Breaking Down Spence Vs. Crawford

Esther Lin/Showtime

Perhaps Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. will put their names in boxing history Saturday evening in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena. Perhaps these two will surpass Showtime Pay-Per-View records to determine which undefeated welterweight becomes first to unify titles in the four-belt era.

T-Mobile Arena is sold-out and the fight will be available via closed circuit at the venue. This is the generational fight for welterweight supremacy, with the winner designated as the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, that will be subject to debate.

Regardless, Spence with three titles and Crawford the WBO champion is why we have a unification fight of this magnitude. This is Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Duran, fighters that magnified a great boxing era of the 1980’s. They also had epic fights on the Las Vegas strip at an outdoor Caesars Palace arena.

Some Facts:

  • Spence and Crawford is the first undisputed welterweight championship fight in the four-belt era that began in 1988.

  • The fourth welterweight unification fight in boxing history between undefeated champions. Others included Donald Curry vs. Milton McCrory (1985), Felix Trinidad vs. Oscar De La Hoya (1999), Keith Thurman vs, Dany Garcia (2017).

  • Spence and Crawford have the most combined wins (67-0).

If Crawford wins, he will be the first male fighter in the four-belt era as undisputed champion in two different weight classes (140-147 pounds.) There have been 12 other welterweight unification fights in boxing history.

Yes, historic and a fight that had to be made. The charisma of both fighters and their styles could lead to a battle, then again, I witnessed those Hagler, Hearns. Leonard, and Duran fights up close at ringside at a time when boxing was that mainstream sport. If it wasn’t for the efforts of Crawford and Spence, perhaps we would be waiting longer or not even come to this point. A different era now because mega fights are difficult to make with rival promoters and various televised platforms that fight for a piece of the revenue.

And this is a fight with the boxing talk of “Styles Make Fights” It could be even and hard to pick.

Around boxing for 42 years, I have a difficult time going with either Crawford or Spence. I would be hesitant to say this will go the 12-round distance because one quick punch could end this in a flash. Then again, leaving this in the hands of “Three Blind Mice” at ringside, (Judges) hopefully will be void of controversy. Remember this is Las Vegas, known for some unique and bizarre outcomes that have been rendered at ringside.

Add to the equation of two trainers. Derrick James (Spence) and Brian Mcintyre (Crawford) who jawed at each other during the final press conference, they too, with a lot at stake. James is the renowned trainer of champions. Mcintyre, with Crawford from the onset of his career, becomes the renowned trainer if his fighter becomes undisputed.

As of Friday, according to most sportsbooks, Crawford has that minimal edge to win. I will do my best here to break it down. Beware, though, I am not one that goes with the prop bets. I would rather analyze the styles and await the outcome of a possible epic fight in boxing history. The magnitude of this fight will draw the boxing novice to watch, and where these two fighters are headed will be determined.

Latest Odds:

Errol Spence: +125

Terence Crawford: -145

Fight Goes the distance:

Yes: -190

No: +155

Spence has not been in the ring since April of last year. Then, he stopped Yordenis Ugas in the 10th round because of a nasty cut and got most pieces of the welterweight titles as Crawford held the WBO piece of the puzzle. I always say that inactivity is a detriment to a fighter, but Spence has never exhibited that so-called ring rust due to lack of fights so take that into consideration and the fact he was the huge favorite -600 against Ugas. Last 11 fights, two went the route including a unanimous win over Danny Garcia and split decision over Shawn Porter. He has devastating body shots and technical skill that works over an opponent with that relentless attack.

Consider this from the Ugas fight: Spence threw 192 power punches and Ugas had 77.

Crawford is known for stopping opponents and avoiding the decision. It’s been seven years since his last fight went to the scorecards and fights consistently every year since turning professional in 2008. He has that seven consecutive knockout streak and is more active than Spence. His last fight was a 6th round TKO in December in front of the hometown fans in Nebraska. Crawford connected with 80 punches, 54 with the power. He starts with a left and goes with the right and is great at that adjustment. He awaits the opportunity after scouting his opponent. This time though, Spence is not that type of opponent and Crawford will be cautious.

He tends to allow opponents to lose their steam. Porter is an example and his corner threw in the towel after an onslaught in the 9th round that saw the fight stopped in the 10th, though Porter had the edge in power punches 67-65.

Again, Spence won’t allow that power to get to him. Crawford is also technical and more reason this could go with the mentality of champion vs. champion.

Spence by KO, TKO, or DQ:

  • 250

  • 250 Decision or technical decision

  • 1200 Draw or Technical Draw

Crawford by KO, TKO, or DQ:


+170 Decision or Technical Decision

Take these odds and possibly throw them out the window or take the odds and go with the percentages of their previous fights. Remember, they gave the sport a nickname of the Sweet Science.

I asked numerous boxing personnel, a list that included fighters, trainers, and promoters. Consensus is a fight that will be epic and talked about in years to come as they did in the Hagler, Hearns, Leonard, and Duran era. We in boxing still look at those fights and talk about how important an era that was, more so how the fighters got their Hall of Fame status.

Those experts say the fight is even, I would agree. It’s a tough one to pick but that early tempo of Crawford and Spence will be important. Not since that era of the 1980’s have we seen a fight of this magnitude. The undisputed, unified, and pound-for-pound talk will cement their legacies because Crawford and Spence have become that generational fight.

Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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