By: Hans Themistode
Long before Terence Crawford sauntered his way to the welterweight division in 2018, the Omaha, Nebraska, native made his feelings known that he wanted to face the best 147-pounders in the world.
By and large, Errol Spence Jr., the division’s only unified champion, has held that distinction. So, after identifying who was the man to beat, Crawford immediately set his sights on the powerful southpaw. Nevertheless, despite his attempts to lure Spence Jr. into the ring, Crawford was forced to wait.
While Spence Jr. has always viewed their showdown as inevitable, with Crawford being associated with promotional company Top Rank, and Spence Jr. being closely aligned with Premier Boxing Champions, several issues behind the scenes prevented the two from facing off. In an effort to avoid the back and forth theatrics, Spence Jr. temporarily pushed a possible showdown against Crawford aside as he focused his efforts on aggregating every other world title at 147 pounds.
Just a few short weeks ago, Spence Jr. successfully achieved his goals. On April 16th, in front of nearly 40,000 fans, Spence Jr. would hand Yordenis Ugas the first knockout loss of his career. In the process, the Dallas native violently ripped away his WBA welterweight title.
Presently, with Crawford operating as a promotional free agent, the switch-hitting pound-for-pound star believes that now more than ever, nothing is standing between himself and his fellow welterweight champion, from swapping fists.
“I’m free to do whatever I want,” said Crawford to ESPN during a recent interview. “There’s nothing standing in the way from us fighting. There’s no promotion company that’s blocking it, there’s no wrong side of the street, there’s no nothing. Let’s see who the best welterweight in the world is.”
For the 34-year-old Crawford, in the midst of waiting for Spence Jr. to make his way to the negotiating table, the Omaha, Nebraska, native has wreaked havoc on the division. With six consecutive stoppage victories since making the move up in weight, Crawford snagged the most impressive victory of his career in his most recent outing.
In November of 2021, Crawford first boxed and then brawled his way to a stoppage victory over former two-time 147-pound titlist, Shawn Porter. Since then, Crawford has remained sequestered on the sidelines, patiently waiting for Spence Jr.
Although a showdown between them has yet to be discussed, considering that Spence Jr. is only a few weeks removed from facing Yordenis Ugas in a physically taxing bout, both welterweight stars could be heading toward a collision course near the end of the year. If that is in fact the case, Crawford would have plenty of time to sneak in a bout of his own before facing Spence Jr. However, following years of pent-up frustration, Crawford has zero intentions of facing anyone but Spence Jr. next.
“I’m going straight into it. I don’t want no tuneup fights.”
At one point, a showdown against Spence Jr. became worrisome for Crawford. Although Spence Jr. has been lauded for his in ring work, concerns surronding his health mounted.
In October of 2019, one month after successfully unifying titles against Porter, Spence Jr. was involved in a horrific car wreck. Considering the seriousness of his near-fatal accident, inquiries encircling Spence Jr. arose. But, despite it all, the former Olympian bounced back nicely, winning a lopsided unanimous decision over Danny Garcia in December of 2020.
The injury woes for Spence Jr., nonetheless, continued. In August of 2021, the unified champion was scheduled to face off against Manny Pacquiao. However, due to a retinal detachment/break in his right eye, Spence Jr. was forced to withdraw as he was ushered into immediate surgery.
As even more haze clouded Spence Jr.’s career, he turned in a superb performance against Ugas. Known for his durability and toughness, Ugas succumbed to the pernicious blows of Spence Jr. via 10th-round stoppage.
A sly smirk was spread across the face of Crawford after watching Spence Jr.’s performance. His aforementioned smirk turned into a full-blown grin as Spence Jr. officially called him out. With the Dallas product seemingly back to his dominant self, Crawford is anxious to face the best version of his longtime rival.
“Now everybody’s saying that Errol’s back and he’s 100% ready. So now is the perfect time for me and him to fight. He called me out, so it ain’t no backing up.”
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