Crawford vs Porter: Friendly fire is all business – Saturday, ESPN PPV
LAS VEGAS, Nevada, November 19, 2021 – The seeming ease of Terence “Bud” Crawford’s domination over his opponents has simultaneously put him near the top of boxing’s pound-for-pound lists and given the doubters fuel to argue he’s got a thin resume.
WBO World Welterweight Champion Crawford of Omaha (37-0,28 KOs) can shut the doubters down with a solid performance Saturday against rugged challenger “Showtime” Shawn Porter of Las Vegas (31-3-1, 17 KOs). The fighters made weight with ease on Friday, and the fight is on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Hotel’s Michelob ULTRA Arena. The card airs as an ESPN PPV starting at 9 pm ET/6 pm PT.
Business first, friendship later for Porter and Bud
Crawford and Porter, both age 34, have known each other for more than two decades and have been friends. At one point, Crawford said he’d rather not fight Porter. It was Porter who contacted Crawford and encouraged him to make the fight across their respective promoter aisles, and Crawford vs Porter fell into place.
Both men understand boxing is a business and it’s an opportunity both need to prove a point. Crawford doesn’t come right out and say how irritated he is not to enjoy universal pound-for-pound acclaim, but he’s got a legacy at stake. Porter is the rare fighter who never says no to a challenge, and he’s fought nearly every prominent name: Spence, Garcia, Porter, Ugas. While he’s lost three times, he’s always been competitive to the final bell, and fans love watching him put on the pressure.
Crawford’s skills as a switch-hitting craftsman with power are undeniable. They’re matched with a mean streak motivating to put a hurt on opponents who dare to test him. We watched Crawford in a workout with trainer Brian “Bomac” McIntyre several weeks ago. Note the balance, easy footwork, and Crawford’s raw strength in pressing against the much larger McIntyre.
Porter’s stamina, work rate, and determination are unmatched in their own way. His efforts aren’t always pretty, but he can take away a technician’s skills through his sheer will.
In the lead-up to Crawford vs Porter, Crawford has maintained his respect for Porter. “He’s athletic. He can box. He can bang,” said Crawford. “I just think I do a lot of things better than Shawn.”
The outgoing Porter, who’s developing his career as a broadcast analyst, has tried to needle Crawford without making Bud too mad. This never goes well for anyone.
“I don’t think there’s really much I can say to Bud that’s going to change the way you think about yourself and the outcome of this fight,” Porter said to Crawford in the final pre-fight news conference. “37 times he’s gotten his way. This is the one time he’s not gonna.”
Oddsmakers have Crawford as a significant favorite. There’s no reason to doubt the likelihood of Crawford winning, retaining his title, and remaining undefeated. It will be the way he does it that becomes the story of the fight. Porter has never been stopped. If Crawford can be the first, it will help shut down most of the critics. But if Porter scores the upset, he’ll prove all those close losses look better than the BoxRec numbers reflect.
Prediction: Crawford by decision
Expect a slow start to Crawford vs Porter. Terence Crawford has been out of the ring a year, Shawn Porter out for 15 months. Crawford’s last fight was a four-round blowout of Kell Brook. Porter fought a 12 round snoozer vs Sebastian Formella. But it’s Porter who has the stronger resume. His loss to Errol Spence Jr. was razor-thin. I had Porter winning on my ringside scorecard. Once both men heat up, expect Porter to try and make things ugly. He’s got one big forward gear, and most of the time, he makes it work for him. Porter will force Crawford to work hard if he wants to win.
Crawford is boxing’s Felix the Cat with his bag of tricks. Box or bang. Orthodox or southpaw. Speed or stealth. Where Crawford has the edge is the kind of mean streak champions use to close the show. When it’s time to put a hurt on someone, this Bud’s for you. Porter has been dropped twice but never stopped. I’m not sure Crawford can accomplish this, but he should win on the cards after 12 rounds. It could be a fight close and entertaining enough down the stretch, so we will all want to see it again.
A final word about Crawford vs Porter being made by rival promoters Top Rank and Premier Boxing Champions. Promoters remain reluctant to match undefeated stars against serious threats for a good reason. But the fight will happen when the demand is there and the money is enough to shift the risk versus reward ratio. Until this Saturday, Crawford had to be content with the opponents in front of him. He still wants the ultimate prize, Errol Spence Jr. But Bud will dance with the one who brought him.
Undercard weigh-in notes
Janibek Alimkhanuly vs. Hassan N’Dam, ten rounds, for Alimkhanuly’s WBC Continental Americas and WBO Global Middleweight Titles
Raymond Muratalla vs. Elias Araujo, eight rounds, lightweight
ESPN2 & ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT
Isaac Dogboe vs. Christopher Diaz, ten rounds, Dogboe’s NABF Featherweight Title
Adam Lopez vs. Adan Ochoa, eight rounds, featherweight
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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