Three-division champion Terence Crawford will finally fight Errol Spence Jr. on Saturday night for the undisputed welterweight title in a bout that is more than five years in the making.
The mega matchup took nearly a half decade to make because Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs) was tied to Top Rank and Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) was tied to Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, and the two companies rarely strike deals directly with one another.
Crawford’s career was promoted by Top Rank up until his Nov. 2021 fight against Shawn Porter. In Jan. 2022, Crawford sued Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum’s company for breach of contract and claimed racial bias. By December, Crawford linked up with nascent boxing entrant BLK Prime for a pay-per-view show and knocked out David Avanesyan.
Before the Avanesyan fight was announced, Crawford, Spence, Haymon, Tom Brown’s TGB Promotions, and Showtime worked extensively to strike a deal to no avail.
Alas, the fight was finally made this spring after a second go-round.
Spence described it as grueling negotiations due to Crawford’s demands and him making concessions that he didn't think the Nebraska native deserved.
“It’s been good. I can’t complain,” Crawford told BoxingScene.com in an interview when he was asked about how his career has been progressing while being a promotional free agent.
“I will consider [PBC] as partners right now, but as in what we accomplish next week, I will say we are partners in the event.
“[Arum] was promoting my career. I’m in control of my career, so that’s the big difference right there [between working with Arum and Haymon].”
The contract that was negotiated calls for a rematch that can be exercised by the loser 30 days after the fight.
“Look, man, of course, whoever is victorious is going to have more leeway and more of an advantage, but like I said, I’m not worried about the rematch, I’m not worried about the contract, I’m not worried about none of that stuff because that’s done already. I’m focusing on the fight right now,” said Crawford.
Spence said he would want a rematch to take place at 154 pounds because the career-long welterweight has outgrown the division.
“I’m not worried about anybody other weight divisions other than Errol Spence Jr. at 147 right now, and that’s the fight that has got me locked in – that’s the fight that I’m worried about. I’m not thinking about anything else other than what’s in front of me,” said Crawford.
No matter the result Saturday night, Crawford is content with his career, one of which he believes is already bound for enshrinement in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
“Like I’ve been saying before. I can retire right now, and I’m considered a Hall of Famer. So that part is already, I believe, cemented and in the gravestone,” said Crawford.
“[A win against Spence] would just put the icing on the cake. It would shut up the doubters.
“It would shut up the people that say negative things that don’t really know things about boxing, and I’ll just keep it moving. That’s easy. It’s the best fight in boxing in a whole decade, probably more than a decade.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.