LAS VEGAS – For many reasons, Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford felt like a true 50/50 fight. Like others that have been gifted the label, it was far from that. Ultimately, it was a stylistic nightmare for Spence, who was dropped three times and eventually stopped in nine rounds by Crawford, who was crowned the first undisputed welterweight champion in the four-belt era on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.
How did this happen? The theme of Spence-Crawford emerged from the onset.
Spence would stalk Terence Crawford with pressure, land jabs to the head and the body, but Crawford was a like a black mamba in the pocket, looking to pounce on any mistake. While Spence was able to maneuver away from Crawford's right hand in the opening round, he was unable to do so in the second, which signaled the beginning of the end.
Terence Crawford brutally exposed Spence's flaws
One of Spence's flaws is that he tends to lunge forward when he throws the jab while keeping his hands down. Crawford is one of the best, if not the best, counterpuncher in the world, so that was seen as a potential vulnerability.
Well, Crawford exposed that flaw in the second round, blocking the jab with his left glove and firing back with the left and a right jab that planted Spence on his trunks. This pattern of Spence's leads getting lambasted by Crawford's sharp counters manifested throughout the fight.
The jab was the key.
Leading up to the fight, Spence's jab was seen as one of the best in boxing. Crawford's counter jab, however, connected with vicious authority almost at will. Spence couldn't get out of the way of the shot, and it consistently had him on shaky legs.
It seemed like Spence and head trainer Derrick James were prepared to steamroll Terence Crawford with little to no regard for what the other fighter could do, and it cost them dearly.
James was telling Spence in the corner not to stand in front of Crawford and to move, but he was cooked by that point. Spence had no answer for Crawford's speed, power, accuracy, or ring IQ.
Spence never stopped trying. He was able to push Crawford back with some hard body shots and a myriad of punches upstairs, but Crawford was unfazed. However, every time Crawford landed a shot, Spence's legs would buckle from underneath of him.
In round seven, all hope of Spence winning went crashing down. He connected with a big left hand in the seventh round, but Terence Crawford countered him with a right uppercut he didn't see coming and ended up on the floor for the second time in the fight.
And Crawford added a third knockdown at the end of the round for extra measure. The now-undisputed welterweight strongman was simply too smart, too strong, and too quick for Spence.
The loss to Crawford was only his second fight in over two-and-a-half years. Spence had dealt with a pair of accidents and an eye issue that kept him out of the ring. Although he looked fantastic against Yordenis Ugas to add a third 147-pound world title belt in 2022, another reign of inactivity didn't help him. Spence did not look like a fighter that was prepared, but that's on him and his team.
Terence Crawford Stands Alone
Terence Crawford stands alone.
Undisputed welterweight world champion.
Two-time undisputed world champion.
The welterweight discussion of this era wasn't even worth a conversation. Crawford turned all of the doubters into believers. And unlike other fighters, there's no talk about failed drug tests or shady behavior from the Crawford camp. On Saturday, we saw sublime skill level coupled with superior performance and preparation.
Terence Crawford could retire today and be inducted as a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but the 35-year-old still has more to accomplish in his career. If he can mow down the competition at 154-pounds and become a three-time undisputed champion, Crawford would be the undisputed king of the era.