After years of expectation, disappointment, hope and despair, Errol Spence Jr (28-0, 22KOs) and Terence Crawford (39-0, 30KOs) come head-to-head in the early hours of Sunday to crown the best welterweight of a generation in Las Vegas.
With all four sanctioning body belts on the line – the WBC, WBA and IBF held by Spence while Crawford reigns as champion with the WBO – a claim as the sport’s pound-for-pound best is also up for grabs at the T-Mobile Arena.
The fight is no doubt one of if not the best boxing has to offer and, while many had lost hope of ever seeing the pair face-off in a ring, hype is at an all-time high as we enter the final stretch of fight week.
“I don’t go in there looking for the knockout, I go looking for the win, but if it get out of line he’s gonna be the next one down”, vowed Crawford at Thursday’s press conference.
“I’ve been getting outta line my whole life so you’re gonna have to do what you’re gonna have to do”, Spence fired back as the pair exchanged verbals in front of an uptight crowd.
The exchanges only added to the anticipation in a fight which would crown the first undisputed welterweight champion in almost four decades, and is being billed as the best matched fight since Floyd Mayweather defeated Manny Pacquiao in 2015.Embed from Getty Images
Crawford vows to become a two-time undisputed champion this weekend against longtime rival Spence Jr. Photo by Getty Images.
Crawford has been the most active out of the pair
Two car accidents and a detached retina have limited Spence to just one fight in two-and-a-half years when he halted Yordenis Ugas inside ten last April, adding the WBA belt to his collection in the process.
Crawford meanwhile has fought on three occasions in that same timeframe – disposing of former champions Kell Brook and Shawn Porter as well as David Avanesyan inside six in December last year.
Whether activity will prove a factor on the night remains to be seen but with both men in their mid-thirties, questions also should be asked about whether they have seen better days.
Regardless of how far along each is in their career however, neither have soured at the heights of a fight of this magnitude – an occasion which is bound to draw the best from both.
A true ‘pick em’ fight in every sense, the only result which would surely raise eyebrows was if the fight was to end early.Embed from Getty Images
Accidents and injury have prevented Spence from fighting regularly. Photo by Getty Images.
While much of the attention has rightly centred on the main event, the PBC undercard offers several eye-catching showdowns, including the return of Hall of Famer and four division champion Nonito Donaire (42-7, 28KOs).
14 months on from a second-round defeat to Naoya Inoue in Japan, the 40 year old faces Mexico’s Alexandro Santiago (27-3-5, 14KOs) for the vacant WBC bantamweight crown.
Mexican lightweight contender Isaac Cruz (24-2-1, 17KOs) also features, taking on Illinois’ Giovanni Cabrera (21-0, 7KOs) over twelve rounds.
The card will be broadcast live on TNT Sports Box Office for a price of £19.95 in the UK. Coverage is set to begin at 2:00am.