By: Hans Themistode
It was fun at first. Adamant fans of Errol Spence Jr. would argue daily with supporters of Terence Crawford. They would scream, shout and more times than not, use every curse word in the book against one another. The main topic of discussion was always the same, their inevitable showdown.
“Spence is too big and too strong for him.”
Crawford backers would of course counter with “Spence is bigger, but Crawford is way more skilled.” Their fulmination would carry on for minutes, then hours, then days, then months and now – years. Yet, nothing has been proven.
From the moment Errol Spence Jr. laced up his boxing gloves and entered the ring for his first professional fight in 2012, his skills were obvious. While Floyd Mayweather Jr. was still dominating the sport, it was clear his time was coming to an end. Names such as Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter were constantly being pushed as the next big thing.
But while those aforementioned names have gone on to have distinguished championship-level careers, they haven’t been Errol Spence Jr. The Dallas native has it all: power, speed, footwork, skills, ring IQ and punch resistance. You name it and Spence Jr. more than likely has it.
His coronation was stamped long before he traveled overseas to rip away the IBF welterweight title from the cold hands of Kell Brook.
“I truly believe this kid right here is the future of boxing,” said Floyd Mayweather during an interview in 2015.
From there, Spence Jr. would win, win, win and win some more. With that said, so too was Terence Crawford.
He didn’t receive the same level of fanfare as Spence Jr., but the Nebraska native went about his business in the same destructive manner at both 135 and 140 pounds. As the wins continued to pile up on both sides and with Crawford’s move to 147 pounds inevitable, the taste buds of fight fans began to water.
Spence Jr.? Crawford? In the same ring? Where do we sign?
Fans began discussing it quietly amongst themselves then, as Crawford officially made the move up in weight in 2018, it was all anyone could talk about. There was still work that needed to be done for Crawford however but it made sense.
With Spence Jr. holding onto the IBF title, he assured everyone that all Crawford needed to do was lace his waist with gold.
“Hopefully he beats Jeff Horn and gets that belt,” said Spence Jr. when interviewed on ESPN’s First Take show in 2018. “When he does get that belt, we can make that happen.”
Seemingly all that was standing in the way of a mega-fight between the pair was Australia’s, Jeff Horn. Needless to say, fans were already saving their hard-earned money to purchase a Crawford vs Spence Jr. Pay-Per-View before Crawford even stepped foot into the ring with Horn.
While he was tough and resilient, no one, even those who resided in his hometown, believed he would pull off the win.
Everyone was proven to be Nostradamus as Crawford annihilated him via ninth-round stoppage and pried away his WBO title. But while many of us believed the fight was coming next, we were forced to wait. Crawford rounded out his year by knocking out Jose Benavidez and began the following year by destroying Amir Khan.
Spence Jr., on the other hand, walked through Lamont Peterson and handed a beating to Carlos Ocampo. Still, both sides assured us that the fight would happen. But here’s the thing about the sport of boxing. It has a tendency to “marinate,” big fights. Rarely do you see two fighters at the peak of their powers, who are pound-for-pound stars in the same weight class actually face one another.
Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao is a good example of this. Sure they were both still great fighters when they fought in 2015 but by the time boxing fans were served the fight, it tasted a bit stale.
Crawford vs Spence Jr. still feels and looks like a mega fight. One that has over marinated, but one that still tastes like a full course meal. The appetite for their contest, however, is decreasing.
Four years after claiming that a fight with Crawford will in fact happen, Spence Jr. is singing a different tune.
“The fights gonna happen I guess,” said Spence Jr. during an interview with FightHype earlier this year. “We’ll see.”
His unenthusiastic response to their showdown has been echoed by Crawford recently as well.
“I’m not worried about Errol Spence anymore,” said Crawford during an interview with Chris Mannix earlier this year. “I’m past that.”
Fans of both parties have seemingly done the same.
Occasionally you’ll still find a supporter of Spence Jr. sporting his “strap season,” T-shirt while arguing with advocates of Crawford. But what was once a long line of individuals who followed suit, many of them have gone about their business.
Even now, with the frustration at its highest, both sides continue to move in separate directions.
Spence Jr. is angling towards a showdown with WBA champion Yordenis Ugas in an attempt to add a third belt to his growing collection. As for Crawford, he appears to be in the Manny Pacquiao sweepstakes but is more than likely headed towards a showdown against perennial contender Shawn Porter.
The once loud and boisterous arguments that permeated throughout barbershops and meeting rooms have been replaced with empty hallways and disinterested followers. Even super fan Snoop Dogg has grown tired of their shtick and simply wants them to throw down.
“You got two great champions that’s not fighting each other,” said Snoop Dogg during an interview with FightHype. “It’s always like that in boxing. Then they get old, then you don’t want to see it.”
The fight is still likely to happen eventually but at this point in time, both Crawford and Spence Jr. could care less. Now, after hoping and praying for it for roughly five years, we don’t care if it happens anymore either.
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