There’s no denying that Saturday’s clash between WBC, WBA and IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. and WBO champ Terence Crawford tois a huge fight by any measure. What still remains to be seen is whether the fight will play out in a way that makes it not only important, but also legendary. Spence and Crawford seem to be at odds on that goal.
Speaking to the media in June, Spence suggested the two men had what almost amounted to a responsibility to future generations to make the fight as exciting as possible.
“For us, we just gotta make sure that how exciting it is on paper, we gotta make it exciting off paper and when we get in the ring,” Spence said. “We gotta make sure that people are gonna remember this fight and people are gonna talk about it how they talk about Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns, and all the great fights 40 years ago. I want somebody, my kid or somebody else kid, you know, 20, 30 years from now, to watch it on YouTube.
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“They’re amateurs, they’re watching our fight like, ‘Man, one day, I wanna be in a fight like that.’ Or, ‘One day, you know, I wanna be in the lead of a fight like that.’ And they have documentaries about me and Terence Crawford, and how it occurred and how the fight happened and what happened before the fight. So, you know, it’s a great moment in history, it’s a great moment just for boxing and myself.”
Speaking with CBS Sports, Crawford made it clear he does not share Spence’s sentiment on the way the fight should be approached. In fact, Crawford seemed to be entirely happy to be in a boring fight, so long as he walks away from it as undisputed champion.
“My thing is, get the job done by any means necessary,” Crawford said. “That being said, if I have to bite down and we have to go tooth and nail, we have to go tooth and nail. If I gotta make it boring or whatnot, so be it. Whatever gets the job done as long as my hand is raised at the end of the night.”
The fight between Spence and Crawford has been talked about for years but differences in promotional alliances kept it from materializing.
Once Crawford completed his contract with Top Rank and became a promotional free agent, talks became serious with Spence and his promoters at Premier Boxing Champions. The first round of negotiations fell apart, leading to Crawford instead taking a fight with David Avanesyan on little-known streaming service BLK Prime.
Fighting Avanesyan wasn’t going to raise Crawford’s profile nor add to his legacy, but it did result in a reported $10 million payday for Crawford.
Money is a perfectly fine motivator for any athlete’s career. Those same monetary motivations that made fighting on BLK Prime an appealing option for Crawford are fueling his differing stance on the importance of Saturday being an all-action war.
“It’s all about the money at the end of the day,” Crawford said when asked about the importance of building a legacy. “We as fighters, we start by fighting for recognition and fighting to become champion and have belts. Then you become bigger than the belts and start learning the business and what really matters in life. Once you figure that out, you realize that it’s always been about the money. No matter what, it’s always about the money.
“After boxing what would you have to offer, what would you have to show and what would you have to fall back on because you didn’t work a job for 20 years? So, if you’re at the pinnacle of your sport and then you’re going to retire and work at Wal-Mart or a job as a janitor because you don’t have no degrees or anything because you gave your whole life to boxing? Yes, it all boils down to money at the end of the day.”