Crying wolf

By Boxing News - 09/15/2023 - Comments

By Eric Coronado Jr.: We are now 48 days removed from the biggest fight of the year. Terence Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) delivered a shockingly one-sided beat down of Errol Spence Jr. (28-1-0, 22 KOs) in what many leading up to the fight considered a true 50-50 matchup. Crawford dropped Spence three times en route to a 9th round stoppage that left Spence’s face a bloody mess. Crawford, unscathed, looked like he could have fought another 12 rounds.

48 days removed, and the excuses keep pouring in. Not a single excuse from Spence or his team, mind you, but from the guys who backed the fighter who came up short. “Spence was weight drained, Spence didn’t look right, Spence was in a car accident,” or my personal favorite, “Spence was drugged.”

To address the argument that Spence was so affected by his car accident in 2019 that it caused him to lose against Crawford in 2023, I must simply inform those stating this that he had two victories after the accident but prior to the Crawford fight against high-level opponents. The more general excuse is that Spence “didn’t look like himself.” This is a common phenomenon in boxing that occurs when a very high-level fighter faces a truly elite fighter, or in this case, when an elite fighter faces a top pound-for-pound fighter.

The most overused phrase in boxing right now is, “There are levels to this,” but in this case, it is only appropriate. Spence is great, and Crawford is special. Fighters of Crawford’s caliber are experts at offsetting their opponent’s timing, range, and accuracy, or in other words, creating bad nights for other fighters. When you are not used to being outclassed or swinging at air, it can feel like something was off. Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao often made their opponents feel this way because they fought elite competition but were generational talents.

All of the other claims are simply more dubious conjectures intended to diminish Crawford’s victory simply because people who backed Spence cannot deal with the outcome of the fight. Especially those who were shouting from the mountaintops that Crawford would be demolished by Spence’s pressure, and that Crawford was overrated and had never fought anyone. To the people arguing that Spence looked high prior to the fight and during the walkout, I have to ask, was this your first time seeing his face?

If you knew what you were watching, you’d have seen that Spence looked strong and sturdy in the first and second rounds, up until the first knockdown. And not just the first knockdown of the fight, but the first knockdown of Errol Spence’s career. It was called a flash knockdown by many due to it being caused by a solid southpaw jab. However, when viewing the slow-motion replay, the concussive force of the shot is evident by the shockwave that travels from Spence’s neck down to his lower back. When Spence rose from the canvas, it was clear that his legs weren’t the same, nor would they be for the remainder of the fight. Additionally, Spence must have been asking himself all sorts of questions about his ability and about his opponent’s superiority, having never been on the seat of his trunks on the canvas as a professional before.

The tendency of the boxing audience to make overly confident claims leading up to a fight, and then, rather than conceding that the fighter they were backing came up short, to make excuses and fabricate conspiracy theories instead, is becoming more common. The Fury-Wilder trilogy was rife with both. Haney-Lomachenko was called a robbery when it was actually a razor-thin fight with a close decision on the cards. Each fighter outlanded the other in five rounds, and they landed the same amount of punches in two rounds.

A fight is not scored based on who apparently won, but it is a round-by-round affair, and it is very subjective. This is why boxing scoring as it is will never please everybody. Obviously, there are terrible decisions in boxing due to incompetence in judging, as well as shady happenings like the Romero-Barroso stoppage, where the integrity of the event must be questioned. These instances are where we, as boxing fans, should be directing our focus and frustrations. Boxing has too many actual problems that we can raise our voices about for us to be wasting time trying to save face by crying wolf.