FRISCO, Texas -- Welterweight world titleholder Errol Spence Jr. wanted to dazzle in his first hometown title defense against mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo.
He also wanted to send a message to the rest to the top fighters in the deep 147-pound division that he is the man to beat. But the fight ended so quickly that Spence couldn't really claim to have done either given how overmatched Ocampo appeared.
Spence blew through Ocampo easily, knocking him out with a right hand to the body in the first round on Saturday night in the main event of the first boxing match inside the Ford Center at The Star, the training facility of the Dallas Cowboys.
The sellout crowd of 12,604 cheered wildly for Spence as he made his way to the ring for his second title defense, and just a few minutes later it was cheering again as Ocampo went down from a shot that didn't look like much of a knockout blow.
"I was a little disappointed. I wanted to give the crowd their money's worth. I wanted him to sustain a bit and give him some punishment, but the body shot got him and I dropped him," Spence said. "It was a great victory. It was really short, so it is hard to describe. I took my time. I tried to use my jab. He was a little bit awkward, but I caught him and was able to actually hurt him. I thought he was going to be a little bit tougher, but I hit him with a body shot. I don't get paid for overtime. If I can get him out in the first, great, but I wanted to carry it, go to the fourth or fifth round for the fans."
After they spent the first couple of minutes sizing each other up, Spence began to fire powerful jabs and move forward. He forced Ocampo to the ropes and began to go to his body. And then he landed a left hand to the rib cage.
Ocampo went down to all fours and then pitched forward and put his forehead on the canvas as referee Laurence Cole counted him out at the end of the first round with the official time of 3 minutes.
"I knew if I hit him again he would probably drop. That was my game plan. I'm the body snatcher," said Spence, known as one of the sport's best body punchers. "If he reacts weirdly I just keep going to the body and I keep breaking him down."
After the fight was waved off, Spence (24-0, 21 KOs), a 28-year-old southpaw from nearby DeSoto, climbed the ring ropes and drank in the cheers from the crowd, but the result didn't show much. Coming into the fight, he already was viewed as perhaps the No. 1 welterweight in the world and one of the best pound-for-pound in boxing.
And Ocampo (22-1, 13 KOs), 22, was a massive underdog, a green prospect fighting outside of Mexico for the first time and given virtually no chance to win. He had never defeated a top opponent, yet the IBF positioned him as Spence's mandatory challenger in a head-scratching decision, meaning Spence had to fight him or risk being stripped of his title.
"l got a lot of experience out of fighting Errol," Ocampo said through an interpreter. "It would have been a very difficult fight for me. I got overconfident at the end of the round and he caught me."
Spence's handlers figured it was the perfect homecoming fight for Spence, who had boxed only once previously in the Dallas area, and that was a fifth-round knockout of Alejandro Barrera in 2015, four fights before Spence won his world title.
But it is clear from the excitement in the region during fight week and the fan turnout that Spence can become a major draw. He wants to keep fighting at home, especially after traveling to Kell Brook's hometown of Sheffield, England, in May 2017 and knocking him out in the 11th round before a crowd of more than 30,000 at an outdoor soccer stadium to win the title, and then defending it in January by stopping good pal Lamont Peterson in the seventh round in Brooklyn, New York.
"We'll definitely be back [to fight in the Dallas area] after I unify some titles," Spence said. "We'll make this an annual thing where I fight here. 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. Thank you to the whole Dallas Cowboys organization.
"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."
Cowboys owner Jones and many of the team's players were ringside for the fight.
"This room was full of Dallas Cowboys football players supporting you," Jones told Spence in the ring after the fight. "They share your passion. I saw a guy in this ring who knew what he wanted. When you knock a guy out by hitting him once on the side of his back, you're bad to the bone.
"I love [Spence's] awareness. He had a plan from the beginning. He is exceptionally gifted. He has family that is behind him, and our family, the Cowboys, want to be behind him as well. He can fight again tonight if someone wants to step up and fight him."
What Spence, whose purse was $1.2 million to Ocampo's $75,000, wanted next was not another fight Saturday. He wants a world title unification fight, be it against Keith Thurman, who has been sidelined for more than a year because of injuries; Terence Crawford, who moved up in weight last week and knocked out Jeff Horn in the ninth round to win a world title in his third weight division; or the winner of the fight between former titleholders Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter. They are penciled in to meet for a vacant belt on Aug. 25.
"I want to fight the best," Spence said, repeating a mantra he has maintained for the past few years. "Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter are fighting each other and I definitely want to make that a unifying fight. We both have the same management [Al Haymon], we both fight on Showtime. Why not make that happen? I definitely want that fight whenever it's available."
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