The fight between Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford has been years in the making, but the mouthwatering matchup never crossed the finish line because the business elements around bout were never right.
But all of that changed as soon as the fight was announced, and ahead of their much anticipated undisputed welterweight matchup on July 29 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Spence opened up about how the deal was signed, sealed, and delivered.
“I feel like it was basically me making concessions that people thought I wasn’t going to make,” Spence said in an interview on “The Last Stand” with Brian Custer. “I basically gave him stuff that the business people felt like he didn’t need, or he didn’t deserve. I wanted to make the fight happen, so, give it to him.”
Stephen Espinoza, Showtime’s president of sports and event programming, told BoxingScene.com in an interview that everybody involved in the fight made concessions that they never made before.
“It was a unique set of challenges in this particular fight. Part of it was that there were two very involved fighters. In particular, Terence Crawford was very active,” Espinoza explained.
“He’s got a good team around him, but he’s running his own show and is very directly involved in it. He was very specific in defining needs, wants, and requirements for the negotiations. So it was a little bit different of a discussion. Usually, there is a promoter involved, and there wasn’t on the Crawford side. It was unique. This is a high-profile, career-defining fight. As accomplished as these guys are, it doesn’t get done until everybody is absolutely happy. It was a long, grueling process at times. But that’s how it should be. That’s the way it needs to be. No one should go into this fight with less than a 100% satisfaction with the deal.
“It wasn’t so much specific terms as it was the concessions that they had to make. When the fight fell apart last fall, everybody had a bad taste in their mouth. Nobody was satisfied with how it felt. And so when we are able to come back together and start discussions again, that’s what motivates everybody. We knew what it was like to get to the two-yard line and for it not to happen. The difference the next time around was that everybody used that to push themselves to a point of discomfort. Everybody gave a little bit more [the second time around]. Everybody got to a point where they started giving up some things that started to make them a little uncomfortable. That’s sort of a sign of a good deal. Everybody had to reach back and give more than they thought they should in order to get it done. That’s how you know this is a big deal. Everybody made concessions that they never made before.”
Espinoza said that if all the pieces properly fall into place, a rematch between Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) and Crawford (39-0, 30 KOs) would ideally take place by the end of year if the loser decides to exercise their contractual right to a sequel within 30 days of July 29.
Spence was noncommittal if a rematch would take place at 147 pounds or 154 pounds.
“Ah, I don’t know,” Spence said with a very deep sigh. “We’ll see when the time comes.”
Both fighters have been adamant in recent years that they are ready to move up to the super welterweight limit.
“You never know what can happen with scorecards, or a headbutt, or an injury,” said Espinoza. “It would have been sort of silly to stage this fight and not have a rematch already built in case something weird happens, or we get a controversial decision.”