After years of anticipation and broken promises, Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford appear ready to finally lock horns. The undefeated champions will meet on July 29 to decide the undisputed welterweight champion, All four belts will be on the line. The early boxing lines lean towards Crawford (-145) here. Either way, this is building up to be boxing’s biggest fight of 2023. Can it deliver?
— Premier Boxing Champions (@premierboxing) June 4, 2023
Spence vs Crawford: How Did We Get Here?
For boxing fans, the build-up for Spence vs Crawford has existed for more than half a decade. It started back in 2018. Spence defended his IBF welterweight belt by starching Carlos Ocampo in a round. Then, in front of over 700,000 viewers, Spence said he wanted to unify the division by going after the other welterweight champions, Crawford included.
Crawford had just captured the WBO title a week prior as he knocked out Jeff Horn. Both Spence and Crawford were young and unbeaten champions who won most of their fights by knockout. The anticipation only grew as both boxers kept winning.
Spence defeated both Shawn Porter and Yordenis Ugas to capture the other belts while Crawford extended his knockout streak to 10 with devastating KOs over Porter, Kell Brook and Amir Khan among his most notable opponents.
Almost everyone from fans to pundits to fellow boxers wanted to see these budding legends finally duke it out. And it nearly happened in several boxing news reports from 2021 to early this year. Unfortunately, it never got past the negotiation phases.
Fans could only make hypothetical boxing picks while Las Vegas still released odds on this matchup. Most had and still have Crawford winning over Spence; hence why the online sportsbook has the lines this way.
Is Spence Underrated in this Spot?
It sounds crazy, but Spence is not even ranked in some pound-for-pound (P4P) lists. And he holds more belts than Crawford and has fought tougher opposition. Yet Crawford is consistently ranked as the top P4P boxer.
Crawford’s knockouts are sexy at a first glance. But other than Porter, Crawford’s opponents do not match up to Spence. Some have “big” names like Khan and Brook, but they were relatively “favorable” matchups for the former Top Rank boxer.
As for Spence, he had no favors in the matchmaking. He had to take on Ugas, who is a tough stylistic matchup for any opponent. He also had to box Danny Garcia, a former champion in his prime, and four-division champion Mikey Garcia (albeit he was a smaller boxer).
So while Spence has not looked as impressive as Crawford, it’s due to the level of opposition. Spence may have sharpened his skills more than Crawford. As they say, “iron sharpens iron.” He’s also had to live through some harrowing accidents outside the ring.
As an underdog (+115), it’s worth betting online. This is his first time Spence will be an underdog since he became a champion. And should he pull off the upset, there will be no more excuses to exclude him from P4P rankings.
How Will the Fight Play Out?
The boxing odds favor Crawford to win and for him to do it via a decision (+175). The next most likely outcome is for Spence to win in a similar fashion (+200). Either way, this bout is heavily expected to go to the judges (-200). Neither Crawford nor Spence have tasted defeat or even the canvas. This will be the most challenging bout for each, to say the least.
At best, this will be a competitive back-and-forth that leads to a close decision. As boxing tends to be, it may be another controversial decision, as many “superfights” have yielded. But as long as the fight lives up to its billing, fans will want to see more.
Spence vs Crawford Fight Information
- Boxers: Spence Jr. (C) (28-0-0, 22 KOs) vs Crawford (c) (39-0-0, 30 KOs)
- Date: Saturday, July 29, 9 p.m. ET
- Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, NV
- Live stream: Box Live