We have finally arrived to fight week for one of the most anticipated matchups in recent years. Unified champion Errol Spence Jr. (28-0, 22 KOs) faces WBO champion Terence Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs) for the undisputed welterweight crown on Saturday night live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. This is the fight that will determine the first undisputed champion at 147 pounds in the four-belt era.
Aside from the fight's significance, the matchup has been fantasized about and discussed for years, leaving fight fans clinging on to hope that one day they would see these two pugilists staring at each other from across the ring. We are days away from the moment fans envisioned for so long coming true, and each man's journey to get here was different but equally complex.
The road to Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford
Spence Jr. is a fighter who was seen as someone with a high ceiling coming out of his 2012 Olympics appearance, where he didn’t qualify for a medal but reached the quarterfinals. Three years later, he was named Prospect of the Year by ESPN, and Spence Jr. was well on his way to becoming a world champion. In 2017, which was just two years after being named Prospect of the Year, Spence Jr. flew to England for his first world title opportunity against Kell Brook.
This was a tough matchup on paper as Brook had defeated Shawn Porter for the IBF crown in 2014 and followed it with three straight victories before being crushed by Gennadiy Golovkin in 2016 at middleweight. Spence Jr. stopped Brook in the 11th round of their fight, leading to Spence winning his first world title.
Spence Jr. would earn three straight victories before facing Porter for his WBC title. He would win a very narrow decision, and Spence Jr. would then become a unified champion. A few weeks later, Spence Jr. was in a horrible car accident which would have killed the average human being, but he survived. While not having his seat belt on, when the car flipped, it sent him flying out of it, which more than likely saved his life. He would then take some time away from the sport as he recovered from his injuries.
14 months later, Spence Jr. was back in the ring facing Danny Garcia and finished 2020 with a unanimous decision victory in front of his hometown fans inside of Cowboy Stadium. He would take 2021 off and return in April 2022 to win his third title by defeating the tough Cuban welterweight Yordenis Ugas. After the fight, Spence Jr. called out Crawford as the man he wanted to face next in his quest to become the welterweight king.
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford will stream live on Showtime PPV
Crawford’s career didn’t have the notoriety that Spence Jr.’s did, but he made up for it as a pro. He also had a head start as Crawford turned pro in 2008, four years before Spence Jr. While Spence Jr. navigated the prospect ranks, Crawford would win his first world title at lightweight against Ricky Burns in 2014. After two title defenses at lightweight, Crawford moved up to junior welterweight in 2015 and faced Thomas Dulorme for the vacant WBO title. After winning by sixth-round TKO, Crawford continued his dominance by winning two in a row before facing Victor Postol for his WBC title. Crawford went the distance with Postol and became a unified champion at 140 pounds.
In the same year (2017) that Spence Jr. became a world champion for the first time, Crawford became an undisputed junior welterweight champion when he defeated Julius Indongo. Crawford would immediately vacate and set his sights on the welterweight division as he faced Jeff Horn for the WBO title. He would stop Horn in the ninth round and defend his title five times under the Top Rank umbrella.
The demand intensified for the Spence Jr. fight once Crawford became a champion, but the problem is that with boxing, politics often interfere with the fights the fans want to see. Spence Jr. is with Premier Boxing Champions, and Crawford was with Top Rank, which created a roadblock that could not be broken.
They flirted with the idea of fighting each other for the last five years and were even seen together in a now-famous Elie Seckbach video where they were going back and forth, but nothing ever materialized. Once Crawford became a free agent, he publicly displayed his frustrations about Top Rank not being able to get him the fight with Spence Jr. when he was signed to them after being told that they would during the length of his contract.
Crawford spent a year trying to make the Spence Jr. fight as a free agent, but the negotiations took longer than expected, leading to him signing a one-off deal with BLK Prime. In December, he returned to the ring against David Avanesyan, which he knocked out in the sixth round of their fight. Crawford spent his prime years with Top Rank and was never able to get the fight he has wanted, which is the one we will finally get on Saturday night.
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford prediction
This type of fight gives you the same feeling everyone had right before Sugar Ray Leonard faced Marvelous Marvin Hagler or Hagler vs. Thomas Hearns. It’s hard to say who will win as there are scenarios where either can emerge victorious. If you enjoy watching Spence Jr. fight, then the volume of punches, the high guard, and his ability to cut the ring off better than most excite you. But if you are a Crawford fan, the footwork, agility, Ring IQ, and ability to switch from conventional to southpaw impresses you the most.
This fight will start as a chess match, and as the rounds pile up, you will see more activity from Spence Jr. but some crips shots by Crawford. The championship rounds will determine who wins this one, and when the fight goes to the scorecards, Spence Jr. will have his hand raised in victory. It’ll be a narrow decision, but Spence Jr. will come out victorious, making the rematch at junior middleweight later this year or the first half of 2024 even more intriguing.