Poor Judging Cannot Be Allowed To Blight Terence Crawford Vs Errol Spence Jr

There has been some controversial calls lately. This fight can't afford one
10:00, 17 Jun 2023

WBC, WBA and IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr will finally look to unify his titles with WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford. The Sportsman have already given you the lowdown on how the fight might play out. But what about the aspects that the fighters can’t control. Namely, how might the judging effect this highly-anticipated match-up?

Judging has been a hot-button topic in boxing recently. Whether it’s Josh Taylor’s bitterly debated majority decision win over Jack Catterall last year or Devin Haney’s divisive nod over Vasiliy Lomachenko a few weeks back; scorecards are rubbing everyone the wrong way.


Alycia Baumgardner vs Mikaela Mayer, Teofimo Lopez vs Sandor Martin, Badou Jack vs Richard Rivera; the list goes on. Cynical fans will claim every fight is in some way crooked. While this is a gross exaggeration, there has certainly been enough questionable calls to make even the most even-handed enthusiast worry.

So where does Crawford vs Spence come in? This is as closely-matched a top fight as we have had in quite some time in the men’s sport. They’re both unbeaten world champions. Between them they have cleared out every significant welterweight boxer of their era. While no fight can be entirely predicted beforehand with any semblance of accuracy, it is fair to say this one is set to be close.


A close fight will leave significant space for interpretation on the part of the three scoring judges. While Crawford has stopped his previous ten opponents, none have existed on the plain of ‘The Truth’. Spence meanwhile has three decision wins from his seven world title victories. Once again, he has never faced a man the quality of ‘Bud’. Given everything we know about these fighters, it looks like a game of fine margins.

Fine margins mean that the judges will be asked to do a lot of heavy lifting in terms of colouring perceptions of the fight. With that comes risk. Ask Jack Catterall or Mikaela Mayer. The difference here is that any misrepresentation of the action will have taken place in the biggest fight of the year and one of the biggest of the decade. It will produce a stain so big boxing itself may not be able to scrub it off.

Fans are already losing patience with judging. Some reactions are storm in a teacup stuff. Social media dwellers desperate to take an extreme view one way or another. But other cases contain very valid consternation that threatens a viewers future enjoyment and engagement. Why watch if everything you’ve seen is rendered irrelevant by incompetent judging. Sport at its heart is a case of may the best competitor win. Why follow one in which that competitor is denied?

There will be other bad decisions this year and beyond. It’s the nature of the beast and boxing has been rife with such putrid calls for as long as it has existed. But none would be as damaging as Crawford vs Spence ending in controversial fashion. This fight has gestated for too long. It’s ramifications are too significant. It is an event too necessary to the health of the sport to be damaged in such a way. No sport is perfect and boxing gets a lot wrong. But on 29th July in Las Vegas, it must get it right.

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