Home away from home: The UK fights that launched the careers of Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr.
Back in 2014 and 2017, Crawford and Spence traveled thousands of miles to challenge for their first world titles in front of hostile crowds in the United Kingdom.
Crawford has gone on to win 17 consecutive world title fights, and Spence seven, since those nights in Glasgow, Scotland, and Sheffield, England, respectively.
After much anticipation and delay, Spence (WBC, WBA, IBF) and Crawford (WBO) will eventually box to decide the undisputed welterweight champion — and pound-for-pound No. 1 — at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Saturday in what will perhaps be boxing’s biggest fight of 2023.
But Spence and Crawford received a lot less attention, acclaim and money when they first arrived on the world title stage at venues very different from T-Mobile Arena.
A champion’s home crowd can feel like another opponent for a challenger to overcome, especially if the fight is close and it goes to the judges’ scorecards after 12 rounds. But Crawford was in such sublime form that a controversial decision was never a prospect.
Crawford arrived in Glasgow to challenge local hero Ricky Burns for his WBO lightweight world title in March 2014, carrying a reputation as a talented prospect but was still relatively unknown.