Undisputed champions in boxing: Terence Crawford makes history becoming undisputed in second weight class

Terence Crawford made history in emphatic fashion on Saturday night with a dominant TKO victory over Errol Spence to become the undisputed welterweight champion of the world. Crawford scored three knockdowns — one in the second round and two in the seventh — before the fight was stopped by the referee in the closing stages of the ninth. 

With the victory, Crawford unified the WBA, WBC and IBF titles with his WBO title, and established himself as the current welterweight king. 

“It means everything because of who I took the belts from,” Crawford said. “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 also made history in the process by becoming the first undisputed welterweight champion of the four-belt era. Not only that, but Crawford is also the first male fighter to fully unify multiple divisions after previously holding all four belts at junior welterweight. The first fighter to pull off that feat was Claressa Shields in 2021, when she became the undisputed champion of the women’s junior middleweight division to go along with her four belts at middleweight. 

Now that Crawford has etched his name in the record books, here’s a look at every undisputed titleholder of the four-belt era, which began in 2004.

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Bernard Hopkins: Middleweight (2004-2005)

Hopkins became the first undisputed champion of the four-belt era when he knocked out Oscar De La Hoya in 2004 to earn all of the middleweight belts. His reign lasted less than a year, however, as he lost a surprise split decision to Jermain Taylor in the first of two bouts between the men.

Jermain Taylor: Middleweight (2005)

Taylor’s upset victory via split decision over Bernard Hopkins made him the undisputed champion at middleweight, but he never made a defense of all four belts. He vacated his IBF title in order to facilitate his rematch with Hopkins six months later, which he won by unanimous decision.

Terence Crawford: Junior welterweight (2017)

Crawford’s first successful four-belt unification came at the junior welterweight division when he knocked out Julius Indongo in the third round of their 2017 contest. His reign ended shortly thereafter, however, as he vacated the IBF title over a dispute about the mandatory challenger and his eventual move up to 147 pounds.

Oleksandr Usyk: Cruiserweight (2018-2019)

Usyk solidified himself as one of the best fighters of this generation with a brilliant run during the World Boxing Super Series tournament. In the final, he won a unanimous decision over Murat Gassiev to become the undisputed king at 200 pounds. He held all four belts there until 2019, when he vacated to move up to heavyweight. 

Josh Taylor: Junior welterweight (2021-2022)

Taylor is the second fighter to fully unify the 140-pound division, joining Crawford in that exclusive club. He did so by earning an impressive unanimous decision victory over Jose Ramirez in 2021. He then made one successful defense of all four belts before his WBA title was stripped over a dispute about a mandatory challenger. 

Canelo Alvarez: Super middleweight (2021-current)

Alvarez is a four-division world champion, but the only one he has become undisputed in is super middleweight. He did so in 2021 when he scored a TKO victory over Caleb Plant in their unification bout. He has since defended the titles against Gennady Golovkin in the third fight of their trilogy, and most recently versus John Ryder. He’s expected to face another undisputed king in his next fight this year in Jermell Charlo.

Jermell Charlo: Junior middleweight (2022-current)

Charlo’s first attempt at claiming all four junior middleweight belts was unsuccessful, as his fight against Brian Castano in 2021 was scored a draw. When the two squared off for a rematch in 2022, however, Charlo left nothing to the judges and completely unified the division via a knockout victory.

Devin Haney: Lightweight (2022-current)

Haney made the brave decision to travel all the way to Australia in 2022 to take on George Kambosos for all four lightweight straps. The risk was worth the reward, as Haney won by unanimous decision. Since then he has successfully defended the belts against Kambosos in their rematch, and most recently outpointed Vasiliy Lomachenko.

Naoya Inoue: Bantamweight (2022-2023)

Inoue, better known as “The Monster,” defeated Paul Butler in 2022 to finally become the undisputed bantamweight champion, more than three years after he first earned a belt in the division. He did not make a defense, however, as he vacated all four belts to move up to super bantamweight, where he currently holds two titles.

Terence Crawford: Welterweight (2023-current)

Crawford won his first welterweight title in 2018 by defeating Jeff Horn, and defended that WBO belt six times before he finally got a chance to cross the street and take on Errol Spence for all four belts. He made shockingly easy work of Spence in that long-awaited showdown, and is now the undisputed welterweight king.

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