By: Sean Crose
Blame it on boxing politics. Terence Crawford has been on the margins of the welterweight division, even though he’s an undefeated world titlist who used to be the undisputed champion of the junior welterweight division. Most of Crawford’s peers – and by peers we’re talking about other top divisional names – fight under the Premiere Boxing Champions’ banner while Crawford himself fights under the banner of Top Rank. This Saturday night, however, Crawford has a chance to crash the PBC’s party…provided, of course, that he can get past the excellent former titlist Shawn Porter their scheduled 12 round bout.
This is the size of fight Crawford has been waiting for. Although he’s bested the likes of Carlos Beltran, Viktor Postol, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Amir Khan, Kell Brook (who himself bested Porter years earlier) and others, he’s never bested the likes of Adrien Broner, Andre Berto, or Danny Garcia, as Porter has. It’s good to keep in mind that many feel Porter even bested titlist Keith Thurman when they met in 2016. There’s no doubt walking into Saturday night that Porter is has the more impressive resume of the two. Crawford, however, has always appeared to be something special – and at 34 years of age, he’s probably still able to prove it if he is.
To watch Crawford in action is to watch an elusive, switch hitting ring practitioner. Yet he also has the killer instinct to allow himself to end fights early. Just ask Jeff Horn, or Julius Indongo, or Thomas Dulorme or Egidijus Kavaliauskas. Make no mistake about it, Crawford can lay down a beating. Porter, however, can take a licking and keep on ticking. He’s fought such hard hitters as Thurman and Errol Spence, and has never been stopped. He’s been down, sure, but never stopped before the final bell.
What makes this fight particularly interesting, however, is the fact that both these men take the sport of boxing very, very seriously. Watch any pre-fight program involving one or both of these fighters and you see a focus that’s unusual even at the highest levels of the sport. These simply aren’t guys who have a bad night. Should Crawford have a better night than Porter on Saturday, he might well be seen – by some, at least – as the de-facto king of the welterweight hill. With fellow titlist Errol Spence looking at an uncertain future due to various injuries, it’s tempting to claim it’s Crawford who will now be the man to beat in the division.
Porter, however, would likely have something to say about that.
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