Boxing is a sport where anything can happen, usually does and probably will. In more than four decades of writing about this often thrilling, often confusing and sometimes bizarre sport I have seen all kinds of things in the ring.
I’ve been there for the horror of watching a combatant die from combat injuries. I was there when Mike Tyson bit off Evander Holyfield’s ear, not once but twice. I was ringside when a paraglider flew over the media section and landed on the ropes at The Mirage in Las Vegas while a heavyweight title bout between Holyfield and Riddick Bowe was unfolding. I’ve seen a fighter punch his opponent and send the opponent’s tooth flying through the air, where it lands, covered in spit and blood, on my laptop.
I was ringside when Oliver McCall broke down mentally and started crying in the ring during his fight with Lennox Lewis, and I saw it personally when legendary referees Mills Lane, Robert Allen, and Bernard Hopkins were given a particularly hard fight. while trying to break away during the clinch, inadvertently tossing Hopkins out of the ring. Hopkins, the middleweight champion at the time, injured his ankle when he fell and could not continue the fight. The next day, the madness continued. In my description of the fight, I jokingly wrote something like, “When referee Mills Lane told Bernard Hopkins and Robert Allen to defend themselves at all times, little did Hopkins know that he had to defend himself from the referee.” needed.” Lane didn’t get the joke and told me about it in a bombshell phone call.
If there’s one thing you learn being around boxing regularly for a few years, it’s to be prepared for the unexpected.
and so, this brings us to The news was broken yesterday by ESPN Superstar welterweights Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. have agreed terms and will fight for the Undisputed Title on July 29 in Las Vegas.
This is a fight that fans have been waiting to see for almost five years. Both are undefeated, both claim to be not only the best welterweights in the world, but also the best boxers, and their styles are such that their pairing could produce an epic result.
Not unlike Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao, this fight has been talked about for years. Talks for a fight between them began in late 2009 after Pacquiao stopped Miguel Cotto. They went back and forth for a while and by Christmas 2009 an agreement was in place. Mayweather’s demand for a drug test scuppered plans for a March 2010 fight. It wasn’t until the two randomly appeared at a Miami Heat game in January 2015 and talked that talks resumed and eventually led to a fight.
It’s all good, that Crawford and Spence have agreed, but this is the game where the unexpected is to be expected.
And while the news was mostly good on Tuesday, the key phrase in all of this is that no fighters have signed yet. This should send shivers down the spine of all those who care and look forward to witnessing the event.
If this fight happens – If Both fighters signed and there was no hitch and the fight took place on July 29 in Las Vegas as planned – making it what could be one of the biggest weeks for boxing fans in history. Because not only is Crawford-Spence on the verge of happening, but another superfight — between unified super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton and undisputed bantamweight champion Naoya Inoue — is set to take place on July 25 in Tokyo.
Yes, American fans will have to wake up early in the morning to watch it, but still. Crawford and Inoue are No. 1 and 2 in the Yahoo Sports pound-for-pound rankings. Fulton was 10th and Spence was fifth until he was dropped for inactivity last month. He hasn’t fought in over a year and the fight wasn’t scheduled at the time he was pulled, so he was out.
That means four of the top 10 fighters in the world will compete in two bouts with high stakes and plenty of action to be delivered.
But go ahead and swing in boxing again.
Progress is hard to measure, sometimes, when it’s happening all around you, but the big knock on modern boxing has been its inability to put together its biggest fights. It’s headed in the right direction, though. Gervonta Davis and Ryan Garcia fought in a bout on April 22 that according to Sports Business Journal had 1.2 million sold on pay-per-view and a $22.8 million pay gate. This is not a fight that was bound to happen.
The boxers demanded it themselves and then didn’t let their representatives, their promoters, their broadcasters or anyone else stop it.
Last week, undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney put his four belts on the line against former unified champion Vassily Lomachenko in the biggest, most important fight of his life at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
Inoue and Fulton are already signed – the fight was due to take place on 7 May until Inoue suffered an injury that pushed the fight to July – and now it appears that Crawford and Spence have finally come to terms .
Is Boxing Heading For Another Golden Age? well, maybe. There are plenty of talented fighters active right now and plenty of potential elite fighters who are in the early stages of their careers. Talent in a sport, any sport is cyclical, but boxing is now emerging in terms of talent.
There’s never been anything wrong with boxing that couldn’t be fixed by proper judging, good matchmaking and excellent promotion.
Somebody has to lead and suddenly the fighters themselves have taken over the reins. This is the best event in boxing marquess of queensbury rules were introduced in 1867.
There is no atmosphere in sports like the one just before a big championship fight. The hairs stand on the back of your neck and goosebumps run down your arms. There is a loud roar in every stand.
It’s a scene that, thankfully, has been repeated over and over again in 2023 and looks like it’s going to happen on a more frequent basis than it has in a long time. Anything can happen in boxing and it is important to remember that neither Crawford nor Spence have picked up pen to paper and signed a contract. But all indications are that this is a formality and the superfight will take place in a few months.
Best news this game has received in a long time.