BACK TO K-9 KIM’S CORNER

By Steve Kim Updated on April 19, 2022

Now or Never

After breaking down Yordenis Ugas over 10 rounds, Errol Spence is now the WBA, WBC and IBF welterweight champion. Meaning he has three-fourths of the belt in one of the games glamour divisions.

There's only one strap out there for a guy who for years has stated it's 'strap season'.

And that would be none other than Terence 'Bud' Crawford, who currently has the WBO belt around his waist.

As of this moment, that's the only fight that really matters at 147.

But before we discuss that possible bout in-depth, it has to be mentioned that Spence fought as well as he has in recent years as he pressured Ugas into a trench battle. The Texan brutally and systematically took apart the Cuban, who at times seemed have his legs paralyzed after taking a plethora of hooks to the body and uppercuts that left him frozen inside the pocket.

Spence vs Ugas HIGHLIGHTS: April 16, 2022 | PBC on Showtime PPV 

Ugas had his moments, but over time he had the fight beaten out of him, and by the later rounds his right orbital bone was broken, which eventually hastened the end of this bout that took place at the AT@T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Amanda Westcott, Showtime Sports

This was just the second bout for Spence since his victory over Shawn Porter in September of 2019. Since then he's had to overcome a horrific auto accident, and then later a detached retina which caused him to lose a career-defining opportunity versus Manny Pacquiao last summer. And as fate would have it, as Ugas stepped up to the challenge and sent 'the Pac Man' into retirement, Ugas was then placed in front of Spence, as he had possession of the WBA title.

Ugas is a solid professional prizefighter, but on this night he was simply overwhelmed by the superior all-around skills and strength of Spence. What we saw this past weekend was a pretty good boxer versus an elite fighter. If there was any physical erosion in Spence, it wasn't all that visible on this night.

Amanda Westcott, Showtime Sports

So moving forward, the focus is on the long-awaited showdown between Spence and Crawford. And forget about what this would mean for the welterweight division, you could make an argument that this is the best pure match-up in all of boxing. Putting aside the possible pay-per-view numbers, or gate receipts or what other boxers get paid for their performances, which somehow have become a major topic of discussion among fight fans. 

None of that really matters, here. Let the 'fanagers' argue all that stuff.

When it comes to just the caliber of boxers involved, the stakes that are one the line, and the historical significance -- there is a fight that needs to happen. You could also argue that this is the biggest and most important bout that could be made between two American's.

To put this into perspective, Ring Magazine has Crawford as it's top welterweight (despite just having one belt), with Spence coming in at number two. In their pound-for-pound rankings, it's 'Bud' at number three, and Spence at five.

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Both men are still pretty much in their physical primes. But keep this in mind, Crawford is currently 34 years old (and will turn 35 in September), while Spence is 32 years old. The cynic would point out that if boxing wasn't so mired in network politics, and promotional alliances, they would be on their third encounter. But that's neither here nor there for this discussion. 

At the moment, this fight isn't over-marinated, but soon it will be. To put this into perspective, when the legendary clash between Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns took place in 1981, Leonard was 25 years old, while Hearns was a month shy of 23. In 1999, when Oscar De La Hoya and Felix Trinidad met, they were both 26 years old.

There are really no roadblocks to making this fight. Crawford is no longer on the ''wrong side of the street,'' (as Spence said a few years ago) with Top Rank. For the time being, he hasn't necessarily crossed the street (and he's certainly no chicken) but he is a promotional free agent. He has a certain flexibility that he didn't have a few years ago.

All they have to do is agree to a deal. Which admittedly is easier said that done. But there's no other fight that either man should agree to moving forward before the end of 2022.

It's now or never.

 

FINAL FLURRIES

Both Francisco Vargas and Yuriorkis Gamboa need to be put down. At this point, all that could happen to them is bad things....Eimantas Stanionis grinded out a well-deserved, hard-fought 12-round decision over Radzhab Butaev for a version of the WBA welterweight title. Which means he could be getting a step-aside fee if Spence-Crawford gets consummated....Brandun Lee went the 10 round distance against Zachary Ochoa. Lee still needs some more seasoning before facing some of the more established 140 pounders....I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com....

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Author
Now or Never
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for UCNlive.com.
  • Was a boxing reporter for ESPN.com from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.