FRISCO, Texas – Leave it to Cowboys COO Stephen Jones to lend some self-deprecating humor during the announcement of Dallas' own Errol Spence Jr. basically returning home to defend his IBF Welterweight World title right out here at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco.
"Tell you what, we don't get to – it's been too long since we've been touching champions," Jones said during the promotional press conference for the first boxing match inside Ford Center, scheduled for Saturday, June 16 at 9 p.m. "I grabbed Errol in there, and said, 'Let me touch.' It's been a long run for us to be called a champion."
But in all seriousness, Jones is delighted the home of the Dallas Cowboys will be able to play host to this championship event, undefeated Errol Spence Jr., 23-0, 20 by knockout, including the past 10 consecutively, meeting mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo, 22-0, with 13 KOs, the highest rated challenger.
"My hats off to Errol, to be able to come home to your hometown a champion and defend your championship," Jones said.
"This is what we thought about when we opened The Star, to have unique things like this."
For sure, the versatile Ford Center has been host to a variety of events, including high school football games/playoffs, recently the Conference USA men's and women's championship basketball tournament, an indoor track meet, soccer matches and even lacrosse, not to mention banquets and award ceremonies. Now boxing indoors for the first time.
Tickets for this Showtime Main Event to be televised live go on sale 10 a.m. (CT) Friday, May 4, on SeatGeek.com, priced at $50. Ford Center can seat 12,000 for a football game, but with the ring likely centered in the middle of the Cowboys' 100-yard indoor practice field, the seating capacity should increase with probable floor seating.
There is some serious uniqueness to this event.
First, as pointed out by Brian Custer, host of Showtime Championship Boxing, this will be the very first time Showtime Championship Boxing has staged an event in the Dallas area. Also, this is the first title fight featuring a Dallas native fighting here in the Dallas area in 50 years. For the last time that happened you'd have to go back to April 16, 1968, when well-known hometown Hall of Fame boxer and trainer Curtis Cokes successfully defended his title in the old Memorial Auditorium in Dallas, scoring a fifth-round TKO of Willie Ludick to retain his WBC and WBA welterweight titles.
Spence, the former 2012 U.S. Olympic boxer from suburban DeSoto, plans on defending his title, too, for the second time, this time against Ocampo, who not only will be making his first world title bout appearance, but also fighting for the first time outside of Mexico and in the United States.
When asked if Ocampo would become his 11th consecutive knockout victim, Spence said, "Definitely, I mean I know my motto, it's always man down. This is Man Down Promotions, so I got to live up to it. So, I mean, it's something I don't look for, it's just something I just let happen naturally because if it's something you look for you might over-exert yourself and look sloppy doing so.
"I just let it come to me, but we definitely want to end the night early."
But Ocampo certainly has other plans.
"Try it," he said through his interpreter. "Try it and you see I'm ready to knock you down."
One way or another, there will be a champion the night of June 16 at Ford Center that Stephen Jones can touch.