Espinoza: Crawford-Spence “Needed to happen”

Showtime Sports president Stephen Espinoza said that the Terence Crawford-Errol Spence welterweight unification clash “needed to happen,” and that the success of the event made up for the stresses that were sometimes involved in negotiating the fight.

“It was a fight that needed to happen, it was important for the sport, and it was important to the two participants, who each very much wanted this to happen,” he told the Showtime Boxing Podcast. “You know, there were some emotional obstacles in the way early on, then there were some legitimate disagreements over the deal. That sort of delayed it and made it a complicated negotiation. But certainly, by the time you get to fight night, and you see all the excitement, you see the outpouring of anticipation and enthusiasm, then it's all worth it. If you asked me a week before an event, ‘Is it worth it?’ I will probably say it is the wrong time to ask me. But when you ask me, after having experienced the excitement of fight day and fight night, and everything that goes along with that, then yes, absolutely [it was] worth every sleepless night.”

Espinoza, like most observers, expected a close, competitive bout rather than the virtuoso display of dominance that Crawford provided. Pressed whether he had seen anything from either camp to suggest the fight might unfold in that way, he said no – although, in hindsight, Crawford’s entry into the arena gave some hint as to the mindset of the man who would catapult himself to the top of the pound-for-pound rankings by the end of the night. 

“Errol has always been a sort of relatively reserved, laid-back guy. He's got the Texas drawl. You know, he doesn't show a lot of emotion. It's really hard to get a rise out of him. So, I didn't see anything different in his presentation all week,” he said. “I would say the one thing that did strike me, and I'm not saying that this was meaningful in the fight, [was that] I happened to be in one of the hallways when Crawford was entering, when he was literally walking from the back of the arena from the loading dock to his locker room. And I saw something that I have rarely if ever seen, I don't think I recall this. When he came through, there was such an intensity in his demeanor, that you could hear a pin drop in that hallway. And usually, there's people scurrying around, there's security, there's people entering, there's concession lines, there's all kinds of activity going on, but it really felt like as he walked by there was just an intensity that just quieted everybody in the hallway, as they as they walked past. It was sort of a different experience. I mean, usually people will stop and take pictures or, you know, clear away, but there was a sense of just sheer absolute silence as he walked through. And his whole camp, they were all intense, and maybe that was a clue to what was going to happen.”