Terence Crawford stands alone at welterweight — and possibly the entire sport
Mike Coppinger and Ben Baby breakdown a historic night of boxing as two fighters leave Las Vegas with new belts around their waist.
LAS VEGAS — For years, Terence Crawford told anyone within earshot just how damn good he was. The problem? Crawford couldn’t lure the necessary opponents into the ring to prove it.
So he shouted from the mountaintop that he was the best in the world and called out every fighter under the sun.
As is often the case in boxing, politics stood in the way. For much of his welterweight reign, Crawford was signed with Top Rank while Errol Spence Jr. was with PBC, rival companies rarely doing business with each other. When Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) became a free agent after his TKO victory over Shawn Porter in November 2021, the “side of the street” argument echoed by many fighters no longer applied.
And when they finally met in the ring on Saturday, Crawford proved to be no rival to Spence (28-1, 22 KOs) at all. He picked him apart round after round with his laser-like southpaw jab and slicing right hooks. The 35-year-old punched between Spence’s attacks, carving up the naturally bigger man like Crawford had done so many times before. Crawford dropped Spence in Round 2 and twice more in Round 7 before he stopped him on his feet in the ninth of a one-sided beatdown.
Crawford proved to be not just the best welterweight in the world, but an all-time great, and entered himself into a virtual deadlock with Naoya Inoue for pound-for-pound supremacy.
“They tried to blackball me. They kept me out,” said Crawford, who fights out of Omaha, Nebraska. “They talked bad about me. They said I wasn’t good enough, that I couldn’t beat these top welterweights, and I just kept my head to the sky, and I kept praying to God that I would get the opportunity to show the world who Terence Crawford is.