Crawford and Spence: Final Thoughts on Their Welterweight Showdown


By Rick Assad

Boxing's long and glorious list of legendary welterweights is studded with some of the biggest names in the history of the sport. On Saturday night at a jammed-packed T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. fought for the undisputed 147-pound title, but it was Crawford, who entered the ring bearing the WBO title, who etched his name among the ring immortals with a ninth-round stoppage of the previously unbeaten Spence. Behind a jackhammer jab and a vicious counterpunch, Crawford became the first male boxer in the four-belt era to be the undisputed champion in two weight classes and cemented his place at the top of the various pound-for-pound lists.

Spence, who has been one of the best of this generation, fought bravely, but was clearly no match for Crawford who knocked him down three times including once in the second round and twice in the seventh before referee Harvey Dock stepped in and ended the fight at the 2:32 mark.

"He was just better tonight. I make no excuses…It was an off night,'' admitted Spence, whose face was battered and bloodied, and whose record fell to 28-1 with 22 knockouts. “He was using his jab,'' he said. "And my timing was a little bit off and you know he was catching me in between shots.”

There was a rematch clause in the contract that Spence has 30 days to activate. As the winner, Crawford reportedly has the right to determine if the rematch is at 147 or 154 pounds.

Crawford said that he would be open for a rematch at the higher weight, but after Saturday’s lopsided bout, a rematch would seem to be entirely unnecessary and it wouldn’t be surprising if Crawford, now 40-0 with 31 knockouts, reneges on the deal and goes in a different direction.

Despite the setback, respect has to be paid to Spence, who previously owned the WBC, WBA and IBF belts. Spence could easily have ducked Crawford, but he took the difficult challenge. While his star dimmed significantly on Saturday, he can rise again. The New York-born left-hander needs to get back in the gym with trainer Derrick James and work to make himself what he was before Saturday's thrashing.

When the cards were on the table, Crawford, the Omaha, Nebraska, native, showed his true greatness on the biggest stage when his best was required.

Photo credit: Esther Lin / SHOWTIME