Avila Perspective, Chap. 246: Undefeated Welterweight Kings, Seniesa and More


When Terence Crawford meets Errol Spence Jr. in the prize ring in Las Vegas it marks a special rare occurrence for professional boxing.

It’s been 24 years since two undefeated welterweights ranked among the top fighters pound-for-pound met in a Las Vegas boxing ring. That was Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya.

It’s happening again.

WBO welterweight titlist Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs) looks to determine if he, or WBA, WBC, IBF titlist Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) deserve all the juice when they meet Saturday July 29, at T-Mobile Arena in the Las Vegas Strip. Showtime pay-per-view will televise the TGB Promotions card.

"It would be a dream come true to become the first welterweight undisputed champion of the world in the four-belt era,” said Spence. “I watched all the great fighters as a kid. Now, I get to have my moment.”

Back in September 1999, De La Hoya was undefeated and coming off wins against Ike Quartey, Oba Carr and Julio Cesar Chavez. Trinidad was a wrecking machine and bowled over Pernell Whitaker and Hugo Pineda. The two welterweight kings met at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

It was a packed arena and celebrities like Jack Nicholson, Big Pun and Jennifer Tilly were among the stars eager to watch the two welterweight super stars. That night De La Hoya raced in front with a hit and move strategy for the first eight rounds. Then, Trinidad slipped into a more offensive gear and won by majority decision.

Neither fighter was knocked down nor hurt in the epic match.

Now we have another pair of undefeated welterweights with sterling records, speed, power and both eager to reach superstar status.

Spence, 33, fights out of a southpaw stance and hails from Texas where he developed his style that took him to the 2012 London Olympics. As a pro, he’s never tasted defeat but had a razor-close battle against Shawn Porter four years ago in Los Angeles. Spence scored a late knockdown and won by a split decision.

Crawford, 35, also fights out of a southpaw stance or orthodox, depending on the moment. He’s racked up world titles in the lightweight, super lightweight and welterweight divisions. The first time I saw Crawford perform was on the undercard of Brandon Rios and Richar Abril in April 2012 in Las Vegas.

One common foe was Shawn Porter who was stopped by Crawford in the 10th round at the Mandalay Bay. Porter retired from fighting immediately after the fight.

Each has their own unique way of stalking an opponent. Spence prefers a strategic technical pressure style and batters away. Crawford has a more herky-jerky approach and uses angles to open up attacks.

"My name is already up there with the all-time greatest welterweight fighters. It's just a matter of going out there on Saturday and putting the cherry on top and furthering my legacy," said Crawford.

Both welterweights have solid chins, speed and power. The winner may end up as the pound for pound king depending on the mode of victory.

A guy from Japan named Naoya Inoue just obliterated super bantamweight champ Stephen Fulton to win his fourth division world title. He may have something to say about the new kingpin of boxing.

T-Mobile Undercard

Mexico’s Isaac “Pit Bull” Cruz (24-2-1, 17 KOs) returns and faces Chicago’s undefeated Giovanni Cabrera (21-0, 7 KOs) in a lightweight battle and title eliminator for the WBA and WBC titles in the semi-main event. Cruz has become very popular since matching blows with Gervonta “Tank” Davis two years ago in Los Angeles.

Also, legendary Nonito Donaire (42-7, 28 KOs) returns and meets Mexico’s Alexandro Santiago (27-3-5, 14 KOs) for the vacant WBC bantamweight world title. Donaire lost that title to Inoue in his last fight. The Japanese champion has moved up.


Well, Naoya Inoue has done it again.

After winning three division world titles including the undisputed bantamweight championship, Japan’s Naoya “Monster” Inoue went after WBA and WBC super bantamweight titlist Stephen Fulton and took his belts too.

Now Inoue (25-0, 22 KOs) has four division world titles. Many expect new pound for pound lists to name Inoue as the number one fighter in the world. It remains to be seen until Spence and Crawford are finished with their affair.

Can anyone stop the Monster?

Seniesa Estrada Owns Friday


Speaking about pound for pound fighters, petite Seniesa “Super Bad’ Estrada (on the left) claims Friday night all her own when she defends the WBA and WBC minimumweight world titles against Leonela Yudica of Argentina.

East L.A’s Estrada (24-0) meets Argentina’s Yudica (19-1-3) at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas on Friday July 28. ESPN+ will stream the Top Rank Card live.

Yudica is a former world champion who lost her IBF flyweight title to Mexico’s Arely Mucino in a brutal struggle. She is dropping down in weight to meet Estrada for the minimumweight world titles.

“I’m positive that they have underestimated me. I have had a lot of fights, and I have a lot of experience. I defended my flyweight title 10 times,” said Yudica at the press conference. “And while it is a great challenge to be going down in weight, I am ready and prepared to show that I have everything it takes to become world champion again.”

Estrada has won titles in the light flyweight and flyweight titles as well.

“I never overlook any opponent. I know that she has faced tough champions before, and she is not afraid to take a risk and fight champions. But my style is unlike any other champion she’s faced,” said Estrada.

Fights to Watch

Fri. ESPN+ 4:30 p.m. Seniesa Estrada (24-0) vs Leonela Yudica (19-1-3); Abraham Nova (22-1) vs Jonathan Romero (35-1).

Sat. Showtime ppv 5 p.m. Errol Spence Jr. (28-0) vs Terence Crawford (39-0); Isaac Cruz (24-2-1) vs Giovanni Cabrera (21-0); Nonito Donaire (42-7) vs Alexandro Santiago (27-3-5).

Estrada-Yudica photo credit: Mikey Williams / Top Rank via Getty Images