Errol Spence Jr vs. Terence Crawford LA Press Conference Observations

Today, June 13th, we saw the start of the promotional build-up for the WBA, WBC, and IBF welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr., as he looks to unify against the WBO welterweight world champion, Terence Crawford. The first press conference of a two-city, two-day media tour took place in Beverly Hills, California, to promote the July 29th, Showtime pay-per-view fight.

Here are some observations from the event.

The Excitement and Historical Significance Of This Fight

The first time the welterweight title has been contested for an undisputed world champion in the four-belt era. That can't be understood as this is the modern glamour division considering Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather fought in this division.

In four hours, the live stream of the press conference had already hit 100,000 views an impressive feat that probably will boast further engagements on YouTube's algorithm and Google's search engine optimization. Though it isn't trending the same way Gervonta Davis vs. Ryan Garcia was, it is still trending in the right direction based on our web metrics. 

Every reputable media outlet in boxing, big or small seemingly was flooding social media with photos of the event. A red carpet was laid out for the event inside the Beverly Hills Hotel. It was more of something to gawk at than your typical fight press conference which is used to write stories from for the next few weeks. The two fighters being in the room was the event, the words were simply extra.

In terms of history, Errol Spence Jr will be making the seventh defense of his IBF welterweight world title, the third defense of his WBC welterweight world title, and his first defense of the WBA welterweight title. Crawford, the three-division world champion, who has held the WBO welterweight title for five years, will be making his seventh defense of his WBO welterweight world title. Crawford enters the fight on a ten-fight knockout streak.

Both are vying to be the first four-belt undisputed welterweight world champion. Crawford was an undisputed champion at junior welterweight before moving up to welterweight.

Contrasting Personalities Shown By Fashion Choice


When staring at events from the press conference you can tell the contrasting personalities. Usually, press conferences for boxers exude a level of embarrassment. Fighters were outfits that cost thousands of dollars and had the verbiage of the brand right out in front to let you know how expensive it is. You have two types of designer clothes 1) the type to show your wealth, 2) the type that is made to last and feel good, and is much more subtle. Boxing tends to follow into category one. 

Yet, neither man opted for this. Crawford dawning some brown Gucci shoes that if you didn't look closely could be confused for casual work boots. His polo that he wore not tucked in, looked like a hip parent going to a graduation for his child complimented by his more than likely very expensive jeans. Crawford looked like how most middle-class people dress up for big events, it wasn't shown - but it showed he cared. 

Contrast it with Errol Spence Jr in which it looked as though he was graduating. If Crawford looked like he was attending graduation, Spence Jr looked like he was in the graduation, as he wore a formal dress shirt with suspenders prompting some on the live chat to compare him to Steve Urkel, a beloved nerdy character from the television show, 'Family Matters'. 

Errol Spence Jr is someone who speaks to the modern generation whereas not unlike Marvin Hagler, Terence Crawford is someone who defies the norms, but within conventions that don't go against the norm. Crawford is a rebel, who doesn't appear rebellious in nature, yet everything about him is about outlasting everyone. 

The choice of clothes for the first official press conference images was telling as it told a story untold by words. It showed how both fighters want to be remembered at that moment, and both want to be viewed in uniquely different ways. 

Spence Leading Into This Fight

Errol Spence Jr., prior to this fight collected the IBF welterweight world title by defeating Kell Brook in the United Kingdom, defeated Shawn Porter for the WBC welterweight world title, had a bad car accident that endangered his boxing career. Once healthy, Spence tried to fight Pacquiao but was removed from a fight with Manny Pacquiao after a pre-fight saw that he suffered a retinal detachment in his left eye. Spence would stop Yordenis Ugas the WBA welterweight champion, who defeated Pacquiao when he filled in for Spence Jr. last year and since Spence Jr., has been on the sidelines. 

