For those complaining the mega-fight between Errol Spence and Terence Crawford had no edge to it, there were plenty at today’s final press conference who were grateful that a lid was actually kept on proceedings.
Things threatened to get out of hand, despite Crawford’s initial pleas for calm, after members from each fighters’ entourages verbally abused the fighters on stage.
Crawford started off placid, not wanting to get invested, but by the end he was seething and he and Spence wound up trading barbs.
In fact, Crawford had gone out of his way to prevent anything from happening as he opened up simply saying: “I’m ready, he’s ready. We’re going to have a fish fire come Saturday.”
Then, after hearing some abuse from the crowd, Crawford asked people to reconsider their words and actions, adding: “Things can get real sticky real quick…. I wish Errol and his people the best.”
Fortunately, there were no sinister turns. And plenty in attendance enjoyed the fighters and their camps going at it, something that trainers Brian ‘Bomac’ McIntyre and Derrick James also got caught up in.
Spence accused Crawford of getting too emotionally involved in it all, but Crawford’s team said Terence was just being himself.
It was a glimpse into the darkness of both fighters, two stars who have been respectful in the build-up but who understand it is all business from here on in and now, after the weigh-in, all that is left is for them to fight.
Following the press conference – which is an incredibly loose term these days – Red Spikes, one of Crawford’s co-trainers, said the bad blood was manifested purely from a commercial standpoint.
“They’re selling the fight, that’s what they need to do,” said Spikes.
“They’re used to it [fight week shenanigans], they’re both so much better than this. It’s just part of the game. There’s going to be respect after the fight. Right now, it’s war time.”
Some think Spence is looking tight at the weight, but Spikes said no mind is being given to that. They are ready for the best, most determined and ambitious version of Spence they’ve seen.
“He’s going to have 36 hours to hydrate,” Spikes added. “He’s going to be hydrated and ready to fight on fight night. The weigh-in’s at 11 so we’ve got over 24 hours to get back hydrated so I don’t think it’s going to be a big issue. Ain’t no one banking on him [Spence] being dry, we’re preparing to face the best Errol Spence.”
Is Spence the best Crawford has boxed in his 39-fight career?
“On paper, yeah,” Spikes admitted. “We’ve all been watching him but after the fight we’re going to see.”
Spikes was more measured in his delivery than Bomac, who simply said to start: “We’re here now, ya’ll. Ain’t nothing else to say. He can’t hide no more. It’s time to take care of business.”
Then, later, as things threatened to kick off, McIntyre added: “It’s funny because you can’t hide no more Derrick. I respect you for what you’ve done in the game, but you ain’t never went up against me or my staff. So you remember something, we’ve been here before. You’re trying to get here. You can’t tell me shit. Sit back and watch this.”
James, in response, said: “I’m going to piggy back off what he said. There’s no more talking. There’s nothing else to say.”
Then, the Texas trainer stated: “We made this happen. We took every belt, he [Crawford] just had to hold his title, fighting non-descript opposition. We beat champions to get here.”
There were hecklers aplenty. It was disorganised, unruly, entertaining to some but ultimately ungainly and unlikely add more buys.
When Spence and Crawford were not invited to talk, and they had to listen to others around them becoming fractious and fraught, they looked bored, disinterested and, frankly, a little frustrated.
“I know what time it is,” Spence said. “It’s Strap Season. I guarantee you I’m going to put on a great show and performance. Make sure you bring your seasoning for Saturday night, we’re going to have a crawfish bowl and we’re going to boil his ass.
“I’m going to win because I’m the better fighter. Physically, mentally, it doesn’t matter. I’m more durable than him and I’m going to break him down and break his will.
“It [victory] will mean I am one of the greatest welterweights to ever lace up a pair of gloves.
“My skills are superior. Yeah, he’s talented. Guy’s got ability, we talk about skillset and what my coach teaches and that’s why he is trainer of the year, because of what he teaches. He teaches fundamentals, sound basics, and that’s what he’s going to find out. I do have great offence, I do have great defence, I do have great stamina, I don’t just have talent.”
Crawford, who’d started off trying to be so diplomatic, had given up on diplomacy by the end.
“Everything about Terence Crawford is better than Errol Spence,” he said. “When you look at everything I do in the ring, it’s better than Errol Spence Jr. Come fight night, I’ll be proving each of the doubters wrong again, that Terence Crawford is the best fighter in the world. “That’s just what it is. Not taking any credit away from Errol, he’s a great fighter., But compared to Terence Crawford there’s no comparison. I’m just a better fighter.
“You can’t deny this is my era. I never had a close fight. I never had a fight where people thought I lost, I never had a fight I didn’t look spectacular in, so given the body of work and how long I’ve been doing it for, this is the Terence Crawford era, since Floyd Mayweather retired, him and Andre Ward.”
Asked what Spence will learn about him, Crawford replied: “The same thing everybody else finds out. They all come in there and say, ‘Damn, we kind of underestimated this guy. On TV, he kind of looks one way. But in the ring, I saw three of him.’”
Then things began to deteriorate between the fighters.
“If he gets out of line, he’s going to be the next one down,” said Crawford.
“I’ve been getting out of line my whole life,” Spence interrupted.
“I better take my belt off then,” Crawford half-joked.
“You got to do what you got to do. You’re going to need more than the belt. I ain’t one of your kids,” Spence shot back.
“I’ll treat you like one.”
“We’re definitely going to see.”
“I’ll put him in the dirt,” concluded Spence.
“You ain’t putting no one in the dirt,” contended Crawford.
And that was about that, but the finals words went to Spence to talk about exactly why we are all talking about the fight. This is a fight boxing has craved for a long time.
“This is going to be legendary shit,” Spence promised. “This is going to be iconic shit. People are going to talk about this fight 30-40 years from now when they talk about legendary nights, when they talk about Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns and Marvin Hagler and the Four Kings era, they’re going to talk about this fight the same way. There’s going to be somebody in USA Boxing, an amateur, 20 years from now watching our fight on YouTube or whatever platform they’ve got and say, ‘Man, I want to be in an Errol Spence-Terence Crawford type fight.’”