Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence Jr. is a done deal. Now comes a tsunami of opinions from pundits and fans.
Crawford and Spence will fight on pay-per-view for the undisputed 147-pound champion on July 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Oddsmakers believe one of the most-compelling possible matchups in the sport is a tossup, although Crawford is a slight favorite.
That means there will be a wide variety perspectives on every aspect of the matchup, most notably on who people think will win.
Here are five questions – and answers – from Boxing Junkie going into the super fight.
Is the matchup really as compelling as it seems?
Absolutely. Rarely do two top pound-for-pounders meet in the ring. Crawford and Spence, ranked Nos. 1 and 4 on Boxing Junkie’s pound-for-pound list, have been two of the best fighters of their generation for a number of years. The fact they fight in the same division is a happy coincidence that has allowed this fight to take place. The matchup is reminiscent of great welterweight showdowns of the past, Ray Leonard vs. Tommy Hearns, Felix Trinidad vs. Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao. That means we’re looking at an historic event. Will it live of the hype? That remains to be seen. The Leonard-Hearns fight did while the other two arguably didn’t. However, on paper, it doesn’t get much bigger than Crawford-Spence in terms of the quality of the participants. Neither fighter can argue that he is the face of the sport – Canelo Alvarez and Gervonta Davis lead the way in that department – but Crawford and Spence are better than their superstar counterparts at the moment by most estimations.
Is the fight happening too late?
Possibly. Neither Crawford nor Spence has shown signs of decline. Crawford has stopped his last 10 opponents, including former champion Shawn Porter in a breakthrough victory in 2021. He’s on a roll. Spence isn’t the puncher Crawford is but he has a better resume and has met every challenge, including Porter in 2019 and Yordenis Ugas in his most recent fight. However, Crawford and Spence are 35 and 33, respectively. It’s fair to wonder whether they have lost a step even if that hasn’t been obvious in recent fights. Crawford is older but he might be fresher. Spence bounced back from a horrific car crash but that might’ve taken something out of him. He also had a grueling 12-round war with Porter before the accident, the kind of fight that can shorten a career. Bottom line: They probably should’ve met not long after Crawford moved up to 147 and won his title in 2018. It didn’t happen in part because they were fighting for competing entities. Crawford recently became a free agent, which helped facilitate an agreement at long last.
Will the fight do a million pay-per-view buys in the U.S.?
Possibly, but not guaranteed. Crawford-Spence will be hard pressed to reach the reported 1.2 million buys generated by Davis and Ryan Garcia, whose immense popularity exceeds their accomplishments (especially Garcia). Crawford and Spence are respected among boxing fans but probably don’t have the ability to reach a large number of non-fans, which is required to generate a huge buy rate. Or so it seems. Hardcore fans know how good this matchup is. Casual fans have a pretty good idea, too. Maybe robust and clever marketing will capture the imagination of those who might otherwise not but into such a matchup. If I had to guess, I’d say Crawford-Spence will do around 1 million buys. That would be a solid number given their limited followings.
Will size be a factor in the fight?
Probably not. Spence would’ve had a size advantage in 2018, when Crawford moved up in weight from 140. Remember: Crawford’s first world title came at 135 while Spence is a career-long 147-pounder, which one can argue makes the latter the naturally bigger man. However, Crawford has been a welterweight for seven fights over a period of five years. It’s safe to say that he has grown into the division. And who knows? Crawford might actually have a slight advantage in the weight department. While Spence might be the heavier man when they step into the ring, Crawford might have an easier time making 147. That could work in his favor. That’s just speculation, however. The fact is that both men are genuine, strong welterweights who belong in the division. That’s one more reason to appreciate this matchup. No one is moving up or down in weight.
Well, the fact Crawford is higher on the pound-for-pound list should tell you something. He’s the quicker, more athletic and more dynamic fighter of the two. And he punches harder than Spence does, which the knockouts indicate. “Bud’s” detractors will question his body of work. What opponent of note has he beaten other than Porter? Crawford can counter that he has dominated a string of top contenders even if few of them have ever been mentioned in the same sentence as the term pound-for-pound. Our eyes tell us he’s a great fighter. Spence also is special but in a different way. He’s a superb technician who can beat his opponents in different ways. He outboxed a boxer in Mikey Garcia and outslugged a slugger in Porter, for example. And while he isn’t quite the puncher Crawford is, he’s hurts opponents. Ask Kell Brook, who suffered a broken orbital bone in his knockout loss to Spence. Crawford has an edge in the “Who’s better? department but this is essentially a 50-50 fight, which is a key reason it’s compelling.