Welterweight world titleholder Errol Spence Jr. is eyeing a unification showdown with fellow titlist Keith Thurman later this year, but he has another fight that he must take.
Spence has been ordered to make a mandatory title defense against the undefeated -- but little known Carlos Ocampo.
Spence (23-0, 20 KO's), 28, of Desoto, Texas, is coming off an impressive eighth-round stoppage of former two-division world champion Lamont Peterson at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, where he retained his 147-pound world title for the first time following an 11th-round knockout of Kell Brook last May.
According to ESPN's Dan Rafael, the IBF sent Spence a letter, via promoter Tom Brown's TGB Promotions, ordering the bout.
"Dear Champion Errol Spence: Congratulations on your win over Lamont Peterson in (an) optional defense of the IBF welterweight title last Saturday, January 20, 2018, at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York. We wish you all the best for a long and illustrious career as the IBF welterweight champion."
The letter also explained that Spence's fight with Peterson was an exception to a mandatory defense that was approved with the condition that the winner face the next leading available contender. Ocampo was ranked No. 3, while the No. 2 and No. 1 positions were unfilled.
The IBF ordered Brown and Ocampo promoter Zanfer Promotions to make a deal by Feb. 22, or a purse bid will be ordered.
It is not likely, but if a purse bid is ordered, the split would be 85-15, with Spence taking the majority of the money. That is encouragement for Team Ocampo to negotiate for a larger slice of the apple pie.
Ocampo (22-0, 13 KO's), 22, of Mexico, has yet to face any top opponents, let alone any top prospects. He defeated Jorge Páez Jr., the son of legendary Mexican world champion Jorge Páez, on points in November 2015.
Spence has stated that he would like to fight three times in 2018. The 2012 Olympian only fought once in 2017.