Terence Crawford and Errol Spence, almost an hour later, rolled into town (officially at least) today, making their Grand Arrivals in Vegas as momentum for their Saturday night superfight picked up.
WBO champion Crawford took to the stage first, going through the motions of providing a few soundbites and posing for pictures with his team before disappearing.
“It feels great,” the former undisputed champion at 140lbs said. “It will be a great night of boxing come Saturday night. It’s always special to have the ones [team members] that came up with me from the ground up to be here on the stage with me, on the big stage in Las Vegas, Nevada.”
Asked how it would feel if he became undisputed champion at 147, a second weight class – Spence holds the rest of the belts – Crawford added, “It’s going to be even better, because that’s why we take the chances that we take. That’s why we fight the fights we fight. This is a fight the world’s been waiting for and what better way to win a fight than to go out and become undisputed.”
The often-reserved Crawford then promised: “Expect the best Terence Crawford that you’ve ever seen. It’s going to be fireworks for everyone.”
It was Spence’s turn later and he had, unsurprisingly, more to say, as he warmed into his first Las Vegas superfight fight week. You could sense his excitement.
“I feel great, I’m hyped up and ready to go,” he began. “This crowd here has me even more hyped up. I’m going to put on a great show and performance. I guarantee you there’s going to be a lot of blood, guts…”
Crawford had said in the build-up that he wanted to take Spence into the deeper waters of the fight, to which Spence said today: “I live in deep waters.”
Spence reckoned he wouldn’t be overawed by the occasion, that he had been comfortable in the build-up and is ready for it because he’s familiar with the structure of big-time boxing now. Well, he didn’t put it quite like that.
“It’s a way of life for me,” Spence actually said. “It’s like anything else. It’s like taking a piss and a shit. This is what I do.”
This has been boxing’s dream fight for the last couple of years. Two of the pound-for-pound best, lurking in one another’s weight class, taking it in turns to clean out the division until all they had left was each other.
“It would mean a lot, it would be a dream come true,” said Spence of having his first chance to unify the titles. “It’s something that as an amateur and as kids, we watched these fights with all these great fighters. We watched De La Hoya versus [Felix] Trinidad, we watched all these great fights and now I get to have my moment. It means the world to me. It’s something I dreamed about since I was a kid before anything else. This is what I wanted. I wanted the glory, I wanted to be under the bright lights, the stars, to have my opponent, a worthy opponent and a guy who’s formerly undisputed, and who holds a belt, too, and who’s unbeaten, too, so that makes it all better once I defeat him on Saturday night.”
Some would have preferred the fight to have happened earlier, a year or two ago, but 33-year-old Spence said he and 35-year-old Crawford are fighting at the perfect moment.
“It's definitely happening at the right time,” Spence went on. “Look at the crowd that’s come out just for our grand arrivals. The hype around it, social media, people talking about it. I would walk into stores even before the fight was made and the first thing they asked me was, ‘When are you and Terence Crawford going to fight?’ So definitely this fight is happening at the right time, the right moment. He’s in his prime. I’m in my prime, we’re the two best fighters in the weight division, two of the best fighters in the world and the winner on Saturday night will be the best fighter in boxing. Period.”
Spence has made famous his ‘Strap Season’ line in his quest to chase belts. Crawford has talked about winning and retiring, although both have rematch clauses, but Spence is looking onwards and even upwards.
Asked for a prediction, bullish Spence would only go as far as confirming a W, but like the rest of us, he will only find out how on Saturday night at the T Mobile.
“I will definitely be victorious,” Spence said. “I don’t know how it’s going to go, if it’s going to be a knockout out, I press him out or outbox him, whatever it takes to win I’m going to do that and I’m going to win the fight.”