Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford -- Round 9: Crawford landed a good left hand early as Spence was looking for some sort of fight-altering shot. Crawford cracked with more good jabs. Spence tried to flurry with shots but Crawford kept his guard up and defended well. Crawford continued landing jabs that were stunning Spence every time they landed. Spence tried to throw everything he had into a few shots and nearly went down yet again. Crawford blitzed with more clean shots and Spence was badly rattled, forcing the referee to jump in and call a halt to the action! What a showing from Terence Crawford. A virtuoso performance! Official result: Terence Crawford wins via TKO, Round 9
Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford fight results, highlights: Bud dominates to become undisputed champ via TKO
Crawford outclassed Spence Jr. en route to a ninth-round TKO victory on Saturday in Las Vegas
The debate over the best welterweight of the modern era is over. Terence Crawford dominated Errol Spence on Saturday night, scoring three knockdowns and stopping Spence in the ninth round to become undisputed welterweight champion.
After a slow first round for both fighters, Crawford completely took over the fight. The first knockdown came off a counter jab followed by a left straight in the second round. To his credit, Spence beat the count and continued to try to make something happen, but Crawford was too fast, too technical and too powerful all night long.
"That was more of a flash knockdown," Crawford said of the second round after the fight. "I caught him with the left. He didn't think I was coming back with the right."
Crawford showcased an incredible jab throughout the fight. Rather than a range-finder or a simple tool to set up better punches, Crawford's jab was a true weapon. Whenever Spence would start to gain any momentum, Crawford would shoot out a thudding jab that would stop Spence dead in his tracks.
Round after round, Spence looked increasingly lost as Crawford shot his laser jab and crisp straight left hands. Spence continued to try and come forward and find a fight-altering shot. Instead, every exchange ended with a decisive blow from Crawford, putting Spence immediately on the defensive.
Spence hit the canvas twice in the seventh round but continued to try to find a way to change the flow of the fight. By the ninth round, Crawford's attack had Spence reeling and left the referee no option other than to stop the action at 2:32 of the frame.
"It was a good stoppage," Crawford said of the referee's decision. "I was on the verge of coming back with some hard shots. Everybody knows I'm a great finisher. The ref did what he's supposed to do to protect the fighter."
With the win, Crawford unified the WBA, WBC and IBF titles with his WBO title and more importantly closed a longstanding debate over whether he or Spence was the best 147-pound fighter of the era. Crawford, who is also a former undisputed junior welterweight champion, also became the first male fighter to ever achieve undisputed status in two weight divisions in the modern four-belt era.
"It means everything because of who I took the belts from," Crawford said. "They talked bad about me. They said I wasn't good enough and I couldn't beat these welterweights. I just kept my head to the sky and kept praying to God that I would get the opportunity to show the world how great Terence Crawford is. Tonight, I believe I showed how great I am.
"Like I said before, I only dreamed of being a world champion. I'm an overachiever. Nobody believed in me when I was coming up, but I made everybody a believer. I want to thank Spence and his team because without him none of this would have been possible."
The complex negotiations to get the fighters in the ring after years of fans and media alike salivating for a showdown between the two resulted in a contract with a bilateral rematch clause. As the loser, Spence is able to activate the rematch, which he indicated he would do after suffering a one-sided defeat.
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While the winner was able to dictate the weight where the rematch would take place, Spence said he hoped the rematch would take place at junior middleweight rather than at welterweight once again.
"Hell yeah we gotta do it again," Spence said. "I'm going to be a lot better. It's going to be a lot closer. It's probably going to be in December before the end of the year. Hell yeah we gotta do it again. ... Hopefully at 154."
Elsewhere on the card, Isaac Cruz picked up a tough win over Giovanni Cabrera in the co-main event as he continues to campaign to get a rematch with Gervonta "Tank" Davis. Cruz landed some massive shots on Cabrera, but he just couldn't get him to drop over the course of 12 rounds. The win also secured Cruz a future shot at the WBC lightweight title. Plus, Alexandro Santiago outpointed and dominated former titleholder Nonito Donaire to claim the vacant WBC bantamweight crown. Donaire, 40, looked his age for the first time and will go home to consider his future in the sport after the loss.
CBS Sports was with you throughout the entire way on Saturday with the live results and highlights below.
Fight card, results
- . via ninth-round TKO
- Isaac Cruz def. Giovanni Cabrera via split decision (114-113, 113-114, 115-112)
- via unanimous decision (115-113, 116-112, 116-112)
- Yoenis Tellez def. Sergio Garcia via third-round TKO
Spence vs. Crawford scorecard, live coverage
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford -- Round 8: Spence landed a little right hook but he was clearly cautious after being dropped three times already. Crawford walked Spence down, blasting to the body and drilling more stinging jabs. Spence was reeling a bit after a trio of shots from Spence but Spence tried to fire back with some counters but Crawford continued to blast away. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Crawford (79-70)
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford -- Round 7: Crawford landed a good hook and continued to bomb away, forcing Spence to move backward. Spence landed two big left hands and Crawford threw a counter and Spence went down for the second time in the fight! Spence beat the count and Crawford stalked trying to find the finish, landing more big lefts. Spence came forward and landed a good right hand inside but Crawford is just taking every shot like nothing on this night. Both men landed jabs before Crawford landed a series of heavy shots to the body. A right hook from Crawford dropped Spence again as the round came to an end! Unofficial scorecard: 10-7 Crawford (69-61)
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford -- Round 6: Spence found himself on the back foot early in the round as Crawford pushed forward, landing stiff jabs and left straights. Spence landed a good left of his own but his shots aren't doing much of anything to get Crawford's respect. Spence started to focus more on the body in the sixth but then was ripped by a jab and left hand. Spence got a "final warning" for low blows. To his credit, Spence continued to try and press and throw punches but Crawford would land one or two heavy punches that would stop Spence's momentum. Crawford scored with a good uppercut right before the end of the round. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Crawford (59-54)
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford -- Round 5: Spence was checked by the doctor before the start of the round. Crawford landed a heavy left hand and then a crisp jab. Spence looks completely lost at this point. Spence worked the body inside a bit before drawing a warning for low blows. Crawford with a series of heavy jabs had Spence buzzed a bit again. Crawford continued to work the left to the head before coming downstairs to the body. Spence continued to try and push and did land a hard left hand but Crawford ate it well. Spence needs to figure something out and he needs to do it quickly. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Crawford (49-45)
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford -- Round 4: Crawford ripped three jabs to start the round. Crawwford landed a good left hand before ripping to the body. Spence began bleeding from the nose during the round. Crawford landed a hard left hand to Spence's head. Again, the left hand landed and then a body shot before another left. Crawford just blasted away, tagging Spence with almost anything he wanted. Spence threw two jabs and then got hit by a harder jab from Crawford in return. Crawford's jab continued to land and that simple punch was hurting Spence fairly often. Crawford is in complete control through four. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Crawford (39-36)
Errol Spence Jr. vs. Terence Crawford -- Round 3: Spence came out and landed a big left early in the round. Spence did not look hurt from the previous round and pushed Crawford to the ropes and ripped a series of lefts and rights to the body. Spence continued pressing, forcing Crawford back to the ropes but Crawford lashed out with a two punch combination, trying to catch Spence walking in. Crawford came back with another combination, showing accuracy as Spence tried to continue pressuring. Crawford landed a blistering right hand that stopped Spence in his tracks briefly. Unofficial scorecard: 10-9 Crawford (29-27)