Errol Spence Jr. had nothing for Terence Crawford but his pride. From early on, he futilely searched for openings below the neck but paid a price for each lunge. At the end of the ordeal, Spence looked like a victim of the grim reaper, who seized the crown of first male undisputed champion with four belts in two divisions. Bud also improved to a 40-0 professional record.
Spence took the first round, establishing brief real estate in the middle and using the jab. But his aggression betrayed him when he went after Bud, catching a hard counter to the head.
After three minutes, Crawford had figured Spence out in similar fashion to the Terminator downloading information on his targets. He pressed toward his rival but, again, was stung by two retaliatory blows that knocked him down for the first time in his career.
Spence kept jabbing and hammering at the body, but the few strikes that broke the guard wouldn’t phase Crawford. Instead, Bud kept exposing his rival’s defenses with the accuracy of an infrared missile.
Before round five started, the ring physician checked out Spence as his face swelled. Crawford had brutally uppercut him in the previous interval. When the next frame began, each knock cranked Spence’s neck.
When replenished by the corner crew, Spence looked wasted as Crawford was fresh and patiently stalked his prey.
In the seventh round, Crawford dropped Spence two additional times. The first was caused by an uppercut followed by a right hook to the ear. On the second knockdown of the round, Crawford double-hooked Spence’s ear seconds before time expired.
In the ninth, Bud struck his opponent with a piercing right hand and then a left-to-right combination leaving his challenger’s legs shaking. The referee Harvey Dock allowed two more uncontested smacks before stopping the slaughter. Spence was initially angry, approaching Dock’s space over it, but he was saved from getting laid out unconscious.
It wasn’t just death by a thousand jabs. Although, Mike Tyson said it was like a battering ram. Crawford landed thunderous punches that no other man has in volume on Spence. When Dock stopped the fight, Spence’s eyes were barely open.
After the bout, Crawford said, “ I only dreamed of being a world champion. 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.”
Spence said, “We gotta do it again. 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. Hopefully, it will happen at 154 [pounds].”
No doubt there will be a rematch, but there’s no reason to believe history won’t repeat itself. Bud capitalized on Spence’s mistakes and proved he is in a singular class of welterweight. He was measured as the smaller guy (despite the reach advantage), but in the ring, he was the more monstrous man.
Former heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder offered his input on Spence being “drained” as he left T- Mobile Arena.
“I think Errol over-dehydrated himself; you could see it in his skin and in his eyes,” Wilder said.
But Spence didn’t make any excuses. He said the better man won.