A thorough breakdown of the best boxing matchup the sport has witnessed in decades as Spence and Crawford battle for the Undisputed Welterweight Championship Saturday night on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View.
This Saturday, July 29, live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and atop a SHOWTIME PPV/Premier Boxing Champions blockbuster event, the BIG one is set to happen. Unified WBC, WBA and IBF Welterweight World Champion Errol “The Truth’’ Spence Jr. (28-0, 22 KOs) takes on WBO 147-pound World Champion Terence “Bud’’ Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs) in a history-making, legacy-defining war for the Undisputed Welterweight World Championship.
The SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View telecast (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) will feature Mexico’s all-action Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz facing unbeaten Giovanni Cabrera in a 12-round WBC and WBA Lightweight Title Eliminator in the co-main event. Also on the card, future Hall of Famer Nonito Donaire takes on top contender Alexandro Santiago for the vacant WBC Bantamweight Title. In the show opener, top prospect Yoenis Tellez battles Spanish contender Sergio Garcia in a 10-round super welterweight contest.
It took a long time getting to this moment, as both fighters built their individual legacies and sparred over business issues, but there was never any doubt these fierce competitors wanted one another.
Errol Spence’s championship journey began in 2017 when he went into defending IBF welterweight world champ Kell Brook’s Sheffield, UK backyard and wrested the title from him via eleventh-round TKO.
The Desoto, Texas native is on a six-fight championship run since then, adding the WBC and WBA 147-pound belts along the way with big wins over defending titlists Shawn Porter and Yordenis Ugas, respectively. Victories over former two-division world champ Danny Garcia as well as former world titlists Mikey Garcia and Lamont Peterson help round out a resume that is already Hall of Fame worthy.
Terence Crawford, meanwhile, touched off his own Hall of Fame-worthy championship run at lightweight with a 2014 decision over defending IBF champ Ricky Burns on Burns’ Scottish home turf.
The Omaha, Nebraska native would eventually move up to junior welterweight, where he battled his way to unified four-belt champ status with one-sided wins over Thomas Dulorme, Viktor Postol, and Julius Indongo.
In his first bout at 147, Crawford would batter and stop one-time Manny Pacquiao conqueror Jeff Horn to take the WBO welterweight title. Now 7-0 as a welterweight, with all seven of those wins coming inside the distance, “Bud” has been burning to establish himself as THE man at 147.
Long-awaited and much-anticipated, Spence vs. Crawford will crown the first Undisputed Welterweight World Champion of the four-belt era. The winner will also go on to earn recognition as, arguably, the pound-for-pound best fighter in boxing.
The 33-year-old Spence chops, chops, chops at his opponents with a stiff, educated jab and thudding body work.
The physically strong and technically sound southpaw gets great leverage on everything in his arsenal, something which allows him to be equally effective to the head and body. Aggressive by nature, he is also active and accurate with his shots. As a total package, he has earned the reputation of being one of boxing’s best offensive fighters.
Defensively, Spence does a solid job of picking off punches with his gloves and rolling with shots. His offensive capabilities, however, work to keep opposition from being too aggressive.
“ The winner of this fight is the best fighter in boxing, period. ” Undefeated, Unified WBC, WBA, & IBF World Welterweight Champion - Errol Spence Jr.
Crawford is a smart, adaptive, versatile boxer-puncher who is equally effective from orthodox and southpaw stances.
Working behind a probing jab that helps establish pace and space, the 35-year-old often starts methodically, taking his time to dissect and eventually disassemble his opponents. Blessed with impeccable timing, he’s adept at using angles and varying the speed of his attacks to keep opposition off-kilter. Always a tenacious competitor, he’s also one of the best finishers in the game and will go for the kill when the opportunity presents itself.
On defense, Crawford utilizes the same angles and smart movement to avoid punches that he does to create offensive openings. Although he does take some shots, it’s mostly a function of him sacrificing defense for the sake of creating offensive opportunities.
Errol Spence Jr.
“This is what I’ve worked for my whole career. I want to be that undisputed welterweight champion of the world and I’m excited to go up against a great opponent like Terence Crawford to accomplish that. I knew I had to make it happen. 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.”
“This fight means everything. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time and I can’t wait to get it on. He thinks he’s gonna bulldoze me and break me, but he’s gonna have to show me. All of that talk is fuel to the fire that’s already burning. 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?”
From a competitive standpoint, things don’t get any better than Spence-Crawford.
Both undefeated stars are fierce competitors who have made a point of putting their professional legacies on the line with this one. They’ve fully invested in the “must win” importance of this bout and their efforts should show that urgency.
Stylistically, expect Spence and Crawford to do what they do best. Spence will be popping the jab and engaging in his usual calculated march forward. Crawford will pick and prod, looking to create offensive opportunities.
Both have the ability to exploit the other’s weaknesses and will likely find success in doing so.
Spence’s tendency to lunge forward when throwing his left hand will creating openings for crisp counters from Crawford, who may find success with the uppercut and/or a jarring right hand.
Crawford has been susceptible to the right hand, especially when in the southpaw stance, and that makes him vulnerable not only to Spence’s southpaw jab, but to the right hook.
There are a lot of ways this fight could play out and a ton of variables. At the heart of it all, though, Spence-Crawford is a battle between warriors who have established themselves as nuanced apex predators in the sport. It’s a pairing in the tradition of great welterweight clashes like Leonard-Hearns, where the tiniest of slip-ups could make the difference between victory and crushing defeat.
Saturday night will showcase high pressure, high stakes, and the iron will that comes from elite-level competitors in their primes. Don’t miss it.
For a closer look at Spence vs Crawford, check out our fight night page.