WITH just over two weeks until their fight Errol Spence Jr and Terence Crawford participated in a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
The two best welterweights in the world know exactly what is at stake on July 29 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Four belts will be draped over the winner but legacy and their place in boxing history appear to be just as important to them.
Comparisons to fights involving three all-time greats like Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Marvin Hagler were made during the presser. These legends of the pasts had been spoke about during the first two press conferences and for this third promotional meeting with the media Spence compared his upcoming fight with Crawford to the infamous 1987 meeting between Leonard and Hagler. Crawford was asked about the example used and gave this response.
“That would be a fight you can compare it to [but] this is Terence Crawford v Errol Spence. At the end of the day that’s who they gonna be talking about in the future. They not gonna talk about that was like Leonard and Hagler, they gonna be talking about Crawford and Spence.”
Bringing the July 29 showdown into the present day both men looked relaxed and spoke with an assurance that we have become accustomed to. The topic of mutual respect during the build-up was raised in relation to a friendliness that appears to have grown between the rivals. Crawford explained why that goes out the window on fight night.
“We definitely ain’t friends on fight night. That’s ludicrous. I was friends with Shawn Porter, and you see how that fight went. I was friends with Ray Beltran, and you see how that fight went. I was cool with a lot of fighters. Respectful to the fighters that was respectful to me but at the same time when the first bell rings there ain’t no friends in the ring. You trying to knock me out, I’m trying to knock you out. One small blow in the wrong spot can end my life. That’s how I look at it so you trying to end my life we not friends.”
Spence described Crawford as his “dancing partner” when commenting on what the fight means after years of speculation on whether or not they would ever meet. Every generation of boxing fan has either watched two of the very best duke it out at some point in their careers or witnessed rivalries fall apart for a number of reasons without a punch being thrown.
The 33-year-old Texan answered a question on whether he felt his career wouldn’t be complete until he faced Crawford and what a fight against the Omaha native would do for his legacy.
“I wanted to fight him because I feel like he was the guy that’s my dancing partner.
“He’s the guy I need and the other way around I’m the guy that he needs especially when you talk about legacy wise and boxing wise. I feel like if I didn’t fight him his name would always leave a stain on my name and my name would always leave a stain on his name regardless if he want to say it or not. It’s what it is. Wherever I go people always bring it up. Hey, when you and Terence Crawford gonna fight each other and it’s probably vice-versa too. We gotta make it happen for our sake, for our legacy and for the young guys, show them the way. As long as business right the best is fighting the best.”
Wednesday’s event was hosted by Showtime regular Brian Custer who gave the floor to the fighters for their last words which began with Spence.
“Make sure everybody tune in. This is an important fight for my legacy. I’m gonna put on a great show, great performance, I’m gonna beat that ass. This is an old school fight like Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler, Trinidad-Vargas. My mentality is to fight, to win, to kill, that’s his mentality too. This is going to be a legendary fight. We don’t have to do crazy antics. Once we get in the ring mutual respect out the door I’m going for the kill, he going for the kill too.
While Crawford said:
“I assure you that each and every one of you will see fireworks. I’m gonna gut him, fillet him, take him out the water and suffocate him.”