In a spectacular performance, Terence Crawford dominated Errol Spence Jr. by TKO in the ninth round to become the undisputed welterweight champion Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs) became the first undisputed welterweight champion in the four-belt era, adding Spence’s (28-1, 22 KOs) WBA, WBC and IBF titles with his convincing victory. Crawford entered as the WBO titleholder.
Crawford scored three knockdowns before earning the stoppage with 29 seconds left in the ninth.
Saturday’s bout was also a showdown between two of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world, with Spence ranked No. 4 by ESPN and Crawford at No. 1.
Crawford struck first in the closing seconds of Round 2, dropping Spence to the canvas with a short counter right hand, though Spence appeared to be slightly off-balance when he was hit and quickly got back to his feet.
Both fighters were busier in the next round, opening up with more power punches and throwing combinations with more frequency.
Crawford appeared to hurt Spence midway through the fourth round with a big looping left hand that caught him flush on the chin, as blood began trickling from Spence’s nose and his left eye began to show signs of swelling.
Crawford continued his pace to open Round 5, tagging Spence with combinations to the head and body and punishing him every time he came in. Spence fought back and landed a hard left hand behind the ear, backing Crawford up as the round ended.
The swelling around Spence’s left eye continued to get worse as Crawford whipped power shots to the head and strung together combinations.
The seventh round was a huge one for Crawford. He knocked Spence down for the second time in the fight with just under two minutes left in the the seventh round, cracking him flush on the chin with a powerful right uppercut. Crawford, one of the sport’s best closers, stayed patient rather than swarm his foe. Biding his time, he put Spence on the canvas again in the final seconds of the round, catching him with a looping right hand.
Crawford backed Spence against the ropes in the ninth round, hammering his opponent with heavy shots. He rocked Spence with an overhand right and then a left hand before the referee stepped in to stop the fight as Spence staggered against the ropes.