Boxing history is littered with fights that happened years too late.
Now, Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr are on the precipice of another potentially timeless classic, but this time an opportunity to battle for eternal glory will not wait around.
Terence Crawford (L) and Errol Spence Jr (R) are on the verge of an historic undisputed fight
A potential match-up between the American duo has been on many a boxing wish list for a number of years, ever since Crawford – previously the undisputed super-lightweight champion and then-two-weight titleholder – made the move up to welterweight.
The Omaha star immediately set the 147lb division on high alert as he dismantled an unbeaten Jeff Horn to claim the WBO strap the Aussie had won with victory over Manny Pacquiao only two fights prior.
Spence Jr then held only the IBF belt: a title he won by stopping Kell Brook in 2018. The 32-year-old has since defended that belt six times – as well as adding two more -but was also out for 14 months after a horrifying car crash left him fighting for his life, just days after winning the WBC title.
Having recovered, Spence Jr also missed out on the opportunity to fight Manny Pacquaio in 2021 after requiring surgery on a torn retina. But now, after the American returned to defeat Yodenis Ugas and claim his WBA belt, all four welterweight titles shared between the pair.
There has never, and will never, be a better time to stage the fight.
Crawford put the welterweight division on high alert as he toppled Jeff Horn back in 2018
The unbeaten 34-year-old has since made five successful defences of the WBO belt he claimed
Spence Jr holds the WBC, WBA and IBF titles having beaten Yordenis Ugas earlier in the year
In what was music to the ears of boxing fans worldwide, ESPN’s Mike Coppinger in June reported that the welterweight pair are finally closing in on a match-up, claiming the bout will take place in Las Vegas in November.
Crawford had earlier in the year rid himself of a prevalent hurdle as he left Top Rank, leaving him free to fight on Spence Jr’s PBC, who are notoriously tricky customers when it comes to doing business with rival promoters. Essentially, there is now nothing in the way of an undisputed showdown.
Yet, the fight still hasn’t been announced, and things can change very quickly in boxing; just cast your mind back to last summer when we all thought Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury were set to collide in an historic double-header.
For both fighters, though, this fight simply has to happen next, and soon.
First, there is the small matter of boxing’s pound-for-pound list to decide. An arbitrary and largely subjective inventory, yes, but a big deal in combat sports nonetheless. And with Canelo Alvarez falling to a painful defeat to Dmitry Bivol last time out, the No 1 spot is now up for grabs.
Few would argue if Oleksandr Usyk currently topped your list, similarly but perhaps slightly less so with Naoya Inoue, but that will likely change should Crawford and Spence finally share the squared circle.
The pound-for-pound No1 spot is now open after Canelo Alvarez (right) lost to Dmitry Bivol (left) in May
Oleksandr Usyk (left) and Naoya Inoue (right) are also up there as the best boxing has to offer
With victory, Crawford would become the first male two-weight undisputed champion in the four-belt era; Claressa ‘GWOAT’ Shields became the first boxer to achieve the feat in 2021 with her victory over Marie-Eve Dicaire.
‘Bud’ – who has been criticised in the past for the lack of star names on his resume, though stopping Amir Khan, Brook and Shawn Porter in his last four fights – would also claim one of the best scalps across any division in boxing in recent history.
Spence Jr, who now holds the WBA, WBC, IBF belts, having unified first against Porter in 2019 and second against Yordenis Ugas in April this year, is undefeated in 28 fights and deemed by many to belong in the pound-for-pound top five.
Crawford would arguably claim the No 1 spot with victory over his American counterpart, while Spence Jr would likely do the same should he hand the 34-year-old the first defeat of his career.
|5ft 8in (173cm)||Height||5ft 9.5in (177cm)|
Pound-for-pound status aside, it’s the undisputed element that makes the bout a battle for the ages. ‘I think the time right now is the best time,’ Crawford recently told The DAZN Boxing Show. ‘It’s for all the marbles.
‘Errol Spence has got three of the titles. I’ve got one. It would be for the undisputed. There wouldn’t be no other champion in the division. I feel like this is the biggest moment for us two to fight.’
That undisputed element won’t be available for too long, however. There are the likes of Vergil Ortiz Jr and, particularly, Jaron Ennis, who are serious threats to both Crawford and Spence Jr. Sooner rather than later they will be granted mandatory shots at their world titles, assuming they keep winning.
While the young guns could significantly disrupt the division if they get their hands on either Crawford or Spence Jr, perhaps a more pressing matter is that neither of them are planning on staying in the 147lb division for much longer.
Welterweight prospects Jaron Ennis (right) and Vergil Ortiz Jr (left) will be looking for world title shots in the near future
‘I’m f—ing up [Jermell] Charlo,’ Crawford – who turns 35 in September – recently said. ‘Put that in there. After I beat Spence, I’m moving up and I’m f—ing up Charlo. End quote.’
Spence, 32, is also looking to move up. He revealed before his fight against Ugas that he will only compete two more times at welterweight, and more recently insisted it’s now or never against Crawford.
‘It’s closer now than it’s ever been,’ Spence recently told FightHub TV. ‘If it don’t happen now, it’s never going to happen. It’s way closer than it used to be. I think it’s definitely going to happen.’
Of course, Crawford and Spence Jr could one day fight at super-welterweight, but the attraction will never be the same. They are now are at the peak of their powers, and with no obstacles remaining, failure to come to an agreement would be unforgivable.
Both fighters have openly stated they want the fight, both fighters are highly confident of winning it, both fighters carry knockout power, and the winner will receive Hall of Fame status before they eventually climb to the divisions above.
For now, it appears as if the eagerly-anticipated bout will come to fruition in the near future. This time, the fight is set to happen at exactly the right time.