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Terence Crawford's KO of Errol Spence Jr proved he is one of the all-time greats… but here's why they SHOULDN'T fight again

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Terence Crawford’s KO of Errol Spence Jr proved he is one of the all-time greats… but here’s why they SHOULDN’T fight again

It was not the Fight of the Century they advertised – it was way too one-sided for that – but it was a performance for the ages.

The 35-year-old Terence Crawford did not just defeat Errol Spence, he obliterated Junior.

By destroying his 33-year-old arch-rival, the American called Bud became the first man of the four-belt era to become an undisputed world champion in two weight divisions.

And in many minds – not least his own – the greatest pound-for-pound boxer of his generation.

The three knock-downs, along with the loss of only one round, en route to a devastating stoppage in the ninth support all the superlatives showered upon Crawford on the night of his life.

Terence Crawford lands an upper cut on his bloodied rival Errol Spence Jr in Las Vegas

Terence Crawford lands an upper cut on his bloodied rival Errol Spence Jr in Las Vegas

'Bud' Crawford's dominant display proved his place at the very top of the boxing world

‘Bud’ Crawford’s dominant display proved his place at the very top of the boxing world

Phenomenal, master-class, genius, sensational, magnificent, supreme, simply the best. So it went on into the Las Vegas dawn.

‘Told you so,’ said the maestro who had felt deprived of his due recognition down the years. ‘And yes I have say I do feel that that this does confirm me as the top fighter of this era.’

Thousands of miles away in Tokyo that case was still being made for Naoya Inoue, The Monster who four nights earlier had become a four-division world champion by adding previously undefeated super-bantamweight king Stephen Fulton to his unending list of KO victims.

Right now, in the desert heat of the moment on the Strip, US boxing would rather forget the Japanese achievement.

And why not? For the moment.

Crawford celebrates with the championship belts after winning the fight of the year in Vegas

Crawford celebrates with the championship belts after winning the fight of the year in Vegas

Spence Jr takes a heavy punch from his American rival in the sixth round of their fight

Spence Jr takes a heavy punch from his American rival in the sixth round of their fight

But to press his claim for elevation to the all-time pantheon of the prize-ring Crawford went on to say: ‘Do not forget that Errol is an elite fighter.’

Therein lies the tiniest caveat. Those of us who thought Spence might make his size and power tell hedged the bet out of concern for his physical well-being.

That near-fatal car crash had inflicted severe head and facial damage. Then came eye surgery.

Most worrying of all, for a fighter who has been in more wars than his nemesis, Spence was rambling and somewhat incoherent at the New York media launch for this fight.

Crawford (left) has talked up a rematch, but the pair shouldn't step in the ring together again

Crawford (left) has talked up a rematch, but the pair shouldn’t step in the ring together again

Crawford takes the applause of the Las Vegas crowd after beating his huge rival in Las Vegas

Crawford takes the applause of the Las Vegas crowd after beating his huge rival in Las Vegas

Which makes it alarming that he wants to invoke a rematch clause in their contract.

Crawford, eyeing fresh fields to conquer and more millions to make, is willing to oblige. Even by going up a division to super-welter, a more natural weight for Spence now.

But in his self-professed respect for Spence the biggest favor Bud can offer his buddy would be to decline a return bout. One which threatens to inflict even more punishment with the possibility of lasting damage.

History will come to judge Crawford’s place in the annals of the hardest game. That assessment can best be enhanced by imposing his dazzling technique on more opponents of higher calibre than many of those who padded out his pre-Spence career record.