Chris Algieri's School of Thought: Rematch is the right move for not only Crawford, but Spence

I wasn’t surprised to learn that Errol Spence is activating his clause for a rematch with Terence Crawford. They had a two-fight deal, boxing is a business, and the most money Spence can make after such a one-sided beating comes in a rematch – even if it proves equally one-sided.

Spence had already achieved a lot and made a lot of money – but not money like back in July against Crawford. If a deal’s in place to earn a similar amount of money, there aren’t many fighters who are going to walk away from it – even those whose health might be at risk. Where else would he make that kind of money if he did?

It also won’t be as straightforward as earning the most money he can. Spence had never been beaten; after being beaten so badly he’ll want to make a statement. Even if he doesn’t believe that he can win, he’ll know that he’s better than his performance suggested. Another fight represents another opportunity to show who and what he is, and to further his legacy. Even if he loses, if he’s competitive second time around that’d be close to winning.

The interest in the first fight is such that both fighters got great percentages. It seems unlikely that the interest will be the same the second time around – even though the narrative will be spun to suggest that the weight was why Spence didn’t perform and that at 154lbs he has an opportunity for revenge. But even without the same interest there’ll be minimums in their contracts, and those minimums will not only still be substantial, but beyond any he’d get for any other fight off the back of losing as he did.

It might just be that it’s also not necessarily in Crawford’s favour to remain at 147lbs. I was there, in Las Vegas, during fight week – making welterweight is not easy for him. He’s also already proved he has the power to knock Spence out, which will give him increased confidence, regardless of the weight. Perhaps more relevantly, if he wins again at 154lbs he enhances his legacy – there’s no longer an argument that Spence was depleted by making weight.

Spence and his team placed too much emphasis on their belief that he was the bigger, stronger and more durable fighter. When he was knocked down the first time I knew the fight was over – their hopes of bullying Crawford were gone. He’s often had great in-and-out ability, but he showed none of that against Crawford. He’s always been heavy on the front foot – because he’s always been very aggressive – but he’s previously complemented that with the ability to pull back. Against Crawford, that pull-back, and balance, wasn’t there. There are ways that he can improve second time around. 

Chris Algieri's School of Thought: Rematch is the right move for not only Crawford, but Spence
Esther Lin/Showtime

It’s unlikely, but if he somehow achieves what would in many eyes be a miracle by winning the rematch, the earning potential of a third fight would be beyond even the first. The rematch is therefore the right move not only for Spence, but Crawford, too.

Crawford, regardless, is such an impressive fighter – largely because of his ability to adapt. True world champions are forced to deal with adversity, and to find an additional gear to secure victory. The way that Crawford can read his opponents and adapt – to improve, mid-fight – separates him from so many others, potentially making him even more difficult second time around.

Spence will need to rediscover his balance, and what he was previously good at. He has good fundamentals; is physically strong; has heavy hands, and punches well to the body. But he lacked in his defence, and in his ability to move in and out – he’ll need his ability to change direction, and to make his opponent miss and reach. If he can make Crawford miss and reach, and can counter him, their rematch could well be a competitive fight.

The doctor who offered a public opinion on Spence’s health without having access to his medical records isn’t worth paying attention to, but that doesn’t mean that Spence’s health isn’t. Those close to him making sure he’s had the necessary tests since July is more important, particularly given that the car accidents he has been involved in may have meant him being past his prime even before he and Crawford first agreed terms.

As strong a position as Crawford appears to be in, and even though it is difficult to predict his trainer Brian “Bomac” McIntyre’s future, McIntyre’s arrest in Manchester – where he was working the corner of Chris Eubank Jr for the first time – is a concern. They’re one of the best teams in boxing – to the extent they remind me of the prime Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach – so if he’s not around that would have an affect on most fighters’ preparations. Crawford is a different animal – including psychologically – but that could well become a variable worth considering.