Commentary: Terence Crawford leaves no doubts about being the man at 147. Is 154 next?
Special fighters deliver their best performance on their biggest night and that’s exactly what Terence Crawford did against Errol Spence Jr. to become The Ring Magazine/Undisputed welterweight champion in front of 19,990 people at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Heading into the fight, Spence was The Ring’s No. 1-rated welterweight and Crawford was No. 2. A close fight was expected, a genuine 50/50 fight, with nobody really sure who would win. This was illustrated by our Fight Picks.
Both fighters took a look at each other in the opening round before Crawford broke through with a lightning-fast combination late in the second round that deposited Spence on the seat of his pants for the first time in his career.
Over the next couple of rounds Crawford began to take control of the fight. The next big moment in the bout came in Round 7. Spence backed Crawford up to the ropes with a left and right hands, followed by a left hook over the top but that was countered by Crawford and Spence was dropped for the second time in the fight. The 33-year-old southpaw made it to his feet and was able to continue but was dropped again late in the round by a sweeping right hook.
The Texan gamely on fought but this was now a thorough beatdown and Bud ended matters in the ninth. He did the damage with a sharp right hook that saw Spence legs dip. Crawford jumped on Spence who was on unsteady legs and saved from further punishment by referee Harvey Dock at 2:32 of the round.
The level of domination exerted by Crawford (40-0, 31 knockouts) over Spence (28-1, 22 KOs) was startling. What was expected to be a close, competitive tit-for-tat encounter turned into a drubbing.
Spence only won the opening round on two of the scorecards and third on another. At the time of the stoppage Crawford was ahead 79-70 on all three scorecards.
CompuBox tells a similar story, with Spence only outlanding Crawford in Round 1 and 3. Then it was all Crawford who landed at least 22 punches a round from Round 4 onwards. The Nebraska native’s accuracy was particularly eye-catching, landing 185 of 369 punches thrown, which translated into 50.1 percent of his punches landing. While Spence landed 96 of 480, which is 20 percent. Crawford’s jab landed 87 times out of 206 thrown or 42.2 percent of the time. Spence normally dependable jab, which was less so on this night, finding a home 33 times out of 286 thrown, which is only 11.1. It was a similar story in power punches, Crawford 98/ 163, a razor-sharp 60.1 percent, while Spence was 63/ 184, 34.2 percent.
“All in all, I get to say, ‘I told you all.’ I’ve been asking for these fights for years, ya’ll been saying he’s too small, he’s going to get this, he’s going to get broken and each and every time that I step up, I prove ya’ll wrong – each time,” said Crawford, who becomes the first male two-weight undisputed champion in the four-belt era. “Write some great stories about Terence Crawford, don’t hate on him, don’t say anything negative, just give me my props.”
Performances like this make that very easy, Terence.
Spence later suggested he’d be happy to face Crawford again.
“I’m definitely open to the rematch, and hopefully it’ll be at 154-pounds,” said Spence, who has 30-days to invoke the rematch clause.
However, Crawford said that while making 147 had become hard for him, he would like any rematch at 147. After the one-sided nature of the fight, do we need to see a rematch? I’d suggest not but with the rematch clause I’d expect it to happen late this year.
There appears little left for either man to accomplish at welterweight. Though I would personally be very interested in seeing Crawford meet Jaron Ennis. Though you wonder if that fight is one Crawford would be willing to entertain at this juncture and if he’ll face Spence again or go up to junior middleweight in search of more titles and history.
Crawford has gone back and forth on social media with Jermell Charlo, the undisputed junior middleweight titlist. However, Charlo is facing Canelo Alvarez up at super middleweight on September 30 and his position at 154-pounds is unclear at this time.
It as though with or without Crawford, that Spence future lays at 154-pounds. It will be interesting to see how Spence is after this fight. His body has been through the ringer these past few years from the car accident and eye surgery. Since those incidents he’s always been looked like the old Spence but how will he respond to his first career defeat?
In the past few days we’ve seen boxing at it’s best, two huge fights at the very apex of our sport and guess what folks they lived up to their billing and we didn’t have any controversy.
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