Carlos Ocampo (left) and Omir Rodriguez. Photo courtesy of TV Azteca
Carlos Ocampo is positioning himself to challenge the best at 154 pounds this year.
Ocampo must take care of business Saturday night in a stay-busy bout, when he squares off against Omir Rodriguez at La Casa de los Zonkeys, in Tijuana, Mexico. The 10-round bout will headline a Zanfer Boxing card (TV Azteca, 12 a.m. ET/ 9 p.m. PT).
At Friday’s weigh-in, Ocampo (31-1, 19 knockouts) weighed in at 153 pounds. Rodriguez weighed 151.5 pounds.
Since losing to IBF welterweight titleholder Errol Spence in June 2018, Ocampo, who resides in nearby Ensenada, moved up to the junior middleweight division, where he has won his last nine bouts, six by stoppage.
In his most recent bout on July 17 of last year, Ocampo defeated Luis Montelongo by unanimous decision. Three months before the Montelongo win, the 26-year-old knocked out hard-hitting Ivan Matute in Round 2.
The junior middleweight division runs deep with talent. With IBF/WBA/WBC titlist Jermell Charlo and WBO beltholder Brian Castano facing each other in a rematch in March, Ocampo hopes to face any of the top fighters at 154 pounds later this year.
Rodriguez (11-3-1, 5 KOs), who resides in Colon City, Panama, has not fought since losing by knockout to Damian Rodriguez in February 2020. He had won his previous four bouts, three of which went the distance.
In the co-feature, junior welterweight Carlos Sanchez will face Jose Luis Espinoza in an eight-round bout.
Sanchez (21-0, 17 KOs), who resides in San Felipe, Mexico, stopped Adalberto Moreno in the opening round of his most recent bout on September 28. The win over Moreno marked Sanchez’s second fight under the Zanfer Boxing banner.
Espinoza (14-5-1, 9 KOs) was knocked out by once-beaten Joe Hernandez in his most recent bout on August 28. The 36-year-old from Ocotlan, Mexico, has lost four of his last six bouts.
In six-round bouts, junior welterweight Abimael Cruz (5-1, 5 KOs) will square off against Ulises Perez (17-17, 8 KOs) and junior bantamweight George Navarro (7-0-1, 3 KOs) will face Javier Marquez (10-10, 7 KOs). In a clash of unbeaten junior flyweights, Jonathan Pinedo (4-0-1, 1 KO) will battle Jesus Mercado (2-0, 2 KOs).
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @FSalazarBoxing.