February 26, 2024
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Terence Crawford after Spence win: I’m pound-for-pound No 1 ‘without a doubt’ | Terence Crawford

Terence Crawford declared himself the No 1 pound-for-pound boxer in the world after Saturday night’s destruction of Errol Spence to unify all four welterweight titles and become the division’s first undisputed champion in 37 years.

“Without a doubt,” Crawford said when asked if he’s done enough to separate himself from Japan’s Naoya Inoue in the debate over the sport’s best fighter regardless of weight.

“The winner of this fight was going to be No 1, pound for pound, hands down,” Crawford said. “You’ve got Errol Spence, who was ranked No 4, and you got Terence Crawford, who was ranked No 1 [on many lists]. You’ve got two fighters that are in the top five of the pound-for-pound ratings. How can [the winner] not be No 1?”

Spence was already the IBF champion at 147lbs back in 2018, when Crawford won the WBO title on his welterweight debut and the public call for summit meeting between the undefeated American stars began in earnest. Those rumblings only grew as Spence added the WBA and WBC straps, setting the stage for Saturday’s four-belt unification fight.

“This is a fight that’s been talked about for many years,” Crawford said. “This is a fight that, when I walked in the store or when my kids are watching YouTube, everybody was always asking me: ‘When you fighting Spence?’ My kids were saying: ‘Dad, this dude is saying you’re scared of Spence.’ Me always having to hear this guy’s name, it’s like a breath of fresh air that we’ve finally done it. And now it’s done and over with.”

Perhaps not. The contract for Saturday’s fight included a two-way rematch clause that can be triggered by the loser within 30 days, though the winner gets to decide whether the return bout will take place at 147lbs or 154lbs.

Spence confirmed his intent to exercise his right to a rematch on Saturday while also reaffirming his desire to leave behind the welterweight division, where he’s labored for years to make weight.

Terence Crawford lands a left hand on Errol Spence during the sixth round of Saturday’s fight.
Terence Crawford lands a left hand on Errol Spence during the sixth round of Saturday’s fight. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

Crawford said that he’d be willing to move up for the second installment, which the clause says must happen before the end of the calendar year.

“It definitely doesn’t have to be at 147,” Crawford said. “Like I said, I’m in the hurt business. [147lbs] was kind of hard for me, too. I was already talking about moving up in weight and challenging [Jermall] Charlo, so [154lbs] isn’t out of reach.”

The 35-year-old from Omaha went off as a slight favorite in Saturday’s blockbuster at the T-Mobile Arena. But Crawford remained sensitive to the criticism that cast doubts over the quality of his opposition and he turned his sights on the media in the aftermath of his career-best win, which made him the first fighter in boxing’s four-belt era to become the undisputed champion of two different weight classes.

“I’ve been telling each and every one of y’all for years,” Crawford said. “All in all, I get to say, I told y’all. Because I’ve been asking for these fights for years. And y’all been saying, ‘He’s too small, he’s going to get this, he’s going to get broken.’ And each and every time that I step up, I’ve proved y’all wrong. Each time. So write some great stories about Terence Crawford. Don’t hate on him. Don’t say nothing negative. Just give me my props.”

Should Crawford get through a rematch with Spence, there are no shortage of questions over the future plans of a fighter who appears to be running out of worlds to conquer. For the time being, he said, those will go unanswered.

“I don’t know,” Crawford said when pressed on his next goal. “In two months I’ll be 36 years old. I’ve been boxing since I was seven years old. I’ve been doing sports all my life. I don’t know. I’ve got to sit down with my team and talk about the future.”

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