In the lead-up to Mikey Garcia’s lightweight title unification against Robert Easter Jr., much of the discussion centered not on the 135-pound championship fight at hand, but a potential head-to-head, top-10 pound-for-pound showdown at 147 between the seventh-rated Garcia and the ninth-ranked Errol Spence Jr. for Spence’s IBF title.
Following Garcia’s decision victory, the parties seemed agreeable to the intra-PBC match, but the passage of time has served to quiet the talk in October that had been so prominent in July.
That’s probably because the only real buzz surrounding the match was generated by the fighters themselves, not by the fans to whom the fight must be sold to succeed.
In the wake of Terence Crawford’s smashing 12th round TKO over Jose Benavidez Jr. last weekend, those same fans let the world know who they think Spence should fight next — Crawford, THE RING’s second-ranked pound-for-pound fighter and a man who is much closer to “The Truth’s” size.
The possibility of a Crawford-Spence showdown gained more steam when Top Rank founder Bob Arum and company president Todd duBoef declared they were willing to work across the aisle to make the match happen. The question is whether PBC chieftain Al Haymon is willing to do the same.
Just in case he does — and just in case the superfight is made — CompuBox has assembled a head-to-head breakdown of the fighters’ respective statistical performances in 10 categories — plus-minus rating, total punches landed per round, total punches thrown per round, total connect percentage, jabs landed per round, power connects per round, power connect percentage, opponents’ total connect percentage, opponents’ power connect percentage and opponents’ total punches landed per round.
The samples address Crawford’s last 11 fights and Spence’s five most recent bouts. An examination of the head-to-head numbers confirm what everyone already suspects: Crawford and Spence are well-matched statistically, and they’ll probably be well-matched inside the ring as well.
Let’s hope that the powers-that-be will give the boxing public what it wants. But until then, allow the numbers to feed your imagination.
Spence (last 5 fights) threw nearly 20 more punches per round than Crawford (last 11 fights- 2 at welterweight). Spence landed 22 punches per round to 16.7 for Crawford. Both landed nearly half their power shots, with Spence landing six more per round. Spence hits harder and is the more effective body puncher, as 32.3% of his landed punches are body shots, compared to 22.6% for Crawford (last 11), who upped his body shot game vs. Benavidez, as 38% of his landed punches were body shots. Spence lands 7.1 body shots per round- #3 among CompuBox leaders. The jab will be key in this fight. Bothlanded 6+ per round (slightly higher than the welter. avg.), yet Spence opponents landed just 1.3 jabs per round, while Bud’s opponents landed just 1.9. Which fighter will establish his jab? Crawford is more selective with his punch output, and his defensive numbers reflect this: Opponents landed just 7.1 punches per round- 10.2 fewer than the welter. avg. and #4 on the CompuBox Categorical Leaders list. Crawford opponents also landed just 5.2 power shots per round- 7 fewer than the welter. avg. Spence opponents landed just 8 power shots per round, but landed 33.5%- 7% higher than Crawford opponents. OTC: Opponents total connect pct.; OPC: Opponents power connect pct.