Is Terence Crawford the best welterweight? Errol Spence Jr.?
By Bill Tibbs
Until they beat Terence Crawford, nobody in boxing can claim to be the best welterweight in the world.
Shortly after Errol Spence Jr. (26-0, 21 KO’s) defeated Shawn Porter (30-3-1, 17 KO’s) on Saturday night in Los Angeles, (capturing the WBC welterweight title to go with his IBF belt), the immediate talk of who, and what, is next came up.
It’s hard for Spence to talk of being the best welterweight in the world, even though he has 2 of the 4 belts, without seriously addressing fighting Omaha, Nebraska’s Terence Crawford (35-0, 26 KO’s). Many feel that WBO champion Crawford is not only the best among welterweights but also in all of boxing.
When asked about Terence Crawford after the fight Spence was quick to shift the focus to tickets over talent.
“The last time Crawford fought on pay-per-view, he did 100,000 buys,” said Spence. “I’m not worried about Crawford right now. They don’t promote him like they should be, so it is what it is. We’ll worry about Crawford when we get there. Like I said Crawford needs me more than I need him.”
Crawford, who has a lucrative contract with Top Rank Boxing, seems quite happy with how his career is being handled and simply wants to fight the very best available fighters.
Spence, a New York native living in Houston, should be focused on devoting himself to becoming the undisputed champion in the division, something Crawford achieved when he ruled the junior welterweight class from 2015-2017.
Instead of looking at calling out Crawford and pushing his team to make that fight, Spence looks like he will fight Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia. While a tough and talented champion, Garcia has losses to Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter, both fighters that Crawford would beat if they were to meet.
Whatever Spence has accomplished, and that is much in his seven-year career, Crawford has accomplished just as much. Spence was impressive in securing the IBF welter strap when he traveled to England and defeated Kell Brook to capture the title.
However, it was no more impressive that Crawford sauntering into long reigning champion Ricky Burns’ backyard in Glasgow, Scotland and winning the WBO world lightweight title.
Since their title winning efforts, both fighters have racked up some impressive wins. Crawford has defeated a host of styles that were supposed to give him all kinds of trouble.
The power of Yuriorkis Gamboa, the long, awkward style of boxer Viktor Postol, the size of Australia’s Jeff Horn and the boxing pedigree of England’s Amir Khan were all supposed to foil Omaha’s favorite son, but all came up short.
Including the Porter fight, Spence has four title defenses under his belt as a welterweight champion. While he is often viewed as perhaps the most talented of the lot, he really put a shine on his star when he dismantled then-undefeated Mikey Garcia this past March.
However, the bottom line is that Garcia was jumping up two weight classes to challenge Houston’s’ Spence and he was plain and simply too small.
With his win over Porter, Spence is again making his case that he is the best welterweight out there. In the process, he is speaking of Crawford as an afterthought, a fight that will always be there, a fight that he can get anytime he wants.
Crawford is tough, talented, one of the mentally strongest fighters out there, is well coached and has yet to lose. He matches Spence in power, has a very good defense, and is an accurate and brave counter puncher who will stay in range to land damaging shots. “Bud” can box and bang and there is a reason many people refer to him as the best P4P fighter in the game.
I like Spence and I think he is a great fighter. However, I believe Terence Crawford is the best welterweight in the world. Spence can write him off as much as he wants but if they meet in the ring I think he will see that talking about beating him and doing it are two very different things.
He said that “Crawford needs me more than I need him”, but if he believes he is the best welterweight in the world, and he wants to prove that, then he indeed needs Crawford. If Spence wants to load up the bank account, then fair enough, this is a business.
But, if he wants to claim to be the best welterweight in boxing then that conversation involves Terence Crawford.
To be the best you have to beat the best and Terence Crawford is the best welterweight in boxing. If Spence and his team are only concerned about loot, then carry on, but if they are concerned about legacy they indeed need Omaha’s one-man sports franchise. Being from different promotional entities doesn’t hamper anything; Top Rank works with other promotional firms all the time. This fight can happen and it should – and as soon as possible. They are both hot, they are both undefeated and they are both champions – let’s go.