Experts predict the winner of Terence Crawford versus Errol Spence Jr.

Errol Spence Jr., left, and Terence Crawford shake hands during a weigh-in Friday in Las Vegas
Errol Spence Jr., left, and Terence Crawford shake hands during a weigh-in Friday in Las Vegas.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

We reached out to boxing experts far and wide and asked them to share their predictions for the fight between Terence “Bud” Crawford and Errol Spence Jr.

I’m still torn. My heart says Crawford. I think he’s the better fighter. I think many narratives constructed around his career are, at minimum, misleading; at worst, just false. But my head says Spence. It’s hard to look at the size disparity, the reach advantage and the options available to him and see Crawford doing what Crawford always does. Yes, he has beaten bigger, longer fighters before. But he hasn’t beaten one like Spence. So I see this as 1) a sensational Crawford knockout that cements a generational legacy or 2) a Spence win by decision that speaks to the reach advantage.

The pick: Spence, by close unanimous decision, in the neighborhood of 115-113.

— Greg Bishop, Sports Illustrated senior writer


Terence “Bud” Crawford was in complete control, defeating Errol Spence Jr. in the ninth round via TKO to become the undisputed welterweight champion.

July 29, 2023

This is a magnificent fight pitting the two best welterweights in the world. The good news is, they’re in their primes, too. I have both guys in my pound-for-pound top-five list, but I feel Crawford is the more versatile fighter. His ability to switch stances creates doubt sometimes in his opponent’s mind and at least fills it with things to be aware of. Crawford is able to use his feet very well to create punching angles, and he’s got a highly underrated chin. It’s going to be a back-and-forth fight that I see Crawford winning by being busier, defending better and punching more accurately. Crawford by decision.

— Kevin Iole, Yahoo Sports boxing and MMA columnist

I think Crawford has the best combination of smarts and skill in his entire generation of fighters, so I just can’t bet against his ability to adjust and to find ways to win, even in the toughest matchup of his career. Bud can use his reach, his counter-punching and his fighting IQ to make things difficult on multiple levels for Spence, whose inactivity concerns me despite his extraordinary talent. No matter who wins, I’m also expecting an entertaining fight, because I think both of these men are old enough to understand the gravity of this moment in their careers, and they’ll want to put on a performance they’ll be proud of for the rest of their lives. Father Time is coming for both of these greats, but I don’t expect him to catch up in Vegas. I like Crawford in an exciting unanimous decision.

— Greg Beacham, Associated Press sportswriter

A tactical battle early will eventually develop into an entertaining dog fight. A more versatile Crawford will make the necessary adjustments during the second half of a very competitive bout to edge Spence on the scorecards. Crawford by split decision.

— Keith Idec, senior writer and columnist


Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford has stewed for years as an overlooked fighter. He’s ready to unleash his fury when he faces Errol Spence Jr. in Las Vegas.

July 23, 2023

Once upon a time, this was always a fight where I loved Spence’s chances. At some point, everything you’ve been through becomes too much to overcome. However competitive this fight is through the first few rounds, I expect Crawford to slowly take over and eventually break down Spence to force a stoppage in a legacy-defining victory. Crawford by ninth-round technical knockout.

— Jake Donovan, senior writer

Crawford vs. Spence is essentially a 50-50 fight, meaning a strong case can be made for either man. Both men can box, both can punch and both have experience in big fights. The difference is that Crawford is the quicker, better, more dynamic athlete of the two. I see Crawford beating Spence to the punch; getting in, doing damage and getting out without taking much punishment; and using his superior footwork to maintain distance that’s advantageous to him. In other words, he’ll be a step ahead of Spence for most of the fight. I don’t know whether he will be able to take out Spence but he’ll record a clear victory.

— Michael Rosenthal, Boxing Junkie (USA Today Sports) editor

Spence’s size and pressure could stymie Crawford — especially early amid the volume he deploys. An educated jab complements his in-fighting expertise. But don’t expect “Bud” to break like all the others. Boxing’s best adjuster this side of Floyd Mayweather Jr. is armed with a deeper set of skills and can aptly deploy them from either stance. He’ll learn Spence’s rhythm and pounce when he falters, ending a welterweight war by 11th-round stoppage to claim his second undisputed title.

