The first person to hold all four titles in two categories, “Bud” defeated Errol Spence Jr. to become the undisputed welterweight king.
In a decisive TKO victory against Errol Spence on Saturday night, Terence Crawford cemented his status as the undisputed welterweight world champion. Before the fight was interrupted by the referee in the waning moments of the ninth, Crawford scored three knockdowns: one in the second round and two in the seventh.
Crawford became the current welterweight champion after winning the match and unifying the WBA, WBC, and IBF championships with his WBO crown.
Because of who I got the belts from, it means everything, according to Crawford. “They spoke poorly of me. They claimed that I wasn’t skilled enough to defeat these welterweights. I simply kept looking up and prayed to God that I would have the chance to demonstrate Terence Crawford’s greatness to the world. I think I demonstrated my greatness tonight.”
As the first undisputed welterweight champion of the four-belt era, he also made history in the process. In addition, Crawford, who previously held all four belts at junior welterweight, is the first male fighter to entirely unify multiple categories. Claressa Shields was the first athlete to accomplish that accomplishment in 2021, when she added four middleweight championships to her collection by winning the undisputed title in the women’s junior middleweight division.
Here’s a look at each indisputable titleholder of the four-belt period, which started in 2004 and includes Crawford, now that he has permanently inscribed his name in history.
Bernard Hopkins: Middleweight (2004-2005)
When Hopkins defeated Oscar De La Hoya in 2004 to win all four middleweight belts, he became the first undisputed champion of the four-belt era. However, his reign was short-lived as he was defeated by Jermain Taylor in the first of their two fights by a shocking split decision.
Jermain Taylor: Middleweight (2005)
Taylor became the undisputed middleweight champion after shockingly defeating Bernard Hopkins by split decision, however he never successfully defended all four titles. In order to arrange his rematch with Hopkins six months later, which he won by unanimous decision, he relinquished his IBF title.
Terence Crawford: Junior welterweight (2017)
Crawford knocked out Julius Indongo in the third round of their 2017 match, completing his first four-belt unification victory at junior welterweight. However, his reign came to an end soon after as he surrendered the IBF championship due to a disagreement regarding the required challenger and his eventual move up to 147 pounds.
Oleksandr Usyk: Cruiserweight (2018-2019)
Usyk established himself as one of this generation’s top fighters with a strong showing in the World Boxing Super Series competition. He defeated Murat Gassiev in the championship round by unanimous decision to establish himself as the undisputed 200-pound king. Up until 2019, when he gave up all four belts to switch to heavyweight, he held them all there.
Josh Taylor: Junior welterweight (2021-2022)
Taylor joins Crawford as the only competitors in the 140-pound class to achieve complete unification. He accomplished this by defeating Jose Ramirez in 2021 with a spectacular unanimous decision victory. He subsequently successfully defended all four belts once before having his WBA title revoked due to a disagreement over a mandated opponent.
Canelo Alvarez: Super middleweight (2021-current)
Alvarez is a four-time world champion, but super middleweight is the only division in which he has achieved total dominance. When he defeated Caleb Plant via TKO in their unification fight in 2021, he did so. Since then, he has defended the championships twice, most notably against John Ryder and Gennady Golovkin in the third fight in their trilogy. His next battle this year is anticipated to pit him against Jermell Charlo, another indisputable king.
Jermell Charlo: Junior middleweight (2022-current)
Charlo’s 2021 battle with Brian Castano ended in a draw, ending his maiden attempt to unify all four junior middleweight belts. But when they faced up again in 2022, Charlo totally unified the division with a knockout victory and left nothing to the judges.
Devin Haney: Lightweight (2022-current)
In 2022, Haney bravely made the choice to fly all the way to Australia to compete against George Kambosos for the four lightweight straps. Haney triumphed with a unanimous vote, proving that the risk was worthwhile. Since then, he has defeated Vasiliy Lomachenko and defeated Kambosos in their rematch to successfully defend the belts.
Naoya Inoue: Bantamweight (2022-2023)
More than three years after first winning a title in the class, Inoue, also nicknamed as “The Monster,” fought Paul Butler in 2022 to finally become the undisputed bantamweight champion. The fact that he gave up all four of his championships in order to move up to super bantamweight, where he presently holds two titles, prevented him from mounting a defence.
Terence Crawford: Welterweight (2023-current)
Crawford defeated Jeff Horn to win his first welterweight title in 2018. He then successfully defended that title six times before getting the opportunity to cross the street and challenge Errol Spence for all four belts. He defeated Spence in that eagerly anticipated confrontation with startling ease, and he is now the undisputed welterweight champion.