The fight that boxing fans have been hungering for throughout the past few years is finally here. When Terence Crawford and Errol Spence hear the bell for Round 1 of their epic clash on Saturday night, they’ll finally figure out who is the best welterweight and perhaps the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. To say there’s plenty at stake in this matchup is a massive understatement. Here’s everything you need to know about Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence, including the odds, their records and a prediction on who will win.
The two have been circling each other for years, and negotiations between them had stalled multiple times. But now Crawford (who has one of the 147-pound belts and who is No. 1 on my pound-for-pound list) and Spence (who has the other three welterweight titles and who is No. 2 on my list) will fight for the undisputed championship.
“I think I could beat anybody at any sport,” Crawford said. “That’s just my nature. I play to win. If I’m going to challenge you, I’m coming to win, and I believe that wholeheartedly. That could be anybody. Even if I’m playing Michael Jordan in one-on-one.”
The undercard will see some fun action in the lower weight classes as well. Rising contenders in the lightweight division meet when Isaac Cruz takes on Giovanni Cabrera in a WBA title eliminator. Cruz is best known for giving Gervonta “Tank” Davis one of his toughest tests to date. Seventeen of Cruz’s 24 pro wins have come by knockout. Plus, former unified champion Nonito Donaire is back and looking to reclaim a title when he takes on Alexandro Santiago for the vacant WBC bantamweight title. And rising contenders meet to open the PPV when Sergio Garcia and Yoenis Tellez meet at junior middleweight.
From the time such a big fight is even a rumor, everyone wants to know who the biggest names in the sport are picking to emerge as the winner. For months, some of the biggest and best fighters, trainers and analysts on the planet have been sharing their picks for who emerges on top when Crawford and Spence go toe-to-toe to crown the first undisputed welterweight champion in the four-belt era.
Fortunately, the fighters took matters into their own hands. Crawford said he pushed the fight negotiations forward with a lengthy phone call in March and set the wheels in motion for what is arguably the most relevant boxing match since Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao in 2015.
“I knew I had to make it happen,” Spence, 33, said at his media workout last week in Las Vegas. “This is what everyone wanted. We have to prove who the man is in the welterweight division and in boxing. The winner of this fight is the best fighter in boxing. Period.”
No, Spence and Crawford won’t come close to matching the astronomical revenue generated by Mayweather and Pacquiao, records that stand today, but unlike Mayweather and Pacquiao, both all-time greats, it can be argued that Spence and Crawford, 35, are peaking athletically.
They will enter the ring on Saturday in Las Vegas with their unblemished records intact and with all major four welterweight titles on the line. Spence, who holds the WBC, WBA and IBF titles, will meet Crawford, the WBO champion, for welterweight supremacy if not pound-for-pound supremacy too. Spence No. 4 boxer regardless of weight, while Crawford tops the list at No. 1.
“This fight is happening at the right time,” Crawford said at his own media workout last week in Las Vegas. “All the belts are on the line, so there’s even more to fight for. What better way to have this fight than to have it for the undisputed welterweight title?”
The journey to Spence-Crawford was a long and winding one, but it’s here at long last. This is how the fight finally came to fruition. As far as megafights in Las Vegas goes, this is as big as it gets and I anticipate bettors will see plus money odds on Spence and pounce, which will get the line to move closer to the middle as ringwalks approach. When I go to the window on Saturday afternoon I will be paying close attention and continue to lock in Spence while he is the underdog. If I am going to go with my gut and pick Spence to win this fight, I will look at the better odds of him winning via decision (+230), as I do not see either fighters being knocked out.
Said Spence: “I’ve been fighting the best for a long time. When you see all the legends of the sport, they fought each other and made historic fights. That’s what I want to do. Terence is one of the best fighters in the world and I’m one of the best fighters in the world, so we had to make this happen.”
Though this match feels like a 50-50 tossup, Crawford is the slight betting favorite. That could be because he seems to be slightly stronger and perhaps slightly more skilled than Spence. He also has a mean streak in the ring that not many other top-notch boxers have shown.
Brook was in control over the first half of the bout, but Spence broke through in the second half on the strength of his precise southpaw jab and body punching. As Spence poured on the punishment, he closed Brook’s left eye and forced him to take a knee from a barrage of punches in Round 10.
In Round 11, Brook was on the canvas again. This time, the referee waved the fight off.
Spence fractured Brook’s left orbital in the bout, a fight after Brook suffered a fractured right orbital when he faced Gennadiy Golovkin.
“He’s one of the best kids I’ve been in with, if not the best,” Brook said of Spence after the fight.
Said Spence, “A true champion goes anywhere to fight. He has gone to America and fought, so I came here. The goal is to unify and become undisputed welterweight champion of the world.”
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