Errol Spence Jr. nervous but steeled for hometown title bout

FRISCO, Texas -- Welterweight world titlist Errol Spence Jr. looked out at the crowd of people who had turned out on a blazing-hot Friday afternoon to see him weigh in for his fight against Carlos Ocampo, and it was the realization of a dream.

Spence, who has had only one previous fight in his home region of Dallas -- and that was in 2015, before he won a 147-pound title -- has wanted a hometown title fight, and he will have one when he makes his second defense on Saturday (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET) in the main event of the first boxing spectacle inside the Ford Center at The Star, the training facility of the Dallas Cowboys.

But on Friday, the fans assembled in front of the building for the weigh-in at Tostitos Championship Plaza, where Spence was the one they had come to see.

"Definitely this has been bigger than I expected," Spence said after weighing in at a rock-solid 146.75 pounds. "I get a little bit nervous when they say I'm fighting in front of 14,000-plus fans. But I have the support from my home state of Texas and Dallas. I love it.

"I've got a tough opponent prepared to take my title in front of my hometown fans, and I'm not going to let that happen. I won't let him upset me in front of my hometown fans. I'm going to put on a great show and great performance like you always see."

Spence (23-0, 20 KOs), 28, of DeSoto, Texas, is the overwhelming favorite against the green Ocampo and knows a victory will put him in position for major fights against the likes of fellow titleholders Terence Crawford and Keith Thurman and former titleholders Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter, who are due to meet for a vacant belt later this summer.

"I've been sending messages [to the top welterweights]. I don't have to send any more," Spence said. "I'm the best welterweight in the division and the most feared welterweight in the division. So they have to send a message to me since I'm the top dog."

Ocampo (22-0, 13 KOs), 22, the mandatory challenger from Mexico, was 146.5 pounds and sounded confident despite the long odds.

"This is a great moment for me," he said through a translator. "I always dreamed of having this moment of fighting for a world title and it's great that it's coming against a great champion like Errol Spence Jr. I came prepared to give everyone a surprise and [Saturday] you will all see it."

Spence's official purse is $1.2 million, but he is guaranteed more, and Ocampo's official purse is $75,000.

While the fighters in the main event made weight with ease, there was drama with the co-feature between junior featherweight titlist Danny Roman (24-2-1, 9 KOs), 28, of Los Angeles, and interim titlist Moises "Chucky'' Flores (25-0, 17 KOs), 31, of Mexico.

While Roman was 121.75 pounds for his second 122-pound title defense, Flores was 123.5 on his first try. He had two hours to lose 1.5 pounds but could not do it.

The scale was moved to his hotel, where Flores spent time in a hot tub trying to cut weight, but after exhausting the full two hours, he could get down to only 123 pounds and was stripped of his interim belt.

The camps later came to a financial agreement under which Flores will pay an undisclosed amount of money from his $30,000 purse to Roman, whose purse is $50,000, and the fight will take place. If Roman loses, he will not lose the belt, per WBA rules.

"I was a little surprised [he didn't make weight] because it's a world championship fight and you expect him to be professional," Roman said. "I trained with heavier guys than me, so I'm ready for whatever he brings."

Both fighters in the opening bout, a 10-rounder at junior welterweight, made weight. Javier Fortuna (33-2-1, 23 KOs), 28, a former junior lightweight titlist moving up from lightweight, and Adrian Granados (18-6-2, 12 KOs), 28, of Chicago, who is moving down to his more natural weight class after two losses in a row at welterweight, were both 139.75 pounds.

"Once the promoter calls and give me a name, I never say no," Fortuna said through a translator. "There were a few names they gave and I said yes, I'd fight them.

"But that dropped off. They then gave another name -- that dropped off. Then at 140 they said Granados and I said yes. I'm going to make a statement at 140."

Said Granados: "Finally I have a good fight at the weight class I've been wanting to fight at. I've been waiting for a fight at 140 for three years now since my last big win at this weight. There were opportunities [at 147] that I couldn't pass up and, honestly, nobody wanted no smoke with me at 140. We're here now. We're both ready and we're going to start off the telecast with a bang."