Las Vegas, Nevada (Photos courtesy Esther Lin)
Ron Harris – Terence Crawford made history in Las Vegas on Saturday night with a lop-sided victory over Errol Spence, Jr. and captured the undisputed welterweight championship. He now is the only male fighter to be the undisputed champion in 2 weight divisions. Clarissa Shields is the other fighter. Crawford is the undisputed champion in the Super Lightweight and the Welterweight divisions.
Crawford, 40-0, lost the first round on all judge’s cards, but from round 2 on, he beat up Spence like a bully on the playground. Spence, the naturally bigger man, was ragged dolled all over the ring. Crawford is known to switch up from right-handed to lefty during his fights, but fought this bout as a southpaw throughout. Spence came in as welterweight champion in the World Boxing Council, the International Boxing Federation, and the World Boxing Association. Crawford held the World Boxing Organization belt.
This was supposed to be the fight of the decade. Both legitimate world champions in the prime of their careers. Crawford is 35 years old, and Spence is 33. Both had undefeated records. Both had experience in championship fights. But “Bud” Crawford totally dominated this fight. His counter punching was superb. His jabs were so stiff that Spence was lifted off his feet. His punches were accurate throughout the fight. Spence’s face was a bloody mess after the second round. So much so that the ringside Doctor had to look at his face before round 5.
In round 2, Crawford caught Spence 28-1 with a left, right combination and Spence hit the canvas for the first time in his career. He would taste the canvas again, TWICE in round 7, which was scored 10-7. The 7th round knock downs were clean shots landed flush on Spence’s face. By then, Spence’s face was in shambles. In round 9, Spence was aggressive, but Crawford caught him with a right counter that sent Spence reeling. From there, Crawford pounced on Spence and didn’t let him breathe. He was pounding on Spence until referee Harvey Dock jumped in and waived the fight over at 2:32 of the ninth round. “It was a good stoppage. The referee is in there to protect the fighters”, says Crawford.
“I am blessed”, said Crawford. “Nobody believed in me when I was coming up, but I made it in life, but I want to thank Spence and his team because without him this would not be possible for me tonight.” Spence has the reputation of having a very good jab. “We were worried about Spence’s jab. We knew he set up his other shots off his jab. We worked on me having a strong jab, not just a flicking jab. We knew Spence was a tough fighter, so we worked on my punches being hard shots,” said Crawford. Crawford is a natural right-handed fighter and his right jab from his southpaw stance was as good as anyone’s jab in all of boxing in this fight.
Spence says, “He was the better man tonight. He used his jab, and he was catching me in between shots. He was better tonight. I don’t make no excuses.” How did Crawford take away Spence’s signature jab? “He was timing me with his jab and his jab was on point”, said Spence. “I wasn’t surprised by his speed. I expected him to be fast, but my timing wasn’t on point.” There is a rematch clause in the contract for this fight. “We have to do it again. I will have to be much better the next time. Hopefully it will be at 154 pounds at the end of the year,” says Spence. Crawford looks like one of the all-time great fighters. He is cool under pressure. His facial expression never changes, and he looks in total control every second of the fight. He takes a good punch like all great champions must do. His counter-punching skills are great. It is hard to find a weakness in his game.
About Ron Harris
Ron Harris, retired college administrator, coach, broadcaster, Internet and TV sports producer and host. Former radio host of a live call-in show. Extremely close to the sports landscape in the Washington, DC metro area. Former radio sports reporter, covering MLB, college sports, major boxing events and much more. Click here to read more posts by Ron Harris.