We’re finally here.
DeSoto native Errol Spence and Terence Crawford, the two best undefeated welterweights in boxing, will meet July 29 in Las Vegas.
A Spence-Crawford fight for the undisputed welterweight title was announced last month after nearly three years of contract talks, injuries and the threat of moving to the junior middleweight division.
When Spence and Crawford meet it will mark the first unified welterweight title fight in the four-belt era.
Spence owns three of the belts, and Crawford has the other.
Spence is naturally the bigger fighter with power and a better resume. Crawford is a talented boxer who might be faster than his opponent when they get into the ring. But don’t dispute Crawford’s power.
These men have sought out each other for such a long time that we can no longer accept excuses. Spence promised Crawford they would meet as he tried to claim belts in the division. Spence has flirted with moving to the junior middleweight division for the last year, tired of waiting for Crawford.
“He’s got to live up to his word and come to take this belt,” Crawford said on ESPN’s First Take show last month. “The last one [title] is always the hardest one, and I assure you it won’t be like the other fights. He believes in his style. I believe in my style. It’s going to be a great fight.”
You could say Crawford avoided Spence for years, particularly last year, when there was a belief a deal was done. Crawford backed out in the late stages of talks. Instead, Crawford fought David Avanesyan last December and won by technical knockout.
Crawford has victories over talented fighters such as Shawn Porter, Kell Brook, Amir Khan and Jose Benavidez Jr. He’s won his last 10 fights by either knockout or technical knockout, which can disprove a lack of power among his skills. Crawford last went the distance in a fight in 2016, when he defeated then-undefeated Viktor Postol by unanimous decision. He did knock down Postol twice during that win.
“I’m very comfortable with my career right now,” Crawford told KETV-TV in Omaha, Neb. “I feel like I’ve accomplished a Hall of Fame career, and I’m happy with where I’m at. I’ll be satisfied once this job is done.”
It won’t be easy.
Spence’s resume is full of victories over outstanding fighters such as Danny Garcia, Mikey Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Brook and Porter. Spence returned from major injuries and looked fantastic. He dominated Danny Garcia after suffering injuries in a car crash that delayed his career by almost a year. He suffered a detached retina in training, prompting another halt of his career. He returned to defeat Yordenis Ugas with ease.
Each time Spence returned it wasn’t for a tuneup fight, it was against a talented opponent with a legit chance to take his belt. Spence had an agreement to fight Manny Pacquiao in a career-defining bout before his eye injury canceled that event. Ugas took Spence’s place and defeated Pacquiao in a stunning upset.
When cleared by doctors to fight, Spence defeated Ugas, setting the stage for a fight with Crawford or a move to the junior middleweight division. When talks slowed with Crawford, Spence looked toward Keith Thurman as a possible opponent. In truth that was a placeholder if Crawford didn’t sign a contract to fight.
Now everyone is on the same page.
“This is a legacy fight,’’ Spence said this week while visiting Cowboys minicamp practices. “For me, this is Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns. This is Oscar De La Hoya vs. Felix Trinidad. This is a huge fight.
“Everyone says the Floyd [Mayweather] and Pacquiao fight was huge, but they were a lot older. We’re in our primes.”
Reports say a rematch clause is in place for these two. Rematches are good only if the first bout is an outstanding event.
Both fighters are promising a classic.
No more excuses for Spence-Crawford, because whoever wins this fight will have a legacy-defining win.
Staff Writer David Moore contributed to this report.