Errol Spence Jr And Terence Crawford Prepare To Define Their Legacies

The outcome of this fight will impact these boxers forever
09:00, 28 Jul 2023

No matter how many fights a boxer has, there is always one that first comes to mind when you mention their name. ‘Marvelous’ Marvin Hagler’s name immediately conjures his furious three rounds in the company of Thomas ‘Hitman’ Hearns. Muhammad Ali, despite the ‘Thrilla’ and the time he sent Sonny Liston sprawling, lives forever in the balmy climate of Zaire, perennially making George Foreman look foolish. Mike Tyson, for all the chills, spills and knockouts, may as well be enshrined in bronze with a piece of Evander Holyfield’s ear hanging from his lips.

You cannot always identify which fights will define a fighter ahead of time, but this Saturday is one of those rare occasions. Terence Crawford meets Errol Spence Jr for the undisputed welterweight championship this weekend in Las Vegas. For all their championships, all their victories and all their brilliance; the reputations of these two outstanding fighters will be decided this weekend.

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If you were to develop the perfect boxing match in a laboratory, the outcome of your experiment would be a fight like this one. Between them, the principals hold every welterweight championship belt. Terence Crawford is the WBO champion. Spence holds the WBC, WBA and IBF crowns. Neither man has ever tasted defeat as a professional. Each man has a skillset with no glaring weaknesses. Both are superb defensive boxers. Each has respectable power that has taken out the illustrious likes of Amir Khan, Shawn Porter (Crawford), Lamont Peterson, Yordenis Ugas (Spence) and Kell Brook (both). These are quick, well-schooled modern fighters who boast a traditional competitive spirit that is fast becoming antique in this era of reluctance.

There are differences of course. Crawford has won titles at several weights, reigning at lightweight, light welterweight and now welterweight. However, Spence is a career welterweight. Crawford has 17 world title fights under his belt to Spence’s seven. The latter is the younger man, though. Spence is 33 years old to Crawford’s 35. Spence is the taller boxer while Crawford boasts the bigger reach. These contrasts contribute as much to this fight’s magnetism as the similarities. 

The winner of this fight will go down in history as the best welterweight of this generation. These are the two men who, between them, have dominated the division in the six years since Floyd Mayweather retired. Both tried to get ‘Money’ and his great rival, Manny Pacquiao into the ring. They were unable to do so and instead, Yordenis Ugas punched the Filipino icon into retirement. Spence then manhandled Ugas and won the WBA title in the process. That set the table for this long-desired undisputed championship clash.

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Crawford goes in as the favourite, but it is the narrow margins that make this one exciting. Two expert boxers who have demonstrated multiple ways to win over their long careers facing off. Look for multiple shifts in strategy as Spence and Crawford jockey for position. Who will opt for power? Who will opt for speed? Will it be tactical or will the desperation to make history see the fighters give in and go to war?

On the one hand, even the loser of this bout can look back on an unbelievable career. Each man is a world champion of the highest repute. But equally, steel sharpens steel. True greatness comes when you meet an opponent who is your complete and total match. Winning this fight will catapult one of these men into the stratosphere. The loser of Spence-Crawford will go down as one of the best fighters of his generation. The winner just might go down as the best. 

Boxing doesn’t produce these fights very often. Ones in which we know history will be made before the bell has even rung. Were it two other boxers preparing to clash in a fight of this magnitude, you might worry if they could deliver on such promise. But in the gloved hands of Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford and Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr, you feel safe. Secure in the knowledge they understand the weight of history upon them. Two greats enter the ring on Saturday night in Nevada. Only one can emerge as the greatest.

spence/crawford fight odds*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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