outside—he often stays in the pocket and dukes it out with his opponents, even though his skills would allow him to win perhaps more easily by boxing from the outside.

The first three rounds of tonight’s bout was an exciting battle of tug of war. Granados stalked Fortuna; he sometimes did so ineffectively, not throwing on his way in, and when that happened Fortuna caught him cleanly and utilized his good footwork to turn him and keep the pattern going. But at other times, Granados moved his head well, punching with Fortuna and on his way inside. When he used that tactic, he had good success, landing cleanly on Fortuna and taking control of the flow of the bout.

In round four, the referee, Robert Chapa, immediately deducted a point after Fortuna threw a flurry of punches when Granados was slipping and ducking shots. One of Fortuna’s punches came from above and it seemed he may have intentionally been trying to hit Granados behind the head. With no prior warning, the referee took a point.

Later in the same round, the fighters were clinching when the referee took another point from Fortuna for holding. Again, no prior warning was given and there was absolutely no call for it. He dug a hole for Fortuna in that round, making it a 10-7 round for no good reason. Texas has an unfortunate reputation in boxing—often, poor decisions are rendered, and the refereeing is also often ineffective. Referee Chapa continued that regrettable tradition tonight.

Towards the end of round four, the fighters were jockeying for position and fighting in close range. Granados pushed Fortuna up against the ropes, which were loose. Fortuna fell through the ropes and appeared to have hit the back of his head or neck on a camera stand. He told an official that he wasn’t able to move his neck and the fight ended as a No Contest since round four had not completed (if it had, we would have gone to the scorecards for a decision).

Fortuna was carried away on a stretcher and was taken to a hospital for screening. Hopefully it’s a minor injury and he’ll recover quickly.

“I pray he’s okay,” Granados said afterward. “I felt he played it off. I think he fell when my momentum was coming on. I think he was looking for an excuse on his way out. Let’s do the rematch. I’ve been dying for a fight at 140. It’s been three years since I fought at this weight.”

Check out more of Caryn’s work at http://www.CarynATate.com and follow her on Twitter@carynatate

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  1. Koolz 01:16pm, 06/19/2018

    I wasn’t impressed by Spence and if he thinks he can beat Crawford he is dreaming!
    and damn Low Blows!  are we back in Ward’s World.

  2. don from prov 08:09am, 06/18/2018

    Right to Jack Sharkey’s balls followed by hook to the head when Sharkey
    was complaining to the ref.  Protect oneself at all times is the thing, yes?

    I am going to check out Kabary Salem.

  3. Kid Blast 04:09am, 06/18/2018

    BTW, If you want to see a clinic on dirty fighting (I call it roughhousing), check out Saka Bika or Teddy Reid. But the dirtiest of all of the recent fighters was Kabary Salem. Killed Randall Carver with a head butt and broke a referee’s nose with one and injured another. Very dangerous person to fight. Tough but dirty to the max. Check out his youtubes. You will be shocked.

  4. Kid Blast 03:56am, 06/18/2018


  5. don from prov 03:48am, 06/18/2018

    I am all for a fighter working what he can, Ted.  No disagreement from me.

    But I will mention head work, elbow work, hip shots, etc.
    At times with admiration.
    P.S.  What is the Dempsey’s most famous combination?

  6. Kid Blast 11:54am, 06/17/2018

    Don, a shot is “low” only if the referee says it’s low. Of course, Cole is somewhat limited, but still, unless a ref says “no no,” you keep on doing what you do best.

    As for Ward, haters will hate. It’s what they do best behind the safety of the keyboard.

  7. don from prov 10:25am, 06/17/2018

    so, it’s cool to jump all over ward when shots stray low, but

    two egregious spence nut breakers in a partial round can’t be mentioned?
    P.S.  i love watching spence and hope for a fast turnaround fight time for him

  8. Your Name 08:49am, 06/17/2018

    Poor sport. Whiny whiny whiny…you don’t like Spence.  ^^^^^  change your tampon.

  9. Your Name 08:32am, 06/17/2018

    Another thread ruined by an inane post

  10. Balaamsass 03:02am, 06/17/2018

    100 to 1odds not mentioned in your write up….you couldn’t even get a bet down on this farce in Vegas?! Spence got pissed because Ocampo landed some punches and actually was trying to fight him! “Thudding” nut shot also not mentioned in your article set up the finishing liver shot….of course Larry Cole missed it too because that’s just what that Texas asshat does! Fuzznutz boxing “fans” as well could care less about the low blow because the finishing shot was so “pretty” and beside that Spence “would have knocked him out at some point any damn way”!

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