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Hall of Famers predict result of Terence Crawford vs Errol Spence Jr unification bout

Errol Spence Jr and Terence Crawford. Photo credit: Esther Lin/Showtime

Two old rivals have given their take on how they see the four-belt unification bout between WBC, WBO and IBF welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr 28-0 (22) and WBO counterpart Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford 39-0 (30) playing out.

The pair of unbeaten southpaws will clash at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 29.

Bernard Hopkins, who unified the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF middleweight titles in the mid-2000s before moving up in weight to claim the WBC light heavyweight title and unify the WBA and IBF straps a decade later, sees it as close fight but when pressed, made a prediction.

“On paper right now and talent-wise, I see this fight being a pick ’em,” Hopkins told FightHubTV.

“I’m leaning more towards Spence based on style, but Crawford is live, dangerous and ready to prove [himself] to the world, to the naysayers, to everybody. I believe Crawford got the bigger chip on his shoulder.

“I believe Spence is the most talented one of the two, but that alone won’t be [enough] for this fight to be won or lost.”

Meanwhile Roy Jones Jr, who split a pair of fights with Hopkins 17 years apart, gave his own take on the match-up.

“It’s a great fight for boxing and a fight that we all need to see. They’re both in their prime, old school,” Jones Jr said to FightHubTV.

“Stylistically, Bud has the boxing skills, I think. Spence has the power and size. Whoever can go out and take advantage of their strengths will win the fight or take advantage of the other fighter’s weaknesses.

“[Spence] has got to pressure him. To take advantage of a tricky fighter, you’ve got to keep the pressure on him.

“[Crawford has] got to box him, be smart and you’ve got to hurt him early and keep changing up on him.”

Jones Jr was long considered the number one pound-for-pound fighter on the planet in his prime. After winning the IBF middleweight strap in 1994 and making four successful title defences, he made a pitstop at 168-pounds to claim the IBF bauble, which he defended once before settling in to the light heavyweight division in 1996.

At 175-pounds Jones Jr collected the WBC, WBA and IBF belts, becoming the dominant force in the division for six years. He also made a hit-and-run mission to heavyweight to relieve John Ruiz of his WBA championship.

Jones Jr believe the financial success of the recent Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis vs Ryan Garcia bout along with Devin Haney’s successful defence of his undisputed lightweight championship against Vasiliy Lomachenko provided Spence and Crawford the incentive to revisit talks for a unification bout that fell apart last year.

“Tank fighting Ryan Garcia made them realize that they have got to fight each other,” Jones Jr said. “Haney went and fought Loma, so now we’re in business. We’re going up, up and up. Hopefully, we get [Deontay] Wilder-[Tyson] Fury or Wilder-[Anthony] Joshua.

“Terence has got to box and be smart. Errol has got to keep the pressure. Errol is a pressure fighter. Errol has got to stay clean early and make it rough late.

“Terence has got to get an early lead and hold on to it. Both guys have their strengths and weaknesses in the fight. It’s a beautiful fight and I can’t wait to see it.”

Jones Jr added that Spence’s physical dimensions could provide another problem for Spence to solve.

“All that helps and he has the size, too,” Jones Jr continued. “It all depends on how well Terence can take his punch. If Terence can take his punch with no problem, then Terrence can make a proper assessment.

“If the punches become a problem, then that makes it a little easier for Spence. We’ll have to see what happens.”