By: Sean Crose
“There is no such joy in the tavern,” says a character in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, “as upon the road thereto.” Blood Meridian takes place in the pre civil war west and southwest of the United States and Mexico. The line above, however, rings true in its timelessness, for few things in this world seem to live up to the hype. Just check out any Star Wars flick that was made after 1983. Or, better yet, re-watch Mayweather-Pacquiao. You’ll quickly get the point. Still, there ARE times in the sport of boxing where a major bout not only lives up to, but sometimes even exceeds, it’s pre fight hype.
Ali-Frazier 1. Leonard-Duran 1. Hagler-Hearns. Holyfield-Bowe 1. These are just a few examples of highly publicized fights that lived up to or possibly exceeded the hype surrounding them. Now that WBO welterweight titlist Terence Crawford is about to face WBC, WBA and IBF welterweight titlist Errol Spence this July, it’s worth wondering weather this latest “big fight” will live up to, succeed, or fail expectations. On paper, at least, the matchmaking here looks promising. Unlike, say, Mayweather-Pacquiao, the combination of styles at play here could lead to fireworks.
Clearly both undefeated fighters can punch. All but six of Spence’s twenty-eight fights have ended within the distance. All but nine of Crawford’s thirty-nine fights have ended within the distance. Crawford may have more tools in the figurative tool box, that doesn’t guarantee the Nebraskan will win. The same goes for Spence’s size advantage. While it might be true Spence is able to master the fundamentals while Crawford is more adept at adapting to a given situation, fans will simply have to wait and see how the battle itself plays out in the ring. Which, really, is what leads to the hype.
Of course, things could go south once the opening bell rings. It’s been argued that Spence might try to outbox Crawford. Who knows? Perhaps Crawford might try to outbox Spence. There’s also the possibility that each fighter will prove to be overly cautious given the significance of the match. There’s a lot at stake here, after all. Not only will the winner be undisputed welterweight champion of the world, he will also be known as a great who has defeated another great (or possible great) in the ring. In other words, every movement each fighter makes will count. Then again, both men may just go ahead and try to end the night early. Things probably won’t work out that way…but one never knows.
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