But in the 2nd round, a quick exchange of blows ended with a short right jab from Crawford that knocked Spence off balance on the canvas. The knockdown marked the first time either fighter had been dropped in his professional career, but at the moment it seemed brief and inconsequential. Spence opened the next round on the attack, as if to prove that the blow had not damaged him.
However, as the fight progressed, Crawford’s superior timing and one-punch power became apparent.
In round 7, Spence rallied to throw a looping left. As the punch traveled to Crawford’s head, Crawford fired a short, sharp right hook that dropped Spence a second time. Just before the bell, a double right hook knocked Spence off his feet again.
A flurry of hard punches in round 9 caused the referee, Harvey Dock, to stop the fight.
For Crawford, the result was a lesson in the value of turning defense into offense.
“Our main focus was the sting,” he said. “Take his best attribute and the rest is history.”
From here, another Spence-Crawford fight is possible, even after the one-sided result. A clause in the contract allows the loser to call for an immediate rematch. One or both fighters could also move up to the 154-pound junior middleweight class. Spence had hinted that the Crawford fight would be his last in the 147-pound welterweight division.
“We’re going to do it again,” Spence, now 28-1, said in the ring after the fight. “I’m getting a lot better.”
If Crawford changes weight classes, the welterweight belts will likely become vacant, setting up a battle for championships among competitors such as Ugás, Cody Crowley and Jaron Ennis, the prominent contender from Philadelphia.