So it is Friday and I am currently on a plane heading down to Richmond, VA to do a ride-along with Dale Earnhardt Jr. in a stock car in 100-degree heat. As I am sitting on the tarmac, waiting to take off, I realize I cannot put this off any longer... I have to pick a side for tomorrow night's fight.
I also have to sprinkle a little cheesecake in this blog to keep people interested in boxing...
People are calling it the "Fight of the Decade", and I would go one further… Errol 'The Truth' Spence Jr. (28-0, 22 KOs) versus Terence 'Bud' Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs) is the biggest fight boxing has put on in the past 25 years.
Floyd has been involved with some of the biggest purses in boxing history, with the pinnacle being in 2015 when Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Manny Pacquiao was billed as the "Fight of the Century", but nobody believed it… Mayweather was 38 at the time, had 47 professional fights under his undefeated belt, and would go on to fight only one more time professionally (2, if you count the McGregor fight).
Manny was younger… He was "only" 36… But had a deeper record of 57-5-2 by the time he stepped in the ring with Floyd.
Mayweather won by unanimous decision in what most called a boring fight that happened 5 years too late.
I am a well-publicized Canelo Alvarez simp… Been following him since he was 15 years old (felt creepy to type that) so I will take his biggest bouts (vs Mayweather and vs GGG Part I) out of contention for being bigger than Bud vs Errol because I have been emotionally invested in Alvarez since he was in the throes of puberty (also creepy to type).
Before that, barring a couple of big Oscar fights, I think you have to go all the way back to Mike Tyson versus Evander Holyfield Part I in 1996 to see a fight that had similar proportions to what we have coming up this weekend. That fight was anything but boring, and Tyson and Holyfield were only 30 and 34 years old, respectively, but people still claimed it happened too late. Tyson was upset by Buster Douglass in Japan 6 years before he stepped in against Evander, and his loss that night to Holyfield (a 5-1 underdog) coupled with the ear bite in the following year's rematch wasn't the beginning, but it certainly sped up Tyson's downward spiral.
Fast forward over 25 years and we are about to (finally) watch two generationally talented welterweights battle it out to unify the division.
I slid that "finally" in there because this fight has been a long time coming as well. However, instead of the Tyson v Holyfield promoters having to dance around rape convictions and jail time, the men behind the curtain for Spence v Crawford have had to contend with car crashes, various injuries, and a global pandemic.
Whatever the case, it's here… So who is going to win?
If you don't know the Tale of the Tape on this one, you probably will be inundated with it by the time that bell rings, so I will just tell you that both of these fighters are very good and get to the point.
(or "points"… I have a couple to make)
Everyone is saying the same thing… It's a 50/50 fight. And the sportsbooks seem to agree with Bud a slight favorite at -155 and Spence a +125 underdog. In the boxing world, that's basically a pick 'em, and with an evenly matched fight, you gotta throw a little something on the DRAW, no? I certainly think so, and I grabbed the DRAW at +1400 on the Barstool Sportsbook.
The only other thing I will say about such a close fight is- Even though both fighters knock their opponents out at a similar clip (Bud's KO% of ~77% versus Errol's ~78.5%), they obviously both have IDENTICAL percentages of NOT getting knocked out by their opponents (100%). Therefore I am betting both of those undefeated boxers are talented enough to weather each other's storms and take this fight to the cards.
That tightens up the odds a tad and as a pure value play makes me want to take Crawford (again, a moneyline -155 favorite) and wipe out the juice baked in to include a KO for a much juicier Terence Crawford +190 by a decision.
How confident am I with this pick?… Not especially.
And how disappointed would I be to see this end in a KO (either side)?… Not at all.
Because here's the thing- No matter who wins tomorrow night, boxing fans should be thrilled that this fight got made. And unlike Mayweather vs Pac (which never saw a rematch) or Tyson vs Holyfield (whose rematch should've come with a bag of peanuts because it was a fucking circus)…
(RIP Mills Lane)
… Crawford versus Spence has the potential to make these two fighters household names for non-boxing fans and promises to give us a Part II that might just shape up to be the Fight of the Century.
So run, don't walk…
Change into something comfortable…
Grab yourself a drink…
And sit your ass down on Saturday night to enjoy Spence vs Crawford…
Enjoy the fights and take a report.
After Saturday's action, tune into USA Network on Sunday as NASCAR's Cup Series rolls into the short track in Richmond… Preview of the race plus an interview with Denny Hamlin on this week's Rubbin' Is Racing.