Boxing

Terence Crawford vs. Shawn Porter: An Early Look

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Terence Crawford vs. Shawn Porter may not be THE fight everyone wants to see at welterweight, but it definitely is ONE of the fights everyone should want to see.

Last week, the WBO, in an ever-so-rare moment of doing more good than bad, ordered their defending 147 lb. titlist, Crawford, to defend against mandatory challenger Shawn Porter. The fighters’ teams have 30 days to negotiate a deal or the bout will be put up to purse bid.

For what it’s worth, Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum immediately went on record as saying that he likes the bout and thinks it’ll do well on pay-per-view. Porter, long ago, said that a Crawford fight was something he wanted. Crawford, meanwhile, wasn’t 100% sold on buzz about that fight being made in the past, but that’s most likely because he had his eyes on more lucrative bouts with Manny Pacquiao and Errol Spence. But with Pacquiao and Spence facing each other on August 21, he may warm up to a Porter clash now.

So, assuming this fight gets made, how would it play out and where would it push the winner?

The 33-year-old Crawford is regarded as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world and, by some, as THE pound-for-pound best. The Omaha, Nebraska native’s skills are impeccable and his adaptability is superb. He can box, he can bang, he can stalk, and he can counter. He’s also a mean-spirited closer who, when he hurts an opponent, goes directly for the kill. The man can do everything well, but if there’s been one perceived flaw in his game, it’s an ever-so-occasional loss of focus when matched against clearly inferior opposition.

Porter, also 33, is a buzzsaw of activity in the ring who overwhelms lesser opposition with sheer will and aggression and throws elite-level foes well off their game. At his best, the two-time welterweight champ is pure fists of fury– with a few elbow shots and headbutts thrown in for good measure. Gifted with supreme athleticism, Porter is an imposing physical presence and is always in condition for a long-haul war. If necessary, he CAN box, but he’s just so much more effective as an ever-pressing juggernaut.

Against one another, it’s easy to envision a scenario where the superior-skilled Crawford could be thrown off his game by a Porter who just won’t stop coming forward and won’t give him a moment to think or take a breath. Porter did that to the usually calm and collected Errol Spence back in September of 2019 and came remarkably close to pulling off the upset. Actually, Porter has done that to just about everyone he’s faced.

But could Crawford, as smart and as skilled and as disciplined as he is, neutralize a bulldozing, hard-charging Porter? Could he at least neutralize him enough to put some hurt on him?

This is what makes the Crawford-Porter matchup so intriguing. So many scenarios could play out. Everything will come down to force of will and pristine execution. It’ll be an explosive high-stakes chess match taking place at an elite level. No matter who wins, a compelling action fight is absolutely guaranteed. There’s sometimes no telling what the paying public will respond to, but action-hungry boxing fans who appreciate a real clash of wills should be willing to pay a few bucks to see this one.

The winner will be THE man to face for the winner of Pacquiao-Spence. If the winner of Crawford-Porter doesn’t immediately get the winner of Pacquiao-Spence, then he’ll be for sure lined up to face the best of the rest at 147– Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Yordenis Ugas (all of which would be rematches for Porter and first-time challenges for Crawford). There’s also Mikey Garcia waiting around at welter as well as young super prospects, Jaron Ennis and Vergil Ortiz Jr.

Crawford, whose contract with Arum and Top Rank Promotions is reportedly up in October, will have some tough business decisions to make if he wants the best of the best at 147, most of whom fight exclusively under the Premier Boxing Champions banner.

Regardless of the boxing politics that may or may not impede the winner’s movements, Crawford vs. Porter will be an awesome fight and it needs to happen. Actually, it needed to happen about two years ago.

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com

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