Last Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Terence Crawford stopped Jeff Horn in Round 9 to claim the WBO welterweight belt. It makes him an alphabet champion in three weight classes.
In today’s alphabet-soup boxing world, multi-division “world champions” have become shockingly common place. That is why it is necessary to look closely at a resume like Crawford’s, in order to appreciate it.
At lightweight, Crawford became the WBO champion when he stopped Yuri Gamboa–at the time, Gamboa was arguably the top talent in the division. At 140 pounds, Crawford was that rarest of unicorns, a true, undisputed World Champion.
His welterweight strap is not a true world title, but it’s not exactly a paper title, either. Horn took it by winning a razor-close, hard-fought decision from Manny Pacquiao, a boxing immortal.
I already viewed Crawford as the top pound-for-pound fighter on the planet. Last weekend’s performance only confirmed that status.
But now his toughest potential opponent is standing on the horizon. Errol Spence, the IBF belt holder, fights this weekend against Carlos Ocampo. Ocampo is undefeated but he has fought nobody. This is a stay-busy fight for Spence and it comes at a perfect time to push the excitement for a unification fight with Crawford.
Like Crawford, Spence has made his reputation by defeating very good opponents with ease. He stopped Lamont Peterson, Kell Brook and Chris Algieri. Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter and the rest of the division’s best have shown no interest in testing themselves against Spence.
Crawford will not be similarly timid. He’s already talking about the fight. There are promotional complications that would have to be worked out, but if Crawford and Spence both want this fight, it’s too big not to happen. These are two blossoming American superstars. The money will be too big to leave on the table.