Now Spence is a man trying to prove some things. He is entering his mid-30s, and the 2012 U.S. Olympian turned decorated world champion, wants to fulfill his promise of being the greatest fighter of his era - and this seems to be the fight to do it. In the press conference today, Spence referenced fights of yesteryear such as when Ray Leonard fought Thomas Hearns or Oscar De La Hoya fought Felix Trinidad, which seemed to reveal in the moment. Though Spence Jr. is quite humorous often with funny t-shirts, Spence seemingly has waited for this moment, the same way Andre Ward waited to face Sergey Kovalev - the greats want their moment to be great, and reading between the lines that is what Spence seemingly was channeling. 

His coach, Derrick James, one of the most well-respected coaches in the game, and a master motivator, played the background. This was Spence's moment and though Spence had words for Crawford - the big takeaway is this was Spence's defining moment, this is his legendary night - and he knows it. 

As they faced off for the first time Spence had the WBC belt over his left shoulder, the IBF belt over his right and wore the WBA title as Crawford slung the WBO title over his shoulder. We kept looking for some moment of weakness in either fight, but they didn't give us anything. Spence was dignified looking closer to the fighting version of John Adams, the second president of the United States, that the emotional rollercoaster many fighters give us in the build-up to a fight.

Crawford Leading Into The Fight

This was Crawford's first fight with Premier Boxing Champions. His second fight outside of Top Rank Inc. His last outing was one on BLK Prime, which was strange. Crawford's career is an enigma. The talent is obvious, but not unlike Larry Holmes, an astute politician can pick apart his resume or even worse weaponize it. The compelling aspects of Crawford were on display today at the press conference. 

Crawford usually a tough task to interview was very cordial as it appeared he had more media availability than Spence Jr., and more so, seemed to embrace the moment. Crawford talked about giving the fans 'a gift', though some might have been made when his version of a gift wasn't a material object they could take home instead it was his performance on July 22nd. This is the happiest I have seen Crawford doing media obligations since potentially the Viktor Postol fight, and even then I never remember him having that many noteworthy lines. 

Crawford has often been one of the best fighters in the world and one of the worst post-fight interviews to attend if the right questions are not asked it appears he gets bored rather quickly. What was interesting was Crawford was the competitive and fiercely loyal boxer who came out of obscurity in Omaha, Nebraska, whom many have wanted to hear from for years. Crawford should have aspects of his personality that have had his defenders on the frontlines for him for years. 

It appears the 'big fight' is bringing the best aspects out of both fighters as they are engaged in the promotion as much as the fans. 

The Big Takeaway

It seems as though both fighters were excited for this fight as mentioned above their dress code looked closer to two adults attending a job fair than it was your typical press conference. The retorts were alright, but rather unmemorable - in all honesty, it felt like both fighters tried a bit too hard to steal the show leaving the outcome rather indifferent. The best exchanges came when the two fighters bickered back and forth, hopefully moving forward we get some form of content built around having them in the same room talking to each other as that seems to be the strength of the promotion.

The spotlight was solely on Spence and Crawford as they delivered, but it also showed that both fighters might have a sense of nerves. This is everything they worked for - this is the legacy for both. The winner of this fight is a first-ballot hall-of-famer, the loser is the second man of the era. Though both had moments, it was clear the battle will be won in the ring and not on the stage as neither went for a technical knockout with words. It was the first time looking at either fighter and seeing that they had a deep respect for the other fighter, as even as they bickered it seemed to be with a level of respect. They know they are the best, and the competitors that they are want to see who is the best. 

One other takeaway - Spence appears bigger than Crawford. Not a lot bigger, but probably the difference between a cornerback to a safety if you were to use an NFL comparison. It makes sense as Crawford has won world titles at lightweight and junior welterweight, prior to his five-year run at the welterweight division. Yet, seeing the iconic photo of looking at the two fighters the first thing many pointed out was the back of Errol Spence Jr., and how it looked bigger than Crawford. We still have a month and a half to go, but every little observation is notable in a fight this big.

Tomorrow, the duo take the show to New York City, New York for the second leg of their two-day press conference.