FRISCO, Texas — Welterweight world titleholder Errol Spence Jr. exudes a laid back personality and has an easy smile. He’s not big on trash talk either, but he is confident and that was on display again on Thursday.
He came face to face with mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo at the final pre-fight news conference before they fight Saturday (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET) in the main event of the first boxing event inside the Ford Center at The Star, the training facility of the Dallas Cowboys, in a homecoming fight for Spence.
“I’m here to do my job, which is to win and look good winning,” said Spence, who will be making his second title defense.
He has knocked out 10 consecutive opponents — including Kell Brook in the 11th round in his hometown of Sheffield, England 13 months ago — and said that Ocampo (22-0, 13 KOs), 22, would be his next victim.
“Just try,” Ocampo responded, speaking through a translator.
That comment brought a smile to Spence’s face. He appreciated Ocampo’s feistiness and said he expects him to give his all in his biggest fight.
“Ocampo is very dangerous because he has nothing to lose,” Spence said. “It’s his first title fight, which is a position I’ve been in before. I had a lot of fire and I felt like I had nothing to lose. I’m sure he’s been training hard and is focused. I know he’s fighting for his family so he’s going to come to fight. I want a guy who’s going to test me so the crowd gets their money’s worth.”
That said, Spence (23-0, 20 KOs), a 28-year-old fighter from DeSoto, Texas, plans to make another statement in his continuing effort to prove he’s the No. 1 welterweight in the world.
“Every fight is a statement fight. It doesn’t matter who I’m fighting,” he sad. “All eyes are on me in the welterweight division. People want to see if there are kinks in my armor, so it’s important for me to put on a great performance and prove I’m the best welterweight in the division.”
Ocampo, fighting outside of Mexico for the first time, said he feels no pressure. He said that it was Spence who is feeling the heat.
“We’re here on the same stage and I’m ready,” Ocampo said. “I’m appreciative to be here and I’m calm. I have nothing to lose. He has all the pressure of being in his hometown. I’m just relaxed and ready to fight. I’ve studied his fights enough. What’s most important is that I know that he has everything to lose and I don’t. He has a home-field advantage, but at the end of the day, it’s just two guys in the ring.”
Spence said that perhaps there is pressure on him, given how big of a favorite he is, but that it’s nothing new for him.
“I’ve had pressure my whole boxing career,” he said. “Being an Olympian [in 2012] and a top prospect was pressure, but then I also went overseas to take the title from a top fighter. I’ve always overcome the pressure on me and I’m going to overcome another test on Saturday night.”
Junior featherweight world titleholder Danny Roman (24-2-1, 9 KOs), 28, of Los Angeles, will make his second defense against interim titlist Moises “Chucky” Flores (25-0, 17 KOs), 31, of Mexico, in the co-feature.
“We’re going to be ready for his pressure,” Roman said. “I’m going to fight a smart fight. If we have a chance to take him out early, then I’m going to jump on it. You never know what could happen in a fight. Flores is not an easy opponent. Nobody is at this level.”
Flores said to expect fireworks.
“Roman is a good fighter, that’s why we’re here. Hopefully on Saturday night he won’t be able to take my volume of punches,” he said. “I’m going to bring pressure for every moment of the fight and we’ll see if he holds up. Everyone knows that I like to come forward and make exciting fights. There will be drama and I’m expecting to come out of there with my hand raised.”
In the 10-round junior welterweight opener, Javier Fortuna (33-2-1, 23 KOs), 28, a former junior lightweight titlist moving up from lightweight, meets Adrian Granados (18-6-2, 12 KOs), 28, of Chicago.
“I know that Granados has fought a lot of top opposition, but on Saturday night, I’m going to be a different fighter than he’s ever seen,” said the Dominican Republic’s Fortuna, who is coming off a split-decision loss to lightweight titlist Robert Easter Jr. in a January bout for which Fortuna missed weight and couldn’t win the belt. “This will be a battle. Everyone will see on fight night what the difference is between me and him. I’m a special fighter.”
Granados has lost two fights in a row, decisions to former titleholders Shawn Porter and Adrien Broner, in welterweight bouts. Now he’s returning to his more natural junior welterweight division.
“I’m always going to bring the same fire and determination to the ring,” Granados said. “If my opponent is brave enough to stand with me, then it’s going to be all action. Either way, I’m coming to break him down and get the victory. Recently, I’ve gone against a lot of opposition that is naturally bigger than me, but I’ve never backed down or been afraid of any of them. This fight is going to prove that I belong in the upper echelon of boxing. I’ve checked out Fortuna’s fights and he’s a scrapper. He likes to bang too in the ring just like I do. It’s all the recipes for a can’t-miss fight.”