Terence “Bud” Crawford, the undefeated three-division champion, made a remarkable statement in the history books by becoming the first undisputed welterweight champion of the four-belt era. He achieved this with a ninth-round TKO over Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. The showdown, a part of the SHOWTIME PPV main event, took place on Saturday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, under the banner of Premier Boxing Champions.
“It’s incredibly meaningful, given who I won the belts from,” Crawford stated. “There was so much negativity thrown at me. I was belittled and told that I wasn’t good enough and that I couldn’t compete with these welterweights. I never lost faith, I kept praying for an opportunity to show the world the greatness of Terence Crawford. Tonight, I believe I’ve done just that.”
Spence conceded, “He was just better tonight. He effectively used his jab. He simply outshone me tonight.”
Apart from acquiring the WBC, WBA, and IBF titles to his existing WBO belt, Crawford became the first male boxer to become an undisputed champion in two weight classes, having previously won all four belts at 140 pounds. After Spence had already hit the canvas three times, Crawford’s barrage of hooks in the ninth round forced referee Harvey Dock to call off the match at 2:32 into the round.
Spence began the fight with aggression, leveraging his jab and attacking Crawford’s body. Known for his ambidextrous stance, Crawford primarily fought as a southpaw and scored his first knockdown in the second round with a forceful right cross that caught Spence off balance, marking the first time Spence had been knocked down in his career.
Crawford reflected, “That’s a technique we’ve worked on. Typically in training, we use a flick and jab, but we knew that wouldn’t work against Spence because he’s durable, he’s strong. So, we had to practice a strong firm jab. The jab hit him and stopped him in his tracks.”
Spence came back with determination in round three, throwing powerful shots, including a clean landing left hook early in the round. However, Crawford withstood the attack and exhibited his precision by landing a clear counter right that once again staggered Spence.
“Errol Spence is a great talent and he’s got an impressive jab,” Crawford noted. “Coming into the fight, we were concerned about the jab because that’s how he sets up all of his shots. Our main focus was on it. Take away his jab and he will lose the fight.”
In the seventh round, Crawford dropped Spence twice, first with a clean right uppercut early in the round and later with a right hook. At the time of the stoppage, Crawford was leading 79-70 on all three cards and had a remarkable advantage in the CompuBox stats with 185 to 96 in punches landed and an extraordinary 50% connect rate.
Post-fight, both fighters showed mutual respect with Spence expressing interest in a rematch later in the year, while Crawford acknowledged Spence’s role in making the super fight happen.
“We need a rematch,” insisted Spence. It’ll be a closer match. It’ll probably be in December, towards the end of the year. Let us do it one more time.”