FRISCO, Texas - About an hour after welterweight world titleholder Errol Spence Jr. demolished overmatched mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo on Saturday night, knocking him out with a wicked right hook to the rib cage in a homecoming fight at the Ford Center, attention quickly turned to what's next for the emerging star.
Spence plans to fight for a third time this year in the fall and would like a title unification fight but that's easier said than done. So his idea? A fight with former world titlist Jessie Vargas.
Titleholder Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) is on the shelf with an injury, not due back until at least August -- more likely September -- and is admittedly not in any hurry to fight Spence. Newly crowned titlist Terence Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) looms for a huge fight down the road but it has zero chance of taking place this year.
And former titleholders Danny Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) and Shawn Porter (28-2-1, 17 KOs) are penciled in to meet for a vacant belt on Aug. 25, though the fight has not yet been made official, and the winner probably would not be available for Spence until early 2019.
So what then for the 28-year-old Spence (24-0, 21 KOs)?
Cuban contender Yordenis Ugas (22-3, 11 KOs), 31, of Miami, Florida, would like a shot at Spence and said so after scoring four knockdowns of journeyman Jonathan Batista in a second-round knockout win on the Spence-Ocampo undercard.
When asked about the prospect of a fight with Ugas, Spence said he was not interested. If he can't get the unification fight he wants this fall, he prefers to fight Vargas. "Ugas is a good fighter," Spence said during his post-fight news conference. "But like I said, I want big names. I mean, if I was looking at somebody, Jessie Vargas would be in front of Ugas. So like I said, I'm looking for big names. I'm looking for ex-world champions and guys that I can build my legacy on.
"No disrespect to Ugas. He's a great fighter and he's ranked in the IBF, so I'm gonna have to fight him (eventually). But, you know, I'm looking to build my legacy and me beating Ugas is not gonna get me anywhere."
Ugas is close to the mandatory position thanks to his seventh-round knockout of Ray Robinson in a Feb. 17 title elimination fight in Las Vegas.
Vargas (28-2-1, 10 KOs), 29, of Las Vegas, is a former junior welterweight and welterweight world titleholder who lost his welterweight belt to Manny Pacquiao by decision in November 2016. He is 1-0-1 since, having fought to a draw with former titlist Adrien Broner on April 21.
When told of Spence's comments, Vargas, who is on vacation in Italy, told ESPN by text message on Tuesday, "I'm willing to fight anyone. You know me."
Vargas said that because he is on vacation he did not have a chance to watch Spence's knockout of Ocampo, but said a fight with him would interest him, but probably not this fall because he said his camp is in negotiations for a rematch with Broner (33-3-1, 24 KOs).
"I didn't watch it because I am in Italy, but I heard he earned a first-round KO," Vargas said. "I think he's a good fighter and now another force in the division. We are going to have some great fights these next few years. I understand why he wants to fight. He wants to be in the biggest fights of the year. It's a fight we can make happen after I fight Broner."