Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford both vowed to cement their legacies when they meet July 29 in Las Vegas in what they both called an “old-school fight,” arguably the biggest boxing match since Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao in 2015.
The undisputed welterweight championship will be on the line — Spence holds the IBF, WBA and WBC titles while Crawford owns the WBO belt at 147 pounds — but more importantly, the winner will stake a legitimate claim to the pound-for-pound throne abdicated by Canelo Alvarez last year.
Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs) is currently ESPN’s No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer, but he’ll need to push past his toughest test yet in Spence, a bigger, stronger southpaw with an imposing pressure style.
“This is the biggest fight in boxing right now,” Spence, 33, said on Tuesday at the Los Angeles news conference, one day before he and Crawford shared the stage a second time in New York.
“This is a legendary fight. It’s an old-school fight. This is like the fights my dad used to tell me about. It’s the best fighting the best.”
The matchup is considered the best boxing could deliver, one fans have waited years for. It’s not just a summit meeting at 147 pounds between two undefeated boxers, but also fighters who appear headed for the Hall of Fame.
“This is definitely a legacy fight and a fight that should be talked about everywhere,” said Crawford, 35. “This is an old-school type of fight. All the greats have fought each other and that’s what we’re doing for this era.”
This era has often been marked by the sport’s inability to make the obvious matchups in an ever-fragmented boxing business. But this year has proved different. Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia clashed in April and one month later Devin Haney competed against Vasiliy Lomachenko.
Now, Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) and Crawford are set to share the ring, ending years of frustration for fans who wished to see two top-5 pound-for-pound boxers who are both in their primes.
“We had to get on the phone and talk about it, and now it’s finally happening,” said Spence, referring to a March conversation that helped revive talks that broke down last year at the 11th hour. “This is going to prove not only who the best welterweight is, but who the best fighter in the world is. My mentality is to go all out and give everything. His mentality is the same.
“Terence is a great fighter and I’m going to break another great fighter’s will. Mentally and physically, I’m going to dominate and come out on top.”
While Spence lavished Crawford with praise, he also took issue with his resume.
Brook and Porter are Spence and Crawford’s two common opponents. Spence broke Brook’s orbital in a 11th-round KO victory in 2017, Spence’s first title fight. Crawford stopped Brook in Round 4 of a 2020 bout.
“Terence hasn’t fought anybody,” said Spence, who lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. “Even Shawn Porter said he didn’t train like he should against you. Kell Brook was already broken. I broke Kell Brook’s other eye, that’s how he got broke.”
While both fighters are established at welterweight, Spence is a natural 147-pounder who competed at 152 pounds in the Olympics while Crawford has also won titles at 135 and 140 pounds.
The Omaha, Nebraska, native is also a switch-hitter, able to transition seamlessly from orthodox to southpaw. Crawford has stopped all seven of his welterweight opponents, including his most-recent foe, David Avanesyan, via spectacular sixth-round KO in December.
“Y’all are going to witness greatness,” Crawford said. “We measure greatness by eras. July 29, I’m going to show everyone why this era is the Terence Crawford era.
“People after this fight are going to say that Bud Crawford is special,” he added. “I can assure you that. He’ll give me my respect after the fight after I whoop that ass. … Errol doesn’t like to back up. I’m the type of fighter where you push me and I push even harder. We both have big hearts and like to fight. It makes for a great action-packed fight.”
Errol Spence Jr.-Terence Crawford showdown ‘a legacy fight’