Arguably the most sought-after matchup since Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao is finally here, as undefeated stars Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford will battle it out for undisputed Welterweight supremacy TONIGHT (Sat., July 29, 2023) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Spence — a former Olympian — cut a bloody path through his fellow top Welterweights to claim his spot at the top, culminating in an outright mauling of Yordenis Ugas last year. Crawford, meanwhile, previously held a title at 135 pounds and reigned undisputed at 140 before moving to 147, where he’s won all seven of his bouts by knockout.
The evening also sees Lightweight contender Isaac Cruz battle unbeaten Giovanni Cabrera and the legendary Nonito Donaire battle Alexandro Santiago for WBC’s vacant Super Bantamweight belt, but all eyes are on the main event.
Let’s have a look:
Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr.
Record: 28-0 (22 KO)
Last Five Fights: Yordenis Ugas (TKO-10), Danny Garcia (UD), Shawn Porter (SD), Mikey Garcia (UD), Carlos Ocampo (KO-1)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Kell Brook
Terence “Bud” Crawford
Record: 39-0 (30 KO)
Last Five Fights: David Avanesyan (KO-5), Shawn Porter (TKO-10), Kell Brook (TKO-4), Egidijus Kavaliauskas (TKO-9), Amir Khan (TKO-6)
Significant Victories (other than those mentioned above): Jose Benavidez Jr, Jeff Horn, Julius Indongo, Viktor Postol, Thomas Dulorme, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns
I really can’t overstate how big a deal this matchup is. Boxing’s inability to put it together has long been touted as a monument to the sport’s decay decay and the fact that we’re seeing it while both men are at or near their physical primes still feels a little unreal. Whoever wins here will be top-3 pound-for-pound and arguably the fighter of the generation.
For my money, that’ll be Spence.
Crawford is one of the most genuinely spiteful finishers I’ve ever seen. Some folks use “killer instinct” to mean that a guy will go nuts once he’s got his man hurt, but Crawford will find a weakness and mercilessly exploit it without losing his technical edge. His issue is that unless he outright outclasses his opponent, as he did against Brook, Khan, and Avanesyan, he can give up rounds while analyzing. Porter in particular was neck-and-neck with him before Crawford turned on the heat, and though Porter also gave Spence hell, that seems like a red flag.
Spence is likely the larger man despite Crawford’s slight reach advantage, has the stronger body of work at 147, and showed off his own mean streak when he destroyed Ugas. If he comes out with his foot on the gas again, it’s easy to see him racking up seven rounds, especially since even a peak Crawford isn’t markedly better than a peak Spence.
I just don’t see Crawford clawing his way out of an early hole against someone this big, this skilled, and this powerful. I fully expect a dramatic surge from “Bud” once he finishes downloading, but it’ll be too little, too late after Spence out-hustles him to an insurmountable early lead.
Prediction: Spence def. Crawford via unanimous decision
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