Weekend Review: Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence Jr. coming? William Zepeda sizzles
A critical look at the past week in boxing
Is Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence Jr. really happening? We’ll believe it when we see it but momentum evidently is building toward a long awaited showdown between two of the sport’s most respect champions in July. The Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia fight was huge because of the fighters’ fanbases. And the stakes of a potential Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk matchup – undisputed heavyweight championship – are massive. However, strictly from a quality-vs.-quality standpoint, it doesn’t get better than Crawford vs. Spence for all four welterweight belts. They’re a combined 67-0 (52 KOs). They’re pound-for-pound royalty, Crawford No. 1 and Spence No. 4 on Boxing Junkie’s list. They’re not young (Crawford 35, Spence 32) but neither has shown signs of decline. Bottom line: These are two of the best fighters of their generation, making this the biggest 147-pound matchups since Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in 2015. If it happens. Crawford and Spence were near a deal to fight late last year or early this year when talks collapsed. That’s why I refuse to get excited until a formal announcement is made. That said, the fighters seem to understand that if this fight is going to happen, the time must be now. Fingers crossed.
Crawford vs. Spence
Is Crawford vs. Spence past its expiration date? No, at least not compared to Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. Mayweather (38 when he fought Pacquiao) and Pacquiao (36) also were at the top of pound-for-pound rankings but they were clearly past their primes when they met in May 2015. Mayweather fought only two more times, a clear indication that he was near the end. And Pacquiao wasn’t quite the dynamo he was a few years earlier. They should’ve fought in 2010 or 2011. Crawford and Spence aren’t much younger but they seem to be fresher. Crawford has stopped his last 10 opponents, including a break through knockout of Shawn Porter in November 2021. His age could creep up on him at any time but it has yet to do so. Spence survived a horrible one-car crash in 2019 to resume his career in August 2021, when he defeated Yordenis Ugas by a unanimous decision to unify three 147-pound titles. If there are any lingering effects from the accident – as well as a taxing war with Porter before the accident – they weren’t evident in the Ugas fight. This fight should’ve happened a few years ago, meaning we’re probably not getting Crawford and Spence at their very best. They’re close, though. We’ll take that.
BIGGEST WINNER II
It’s going to be difficult to crack the upper echelon of the lightweight division, with gifted fighters like Gervonta Davis, Shakur Stevenson, Devin Haney and Vasiliy Lomachenko in charge. If anyone can do it, though, it might be William Zepeda. The 26-year-old Mexican delivered another impressive night Saturday in Arlington, Texas, putting Jaime Arboleda down three times with brutal body shots and stopping him in two rounds. Zepeda didn’t have a chance to show off the otherworldly conditioning he demonstrated against Joseph Diaz Jr. in October, when he threw a division record 1,536 punches over 12 rounds. However, his typical suffocating pressure and heavy hands overwhelmed the capable Panamanian. The volume punching and ability to hurt anyone could be the formula to cause problems for the aforementioned superb technicians. Think of the first Floyd Mayweather-Jose Luis Castillo fight, which Mayweather won by a disputed decision. Castillo didn’t throw as many punches as Zepeda does but he was a pressure fighter who regularly targeted the body. If Castillo could give Mayweather trouble with those tactics, maybe Zepeda can do the same against the top lightweights. I hope he gets his chance soon.
Watch it: William Zepeda's brutal body shots destroy Jaime Arboleda
William Zepeda drops Jaime Arboleda three times, stops him in two rounds