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Terence Crawford-Errol Spence: Scorching Battle Or Chess Match? (Or Both?)

By: Sean Crose

One of the fascinating things leading up to next week’s welterweight throwdown between opposing kings Terence Crawford and Errol Spence is the question of how the fight will actually play out. It’s clear that, with fifty knock outs between them, both WBO champion Crawford, and WBC, WBA and IBF champion Spence know how to end a night early. Yet these are more than power punchers. Each man has has a strong ring IQ, meaning they know what to do and when to do it. Although their upcoming fight could go the way of such legendary battles and Leonard-Duran 1, it could also be a seesaw affair, such as Leonard-Hearns 1. It’s frankly difficult not to bring up Leonard when speaking of the welterweight division. His battles back in the early 80s set the gold standard other welterweight battles are now held up to.

Like Leonard before them, Spence and Crawford know when to fight and when to box (the exception being Leonard’s first battle with Roberto Duran, where Leonard allowed the insulting Panamanian to get inside his head beforehand – a mistake the legendary fighter would remedy in the rematch). With that being said, it’s doubtful the Crawford-Spence match will devolve into a reckless affair. That doesn’t mean the fight might not be high octane. Just watch 1985’s Hagler-Hearns war to see how a pure fistfight can also serve as a prime example of excellent boxing skills. Still, it’s hard to image either Crawford or Spence going for broke at the the sound of the opening bell.

Crawford, after all, likes to take his time before getting truly engaged. It’s simply the Nebraska native’s method. Considering the fact Crawford’s last ten fights have ended within the distance, it’s clear his unique ring approach works. Spence’s knockout ratio has dropped a bit since facing the likes of Shawn Porter and Mikey Garcia. In his last fight, however, Spence reminded everyone just how destructive he could be when he took out Manny Pacquiao conqueror Yordenis Ugas in 10. Furthermore, Crawford only dusted top competitors Kell Brook and Shawn Porter after they had been defeated by Spence. In other words, it’s hard to predict which way next week’s battle will go.

Ultimately it will likely all come down to who can control the tempo. Should Spence be able to apply his strength well enough to keep Crawford from effectively/regularly landing on him, the night will belong to the Texan. Should switch hitter Crawford be able to dazzle his man in the ring, however, it will be Crawford who walks out of the ring undisputed champion. The question of who will have the edge more frequently in the bout may make all the difference.

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