By Lem Satterfield
“I’m gonna crush you, and I’m gonna stop you,” said IBF welterweight world champion Errol Spence, looking straight into the eyes of WBO counterpart Terence Crawford on Saturday night. “That s***** gonna be easy work. I’m gonna stop you, easy. It’s gonna be easy work, I promise you.”
“Try that body shot,” countered Crawford, comparing their abdomens. “I’m solid. Solid as a rock. That’s fat [referring to Spence.]"
“It don’t matter,” said Spence. “I’m gonna knock you out. You got wobbled by [Yuriorkis] Gamboa. We’ve seen your wobbly legs.”
The sometime intense and humorous exchange between Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) and Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) was caught on video on Saturday night by Ellie Seckbach of EsNews in the bowels of The Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City after the ringside duo had watched WBO junior welterweight champion Maurice Hooker’s seventh-round TKO win over Alex Saucedo.
A battle between the 147-pound champions is among the most highly anticipated, but their respective promotional affiliations has been a stumbling block toward bringing the fight to fruition.
Crawford's promoter, Top Rank, has an exclusive agreement with ESPN, while Spence's advisor, Al Haymon of Premier Boxing Champions, has exclusive content deals with Showtime and Fox Sports.
Top Rank CEO Bob Arum appears in the nearly 11-minute long video, as does Crawford’s manager, trainer, Brian McIntyre.
But the substance comes from the the fighters.
“You got hurt by [Carlos] Ocampo. And you got hurt by Kell Brook,” said Crawford later referencing last month’s 12th-round knockout of WBO previously unbeaten Jose Benavidez. “Wait until I hit you. You gonna look like Benavidez.”
“He had one leg,” said Spence of Benavidez, who wore a brace against Crawford due to an acknowledged injury entering their bout. “But I’m solid.”
Crawford: “I’m gonna make you do the Stanky Leg.”
Spence: “What you wanna bet on that? I’ll bet $100,00 on that.”
Crawford: “Let’s bet $1 million.”
Spence: “Let’s bet $ 1 million. Easy.”
They shook hands.
Spence, 28, retained his IBF welterweight title with June’s first-round body shot destruction of previously unbeaten Carlos Ocampo, representing “The Truth’s” 11th straight stoppage victory and third defense of the crown he won by two-knockdown, 11th-round KO over Kell Brook in May 2017 before his English fans.
Ocampo fight following January’s seventh-round stoppage by Spence of two-division title-winner Lamont Peterson, whom he floored in the final round. Spence makes his fourth defense on March 16 against four division world champion Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs), who is rising from lightweight for their clash on a Fox Sports Pay-Per-View card.
Beyond Garcia, Spence's options include unifications with champions Keith Thurman (WBA), Shawn Porter (WBC), WBA “regular” titleholder Manny Pacquiao or a match against two-division title winner Danny Garcia, all of whom are are advised by Haymon.
Crawford’s next opponent is unknown, although a choice might be Egis Kavaliauskas (21-0, 17 KOs) following Friday’s third-round knockout of previously unbeaten Robert Arriaza (17-1, 13 KOs) in a final eliminator.
“I’m the dog of the division," said Spence. "I’m the boogey man of the division. I’m that guy. ”