The Battle for the Undisputed Welterweight Crown
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In a truly captivating match from both fighters, history was made in the ring as welterweights Errol Spence Jr. and Terence “Bud” Crawford faced off after years of deliberation between their respective teams over contractual disputes. A bout that would decide the first-ever undisputed welterweight champion of all time put the two fighters in a major predicament; despite their immense respect for each other, the result of this match would be the premier highlight of their careers. From their heated Twitter arguments to the pre-fight press conference, the respect the two had built for each other through their shared experiences in the fight game would be put to the test in the ring, where one of their names would be forever written into history as one of the greatest welterweights to ever live.
Of course, the rivalry between the two did not appear out of nowhere. Errol Spence Jr., a decorated welterweight with wins against former champions like Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, and Yordenis Ugás, looked to further his legacy by fighting whom many consider the greatest welterweight of all time: Terence Crawford. A triple champion undefeated in three separate divisions, “Bud” looked to prove to the fans that he was untouchable when it came to the boxing game. Most importantly, both fighters wanted to prove to themselves that they were the “top dog” in the welterweight division.
Once ESPN’s prospect of the year, Errol Spence Jr. had great expectations to live up to as a young welterweight on the rise to the top. A former Olympian and U.S. National gold medalist, Spence credits his career to his father, who always supported him throughout his amateur career and was the backbone of his professional beginnings. Making his debut on Showtime in 2014, Spence won by a unanimous decision with a shutout across all judges’ scorecards against Ronald Cruz, proving to fight fans across the country that Errol Spence Jr. was a name to look out for. Winning the IBF welterweight championship in 2017 against Kell Brook took Spence to the next level, and becoming a unified champion in 2017 against Shawn Porter in a fight-of-the-year candidate match pushed the young welterweight into the global spotlight. Meanwhile, one of boxing’s most dangerous welterweights had been dominating the welterweight ranks in different organizations, rewriting the requirements to be a world-class welterweight. Terence Crawford fought for more than fame and glory—he fought for his pride.
Growing up a troubled youth, Crawford looked to take his anger out through boxing, starting at the ripe age of seven. His mother constantly prayed for his downfall, yet a young “Bud” always proved her wrong throughout his childhood and into the early stages of his boxing career. Though he made his debut in 2008, Crawford did not gain major recognition until his 2013 bout against former WBO lightweight champion Breidis Prescott. Taking away only $125 thousand from the fight, Crawford strived to keep fighting to prove his worth to the largest promoters in the world and, ultimately, to himself. After beating Ricky Burns for the WBO lightweight championship in 2014, winning the vacant WBO light welterweight championship in 2015, and defeating Jeff Horn to kickstart his championship reign at welterweight, Crawford’s popularity skyrocketed. Winning these belts in the lightweight, light welterweight, and welterweight divisions through 10 years of boxing pushed Crawford into all-time boxer status among his peers, leaving only one challenge to his legacy: Errol Spence Jr. In what would be the hardest match of both fighters’ careers, their lives’ work would come to its toughest challenge yet.
Live on DAZN, in front of a packed crowd in the T-Mobile Arena, the moment these two fighters had been waiting for their whole lives had arrived. It was now or never; there could only be one undisputed welterweight king crowned at the end of the fight, and neither fighter wanted to be on the losing end of the ordeal. What many expected to be a competitive fight became a true display of Crawford’s masterclass experience, as he pummeled Spence through nine rounds of the anticipated 12-round bout. Instead of seeing a fight between two of the top welterweights of all time, fans witnessed a brutal beatdown as Crawford was up big on the judges’ scorecards at the time of the fight’s stoppage. Though the fight got off to a slow start in the first round, with Spence winning the round across the judges’ scorecards, fans were able to see the difference in skill between the two fighters as the night progressed. From his magnificent second-round combinations all the way to his brutal seventh-round counter punch right to Spence’s temple, Crawford was able to do what no fighter had ever done before: knock down Errol Spence Jr. on the canvas. In what was truly his legacy match, “Bud” proved to himself that he was in fact the greatest welterweight of all time, becoming the first-ever undisputed welterweight champion. On the other side, Spence had lost everything he had ever worked for in terms of championship status, but not without gaining the ultimate respect of one of boxing’s greatest talents in Crawford. While a rematch clause may be triggered in the near future, no talks have been underway yet between the two fighters’ respective teams, but fans expect that the result may likely be the same. With a few years left in his prime, fans suspect that Errol Spence Jr. will make one more run for the belts he previously held, while Crawford has no competition left to defeat. It may have taken decades, but the now-35-year-old Crawford can rightly say he succeeded; he wore the undisputed welterweight crown before anyone else could.