Crawford/ Spence Postfight Notes
The first fight my grandmother told me to pay attention to was Julio Cesar Chavez against Edwin Rosario. It was late October 1987, I was nine years old, and my grandmother was training me to be her useful little man. Sitting in my little brown chair beside her snakeskin green throne, she taught me the ins and outs of the sport by pointing to Julio’s brilliant performance. Through 11 rounds, she taught me to look at his movement, footwork, and the fundamentals of his body punching and straight right hand. When In close against Rosario, she told me how Chavez moved his shoulders and head to nullify a punch and position himself. That night, the 54–0 champion had one of the greatest performances the sport has ever seen, and my grandmother told me exactly why.
Yet it was a different discussion we had that night that left an indelible mark on me. At the beginning of round 8, I blurted it out” Beat his ass, Julio”; to which my grandmother grabbed my hand hard( her form of discipline) and told me not to be young-minded. She had instructed me to look at Rosario in intermittent moments when Chavez was resting and see his own superb skills. As the fight progressed and turned into a beating, she told me to respect the great Puerto Rican champion’s courage and the courage of all fighters when they get in that ring. As the fight went over two rounds too long, and Rosario’s trainer did the most reprehensible thing in all the sports, which is to think you have more courage than your fighter getting beaten up in the ring, she told me that if you were going to be a fight fan you had to love fighters but never, never the sport of boxing.
Chavez’s Masterpiece against Rosario is a good framework for what Terrence Bud Crawford did against Errol Spence last night. Unorthodox in his ambidexterity, yet also in perfect form, he had the greatest jab and counter hooks I’ve seen in 36 years of watching the fights, and he did so in a style that was almost as beautiful to watch as Muhammad Ali in his 60’s prime. Against a fighter so good, Crawford was so brilliant that I started asking questions that I thought were unfathomable for a boxing fan before then. How would Sugar Ray Walk him down? How would Pernell escape him? How would Floyd, who could be bedeviled by an unorthodox Sunday punch, respond to flurries of them so off the book yet so precise?
Yet it must be said, that Crawford’s Majesty was amplified by the first five minutes of the fight in which…