When Showtime unveiled its loaded boxing schedule for the first half of 2018 last month at a glitzy media presentation in New York, one of the fights announced was Errol Spence Jr. in a welterweight title defense on June 16.
However, Spence's opponent was not finalized, though he had a mandatory defense due against Carlos Ocampo. But on Tuesday evening his opponent was set for the fight that will take place at a venue to be determined in Spence's hometown of Dallas.
Spence will indeed make his mandatory defense against Ocampo after promoter Tom Brown of TGB Promotions, representing Spence, and Zanfer Promotions, which promotes Ocampo, made a deal for the fight more than a week before a purse bid had been scheduled for March 6 at the IBF offices in Springfield, New Jersey.
Had the fight been put up for a purse bid, Spence would have been entitled to 85 percent of the winning bid and Ocampo 15 percent. But the IBF on Tuesday night sent a letter to all of its registered promoters to alert them that the camps had reached an agreement and that the purse bid had been canceled.
Spence (23-0, 20 KOs), 28, won a 147-pound world title last May when he traveled to Kell Brook's hometown of Sheffield, England, and knocked him out in the 11th round of a dominant performance.
Spence didn't fight again until Jan. 20, when he headlined the first Showtime card of the year at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, and thrashed former titlist Lamont Peterson until Peterson trainer Barry Hunter threw in the towel after the seventh round.
Spence would like to schedule a unification fight with two-belt titlist Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs), but Thurman is not interested yet as he is coming off elbow surgery and a long layoff ahead of what is expected to be a soft-touch opponent on May 19, and Spence also has the mandatory defense to take care of before that fight is remotely possible.
Ocampo (22-0, 13 KOs) is a prospect but has yet to face a top opponent, so he will come into the fight with Spence taking an enormous step up in competition. He is coming off a seventh-round knockout of Dario Ferman on Nov. 11 in Mexico.