Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. have agreed to a deal to fight for the undisputed welterweight championship on July 29 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena, sources tell ESPN.
PBC’s Al Haymon, who advises Spence, and CAA’s Ish Hinson, who advises Crawford, negotiated and now will deliver the most anticipated boxing match since the mega fight between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao in 2015.
Crawford and Spence will each earn eight figures guaranteed for the Showtime PPV fight, sources said, and there’s a bidirectional rematch clause that the loser can trigger within 30 days after the fight. It’s a two-fight deal for Crawford with PBC, sources said. After the probable return bout between Crawford and Spence, which must take place before the end of 2023, both boxers are expected to move up to 154 pounds.
If they split the two fights, a trilogy fight is overwhelmingly likely. And whoever comes out on top is expected to push for a shot at the undisputed junior middleweight championship, which is currently held by Jermell Charlo. Spence and Charlo both train in Dallas with Derrick James.
The deal concludes years of Crawford and Spence circling one another as the world’s two best welterweights without actually stepping in the ring.
But now, they’re set to meet in one of the biggest events the sport can offer, a matchup that will decide supremacy at 147 pounds, and lend the winner a claim as the best boxer in the world regardless of weight. Already, Crawford is ESPN’s No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer, with Spence three spots behind him at No. 4.
Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) was slated to move up to 154 pounds for a summer bout against Keith Thurman, but both Spence and Crawford were determined to fight each other next. The fighters met in March and came to an agreement on big-picture terms, sources said.
Integral to the deal were the fighters’ respective advisors. Haymon and Hinson, who have a long-standing relationship, worked together on the second and third heavyweight title fights between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.
And now, another super fight is on the horizon pitting Crawford and Spence in a fight that fans have waited years for.
Since Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs) captured the WBO welterweight title in his first fight at 147 pounds in June 2018, there have been calls for a summit meeting against Spence. For years, one impediment loomed large: rival promoters.
Spence, who holds the WBA, WBC and IBF titles, is with PBC while Crawford formerly was with Top Rank, entities that rarely conduct business with one another. Top Rank did promote Crawford’s title defense against PBC fighter Shawn Porter in November 2021, but that was a bout mandated by the WBO.
Crawford, 35, became a promotional free agent following the 10th-round TKO victory over Porter, paving the way for a potential bout with Spence. The sides engaged in talks for much of last year and were on the verge of completing a deal in September, but talks collapsed at the 11th hour.
Crawford went on to score a highlight-reel sixth-round KO of David Avanesyan in December in his native Omaha, Nebraska. Spence, 33, last fought in April 2022, a 10th-round TKO victory over Yordenis Ugas in Arlington, Texas, to pick up a third welterweight title.
The fight was Spence’s first since he underwent surgery in August 2021 to repair a detached retina. He was set to fight the legendary Manny Pacquiao that same month but withdrew from the matchup because of the eye injury. But Spence came back better than ever, just like he did when he recovered from a serious car crash in October 2019 that threatened to jeopardize his career.
Fourteen months after that accident, Spence routed Danny Garcia via decision. And while many boxers have been forced to retire due to a detached retina, Spence returned from the surgery — just like Sugar Ray Leonard in the 1980s — to stop Ugas.
Now, Spence and Crawford are set for their toughest challenge yet, the event that will determine their legacies once and for all. And it’s happening because the fighters pushed behind the scenes to finalize the matchup at long last.