By: Sean Crose
It wasn’t all that long ago that Errol Spence was a blue chip contender who established star Keith Thurman brushed off as someone who had yet to prove himself worthy of a major matchup. That was then. Now the 33 year old Texan holds all but one of the welterweight world titles. Should Spence defeat fellow titleholder Terence Crawford this weekend in Las Vegas, he will hold all of them, making him the undisputed welterweight champion of the world. Everyone knows how good Spence is. The man’s 28-0 record puts all arguments to rest – at least it does when one notices some of the names Spence has fought.
Chris Algieri. Kell Brook. Shawn Porter. Mikey Garcia. Ryan Garcia. Notables all. Yet every one of them has fallen prey to Spence in the ring. Although he established himself as a world class knockout artist, over time Spence has learned, like others before him, that the greater the competition, the less chance a knockout will occur. Still, he was able to win his last fight, against the talented Yordenis Ugas, within the distance. And this was an Ugas who was fresh off a sending the great Manny Pacquiao into retirement. The truth is that, should he defeat Crawford on Saturday night, Spence will be seen as the best welterweight of his generation. No small thing in the post-Mayweather era.
Can he beat Crawford, though? That’s the question that’s been on everyone’s mind for years now. Indeed, it looked for a time like a fight between WBC, WBA, and IBF titlist Spence, and WBO titlist Crawford would never occur. And, in truth, this bout should have gone down long ago. At least, though, both sides were finally able to cut through the maddening spider web that is contemporary boxing and finally make the match a reality. Better late than never. Besides, it isn’t like these are two men well past their primes.
Yet it’s undoubtedly been a long time for Spence to reach this point in his career. To get through a series of big names on the way to being declared “the best” is to complete an extraordinary task. And both Spence and Crawford have waited far to long to long to find out who is the true king of the welterweight division. One might argue they should be cherishing the moment. Both men need to remain focused, though. For the task at hand is a gargantuan one – and there’s no telling how it may ultimately play out.
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