Terence Crawford produced a masterful performance in one of the most important fights in the sport, not only in 2023 but in the last few years in boxing.
The timing is crucial. Naoya Inoue just four days earlier had lept to P4P #1 for a lot of fans after dominating and stopping Stephen Fulton in RD 8 in a fight many pundits figured would run close.
Crawford needed something extraordinary to dethrone Inoue and he found it in his 9th-round TKO win over Errol Spence at a packed-out T-Mobile Arena, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A fight that was dubbed the most evenly-matched in the sport, it was anything but after the first round.
Crawford dropped Spence three times, once in round two and twice in round seven before the referee Harvey Dock decided he’d seen enough in the ninth.
‘Bud’ countered a slow Spence jab to the body with a backhand-jab combination for the first knockdown and it was phenomenal counterpunching again for the second knockdown as a desperate Spence pushed Crawford back onto the ropes and was caught with a southpaw right uppercut as Spence was attempting an overhand left.
With ten seconds to go in round seven, Crawford dropped the unified champion again, this time with a double right hook, both landing clean on an already beaten fighter.
It was a largely one-sided affair, with Terence Crawford proving too intelligent a fighter for Spence, perfectly controlling the distance and foretelling Spence’s attacks, allowing him to counter with ease.
The two-division undisputed champions’ clear edge in Ring IQ against another top, undefeated P4P fighter in his natural weight was a sight to behold.
Honourable Mentions For Performance Of The Year
- Bam Rodriguez RTD 9 Sunny Edwards
- Teofimo Lopez UD 12 Josh Taylor
- Naoya Inoue KO 8 Stephen Fulton