— Sam Gordon, Las Vegas Review-Journal sports reporter

Errol Spence Jr., left, and Terence Crawford pose during a news conference Thursday in Las Vegas.
Errol Spence Jr., left, and Terence Crawford pose during a news conference Thursday in Las Vegas.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

It’s finally here, the best fight that could be made in boxing. Two top-five pound-for-pound fighters in their prime meeting in the ring. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t skeptical for a while, but props to both sides for coming together and making this happen. Spence is an incredible fighter who can pick you apart from every angle. He wears on opponents until they break, and that could be what transpires Saturday — but I’m betting against that. Crawford has similar boxing skills, however, his finishing ability and power is on another level. I’m predicting Crawford by 10th-round technical knockout.

— Greg Rosenstein, The Athletic boxing and MMA managing editor

For years, I’ve picked Crawford. Now that the fight is actually here, his age — he turns 36 in September — and legs — they’ve slowed a bit since 2017 — give me pause and concern. I think this fight turns out to be the fight of the year. Spence, who is bigger, younger, with a better jab and a higher punch-output, is going to get off to a good start. The Texan is an excellent fighter, but he doesn’t move his head much. Crawford is great at adjustments and will adjust to his patterns as the fight progresses. The key for Crawford will be his greatness in punctuating and winning the exchanges with his superior counter-punching. He’s got to catch Spence in between his punches to hurt him. I’ll take Crawford in a dramatic late-round stoppage.

— Sean Zittel, senior correspondent

Consensus expectations see a close outcome in a chess match, not a brawl. Both men have the physical tools to win. The victor will be the man with the better game plan who can successfully impose it on his opponent. The edge goes to Crawford due to his exceptional ring IQ. He is observant and nimble-minded, bolstered by speed and footwork allowing him to adjust when needed. When the going gets tough, Bud can draw down on a mean streak a mile wide to push him across the finish line. Spence will make it to the final bell but on the short end of the decision. At the end of the night, we’ll all look forward to the rematch. Crawford by decision.


— Gayle Falkenthal, West Coast bureau chief

Terence Crawford reacts during a weigh-in Friday in Las Vegas ahead of his fight with Errol Spence Jr.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

Crawford says this is his era. He says it has been for years. But few believe him. In the social media era, Crawford’s toughest fight has often been with the noisy crowd that disputes his claim. He hasn’t fought anybody, the keyboard contenders say. But that might mean he’s just dominated them all. It’s an argument that’s about to be settled. Spence is not just anybody. He’s the challenger to the era that Crawford has claimed as his own, Beat the bigger Spence, and it’s Crawford’s era. Lose, and it’s Spence’s era. And Crawford’s error. It’s that simple. It explains the fight’s magnitude. Crawford wins the fight and the argument with his quicksilver skillset and durable smarts. Spence might knock him down, but he won’t knock out those smarts. At his best, Crawford has been The Sweetest Scientist of his generation. Expect him to be sweeter than ever in a compelling scorecard victory. Crawford by unanimous decision.

— Norm Frauenheim, writer

This is a 50-50 fight for me. However, I think Crawford is a more complete and versatile fighter and has a greater boxing IQ than Spence. Crawford can put pressure or move around the ring, depending on how the fight develops. He can also fight orthodox or go southpaw. In addition, Bud has big reach, power, speed and can counterattack. On the other hand, Spence is bigger and has a great presence in the ring. He can go for the body and cause damage, but if he gets too close to Crawford, it can turn bad for him. The fight will go to distance and Crawford will win by split decision.

— Eduard Cauich, L.A. Times en Español sports reporter


The elements are there and the stage is set for what could be a battle for the ages — at least that’s what it looks like on paper. Their styles are similar but Crawford has the edge. I want to believe that Spence’s 2019 near-fatal car accident is a thing of the past, but having only two fights since then might not be enough to be fully armed to harm Crawford. I expect the fight to go the distance, and it will be Crawford who will win by unanimous decision.

— Jad El Reda, L.A. Times en Español sports reporter