The time has come for Errol Spence and Terrence Crawford to decide who will stand alone at the Summit of the welterweight division.
Somebody’s ‘0’ has got to go. It’s been a long time coming for these two elite-level boxers to meet once and for all to squash the ever-brewing beef for supremacy. The tickets, for the most part, have been sold. The fighters have talked that talk, and of course, now is the time to settle it in the ring. This mega fight will be broadcasted on Showtime PPV TONIGHT as boxing continues to deliver in 2023 with PBC/SHO ahead of the pack. As the song title from legendary duo Eric B. and Rakim goes on Saturday, we will “Know the Ledge.”
Although Naoyo Inoue dominated Stephen Fulton on Tuesday morning in the States, boxing fans enjoy an unthinkable scheduling of two scintillating matchups putting the year in boxing over the top. A classic style matchup of boxer versus puncher gets flipped on its head as the boxer can really punch, and the puncher is able to box a little, making for an intriguing game of see-saw on Saturday night.
The better resume overall belongs to Spence, but Crawford’s racked up seven straight stoppages since entering the division back in 2018. Outside the ring, Errol has been through hell and back, whereas Terrence eats, sleeps, and s**s boxing.
Activity in the last few years does favor ‘Bud’ with the career stops and starts ‘The Truth’ has endured, yet it’s not completely clear cut. Yes, Spence has fought just two times post his FOTY candidate with Shawn Porter back in September 2019. He met Danny Garcia in December 2020 and then devoured Yordenis Ugas beyond a strange moment with Errol’s mouthpiece. Crawford did manage to get a bout in December but has only fought three times since 2019 against Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
With both combatants staying in relative boxing shape, we shouldn’t have an issue. Hinting at moving to junior middleweight for quite some time now, many believe Spence will have problems trimming off the last few pounds. At some point, the weight cutting and fluctuating of pounds will take a toll on Errol’s body. Something to consider is Spence looking pretty damn good facing Danny Garcia after well over a year out of the ring, recovering both mentally and physically from a significant car wreck. Sixteen months later, this time sidelined due to a serious retina injury Spence was overwhelmingly dominant, taking out a red-hot Ugas.
Look for Errol Spence to start faster than Terence Crawford behind a crispy jab and power shots from time to time. Crawford, notorious for his slow starts, will likely not repeat that habit; otherwise, it will put him in an unnecessary hole to dig out of.
Spence is like a snowball gaining strength and going downhill as this fight gets deeper into the rounds. Will Crawford stay in his southpaw stance for long stretches like many assume he should? Another hot topic is just how aggressive Spence will be and how much movement Terence will feature for the first chunk of this contest.
Although this boxing podcaster knows both of these guys like to get even, especially after being tagged, instead look for patience and respect for at least a few rounds. Crawford loves to measure and download in the early goings of most fights only to find his calibration. Bud strikes with bad intentions timing his opponent with lead or counter shots that do real damage. My best guess is Crawford will start out circling and/or pivoting in an attempt to set traps. Terence is an elite counterpuncher with impeccable timing and athleticism, which makes up for some of his defensive flaws and unorthodox offense.
Speaking of flaws, Errol isn’t a high-level defender either and can get caught falling over his punches showing balance problems at times after throwing homerun derby bombs. With both men starting responsible and composed, it won’t be until maybe the third or fourth round before the fireworks begin to pop off. Crawford is billed as the more talented boxer, but Spence has underrated footwork and is fully capable of taking a half step back or to the side to avoid incoming yet staying in range to land. And a reminder to Spence, “protect yourself at all times” because Crawford, just like Errol, won’t show mercy, not even for a split second the way Ugas did.
Shawn Porter’s name has come up a fair amount when breaking down this fight for obvious reasons. One could argue five rounds to 4 for either Shawn or Terrence going into the 10th round. If Spence has a lead with three rounds remaining, Crawford will have to drop and likely stop him from getting his hand raised on Saturday. That said, Errol and Shawn went to war as Spence fought Porter’s fight, trading punches in a spirited display of guts.
However, Errol wasn’t able to stop Porter even if it was trainer and father Kenny Porter that threw in the towel against Crawford. Sure, we don’t know what would’ve ultimately happened, but it did appear Porter was badly stunned and frustrated from perfectly-timed shots that saw him take not one but two trips to the canvas. It could also be noted and argued Porter had one foot in retirement.
Even if this boxing junkie thinks Spence will get out to a lead, Crawford will, at minimum, hurt Errol, and don’t be surprised if it happens more than once. If Bud is able to find his rhythm and begin to land those counter punches on an overly aggressive Spence, it might be currants. If Spence can crowd Bud forcing him on the ropes and in corners as Porter did, Errol’s short, accurate punches on the inside to the head and body will add up in a hurry. This hack-of-a-scribe predicts will see a nice blend of Spence using his boxing ability at range as he did with Mikey Garcia but also bringing sufficient pressure ramping it up in the second half.
It won’t render Crawford tentative because we all know Terrence will go toe to toe if need be. Spence’s pressure and volume will only intensify as the fight drags on, occupying Crawford on defense just enough to affect his offensive output. Both men will get hurt badly if not kiss the canvas in a fight that will pick up steam round after round.
My Official Prediction is Errol Spence by Majority-Decision.
Side Note: First-ballot Hall of Famer, when he chooses to retire, Nonito Donaire takes on a game fighter in Alexandro Santiago as well as Isaac Cruz vs. Giovanni Cabrera and Sergio Garcia vs. 23-year-old prospect Yoenis Tellez on the PPV undercard.
Written by Chris Carlson, Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio