Look, if you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip? Eminem's “Lose Yourself.”
There wasn’t a more fitting song to walk out to if you are Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs), who would later become the undisputed welterweight champion. With a fish net draped over his shoulder and Eminem standing next to him when the song “Lose Yourself” played inside the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV, it felt like the momentum was all Crawford’s almost instantaneously as the crowd of 19,990 in attendance went nuts. All that was left after that big moment was to see who the best welterweight in the world would be. What we didn’t know was that Crawford would later prove to everyone that he is truly a generational talent.
The anticipation was high, and right when the bell rang to begin the fight, the crowd was on their feet as everyone knew they were about to witness something special. From the start, Crawford wasted no time and was in the southpaw stance, which he stayed almost exclusively throughout the fight. Errol Spence Jr. (28-1, 22 KOs) looked to establish his presence early by putting pressure on Crawford. The opening round was filled with feints, right jabs, and getting a feel for the ring by both men who gave each other plenty of respect.
The second round began and this is when things started to unravel and lead to what would soon be a one-sided dominant performance by Crawford. He landed a right hand that missed Spence flush but caught him more so around his neck. Since Spence was off balance when the punch landed, he fell to the canvas to record the fight's first knockdown. Although it felt like a flash knockdown, Spence seemed bothered by Crawford’s power early on and admitted during the post-fight press conference that he felt his power during the first two rounds and that “He’s a strong dude.”
Spence would bounce back in the third round, but Crawford “smelled blood in the water” and started to put pressure on him. The pressure would continue during the next few rounds as Crawford’s right jab gave Spence many issues, along with his overhand left. Spence’s face started to feel the effects of Crawford’s power, and he couldn’t keep his balance. Spence would have his moments here and there, but it was clear that Crawford had all the momentum and wouldn’t let it go.
The seventh round was where we saw Crawford’s brilliance play out. Knowing where he was in the ring, Crawford baited Spence to come in close. When Spence lunged in, Crawford positioned himself, made a slight move, and landed a right uppercut with a ton of torque that would send Spence crashing down to the canvas for the second knockdown of the fight. There was a lot of time left in the round, and Spence was in trouble. Later in the round, Crawford landed a right hook that sent Spence down again, and at this point, there was genuine concern in the arena as to how much longer anyone would allow this fight to continue. Crawford was quicker, stronger, and, at this point, had broken Spence.
Spence hung in there for round eight, but in the ninth, Crawford landed three consecutive punches that sent Spence staggering back to the ropes, and referee Harvey Doc had seen enough and stopped the fight. Spence’s face was grotesque, and he appeared like a fighter who had just been mentally and physically broken. That says a lot about Crawford, as he dominated the other great fighter in the division and made it look easy.
Crawford is the first male boxer in history to become an undisputed champion in two weight classes. That is an incredible accomplishment and one that will have his name called one day to the podium at Canastota, NY, where he will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. The great ones make it look easy, and Crawford did just that on Saturday night as he proved, without a shadow of a doubt, he is the greatest fighter in the world.
As we reflect on Saturday night for weeks to come, it’s important to remember one thing. When the sport of boxing does it right and has two of the best fighters facing each other, there is nothing like it anywhere else. Let’s keep that trend going and make 2023 one of the best years in the sport's history.