Errol Spence insists that at least one more big welterweight fight in his future beyond the one that is next in line.
The undefeated WBC/IBF champ is preparing for a superfight with legendary former eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39KOs), which takes place August 21 on Fox Sports Pay-Per-View from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Even with such an event looming overhead, Spence (27-0, 21KOs) has grown accustomed to still fielding questions as to whether a blockbuster showdown with Terence Crawford (37-0, 28KOs) will see the light of day.
The moment came up again over the weekend while Spence was at AT&T Center in San Antonio in support of stablemate Jermell Charlo (34-1-1, 18KOs). All that the Texan southpaw could do was laugh off the question and reiterate his goal to face the best.
“Definitely. I definitely want the fights [versus the best welterweights]. I definitely want that fight [with Crawford],” Spence told Showtime’s Brian Custer. “It’s for his guys (Top Rank and manager/trainer Brian ‘Bomac’ McIntyre) and my guys (Al Haymon/Premier Boxing Champions [PBC]) to talk and see if they can make it happen.”
First up for unbeaten southpaw is one of the greatest fighters of this and perhaps any other generation. Pacquiao represents the sixth former or current champion that Spence will face over the course of a welterweight title reign having recently surpassed the four-year mark. Spence claimed the IBF belt with an eleventh-round knockout of Kell Brook in May 2017 on the road in Sheffield, England.
From there came wins over former two-division titlist Lamont Peterson, mandatory challenger Carlos Ocampo, unbeaten four-division titlist Mikey Garcia and a Fight of the Year-level win over two-time WBC champ Shawn Porter in their September 2019 unification match. Injuries sustained in a single car crash—coupled with the coronavirus pandemic—put Spence’s career on hold before returning with a dominant points win over former two-division titlist Danny Garcia last December at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, minutes from his Desoto, Texas hometown.
The run has established Spence as the number-one welterweight in the world with little room for argument. Due to both Spence and Crawford ranking high on most pound-for-pound lists (Spence is number-three on BoxingScene’s Top 10, while Crawford is number-four), there continues to come the demand for a head-on showdown above any other fight that can be made for either boxer.
Crawford appears to be maxed out as a welterweight, though his career is also at a crossroads. The gifted in-ring switch-hitter has one fight left on his contract with Top Rank, with speculation that it will take place in October. It would once again put both boxers on the same general timeline, although the industry has long grown skeptical of that fight making its way to a boxing schedule anytime soon.
Given the inevitable scenario of Spence growing into a junior middleweight—and perhaps beyond—the clock is ticking on what was once a dream fight.
“If (the two sides) can’t make it happen, I gotta move up,” admits Spence. “I’ve been here too long.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox