“It means everything because of who I took the belts from,” said Crawford. “They talked bad about me. They said I wasn’t good enough and I couldn’t beat these welterweights. I just kept my head to the sky and kept praying to God that I would get the opportunity to show the world how great Terence Crawford is. Tonight, I believe I showed how great I am.”
“He was just better tonight,” said Spence. “He was using the jab. My timing was a little bit off. He was just the better man tonight.”
In addition to adding the WBC, WBA and IBF titles to his WBO belt, Crawford became the first male fighter to become an undisputed champion in two weight classes, having previously won all four belts at 140-pounds. In a fight where Spence had already been down three times, Crawford’s ninth round onslaught of hooks forced referee Harvey Dock to wave off the action 2:32 in the frame.
After years of build-up, Spence came out aggressively in the opening round, jabbing and attacking Crawford’s body. Crawford, who is known for fighting from both the southpaw and orthodox stances, fought primarily as a southpaw and scored his first knockdown in round two with a powerful right cross that caught Spence off balance and sent him down for the first time in his career.
“We practice that,” said Crawford. “Normally in camp we do a flick and jab. But we knew that wasn’t going to work with Errol Spence because he’s durable, he’s strong. So we had to practice a strong firm jab. The jab hit him and stopped him in his tracks.”
“He was just throwing the hard jab,” said Spence. “He was timing with his jab. His timing was just on point. I wasn’t surprised by his speed or his accuracy. It was everything I thought.”
Spence came out in round three determined to turn the tide after the knockdown, throwing big shots, including a left hook that landed cleanly early. However, Crawford was able to withstand the attack and showed his precision by landing a clean counter right that again staggered Spence.
“Errol Spence is a tremendous talent and he’s got a great jab,” said Crawford. “We were worried about the jab coming in because that’s how he sets up all of his shots. Our main focus was the jab. You take away his best attribute. The rest is history.”
In round seven, Crawford dropped Spence twice, once with a clean right uppercut early on and again late in the round with a right hook. Crawford led 79-70 on all three cards at the time of the stoppage and dominated the CompuBox stats with an 185 to 96 advantage in punches landed and an astounding 50% connect rate.
Post-fight, Crawford showed his respect for Spence stepping up to the plate and making the super fight happen and spoke to the historic nature of the matchup, while Spence expressed his interest in a rematch later this year.
“We gotta do it again,” said Spence. “I’m going to be a lot better. It’ll be a lot closer. It’ll probably be in December and the end of the year. I say we gotta do it again.”
“Like I said before, I only dreamed of being a world champion,” said Crawford. “I’m an overachiever. Nobody believed in me when I was coming up, but I made everybody a believer. I want to thank Spence and his team because without him none of this would have been possible.”