Terence Crawford – Do You Believe?
Terence Crawford storms back to become the first fighter to stop two-time champion Shawn Porter, silence his critics and retain his WBO Welterweight crown
LAS VEGAS (November 21, 2021) — Terence “Bud” Crawford owned the moment last night at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The undefeated 34-year old decisively defeated two-time Welterweight champion Shawn Porter inside the distance. The stoppage was the Akron, Ohio native’s first such loss of his impressive career.
As soon as the fight was announced many regarded Porter as the de facto sole litmus test for the legitimacy of Crawford’s entire career. The attacks of the three-division champion’s body of work wasn’t totally unfounded. On the other hand, Porter entered the fight having names on his CV included names like Broner, Thurman, Garcia, Brook, Alexander, and Spence.
All Crawford could really do was sit and listen to his list of past opponents be ruthlessly assailed by anybody interested in doing so. With his “strength of schedule” being in question, arguing about “style points” with today’s short attention spans became futile. Stopping a former champion with an unquestionable reputation concerning his durability represented the perfect opportunity to stave off such widespread criticism.
Do you believe, In you being told how to be you,
Where everything you are is supposedly not in cue,
From mimicking to you being told how to improve,
And how you benefit depends on you following suit,
Do you believe, That you can be taught how
to be who you already was before you was bogged down… – “Honor Amonst Thieves” by Skyzoo from In Celebration of Us (2018)
Looking Back at Crawford-Porter
Porter – a former IBF and WBC champion in the division – excelled over the first half of the bout. He closed the distance behind his jab, racked up an early scoring lead and fought composed while pressuring the champion from Omaha, Nebraska.
According to CompuBox, Porter hustled his way to a 43 to 37 lead in landed power punches through Round 6. The champion countered Porter’s momentum by switching to southpaw, starting in the second round, and averaged nearly 14 jabs per round to the midway point. Crawford’s connect rate with his lead hand was low, but the result was the tactical adjustment slowed down Porter’s rushing attack.
After finding some early success setting up his attacks with his jab, Porter was only credited with landing a single jab after the bout’s halfway point. Crawford’s use of his power was economical throughout the 10 rounds, but he was significantly more accurate, and he achieved a 26 to 7 advantage in landed body punches per CompuBox.
Punch stats are just a part of the story, but the most important numbers became the two knockdowns scored in the 10th and final round. Crawford succeeded the most when he timed Porter’s rushes, turned the challenger and connected with punishing hooks. The knockdowns came off of a left hook first, and then moments later a right hook. Porter appeared capable of continuing on at 1:21, but father/trainer Kenny Porter preempted the action, and directed referee Celestino Ruiz to stop the bout.
In the midst of a possible 4-round run, Crawford closed the show with scorecards of 87-84, and then 86-85 in the eyes of two judges. Porter’s inability to make a needed adjustment seemingly prompted the champion’s offensive eruption.
A Great Champion With New Leverage
The question became: What did you learn about the top Pound-for-Pound regarded, undefeated three-division champion?
Frankly, that’s a rhetorical question. Head online with all of that and be heard, champ.
With last night’s victory, against a high-value mutual opponent, all of these opinions are moot today. Nobody regards WBA champion Yordenis Ugas as box-office. Recently crowned undisputed Super Middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez is headed towards a match for a 190-pound championship. And the biggest debate at 147 pounds is that Crawford is the best fighter in the division – not unified champion Errol Spence Jr. Well, at least to every boxing pundit receiving checks from Disney.
Spence could wait around for Ugas to sort out the WBA’s Final Four-styled tournament. The PBC and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones would gladly put that unification bout together, and it would undoubtedly be another success for the Olympian. Maybe that bout is worth the risk of further injury to Spence’s surgically repaired eye.
There is, now, reason to have some hope for a Spence-Crawford showdown in 2022. By “reason”, for a change, more than one factor appears to exist. Spence attended last night’s fight. The 31-year old star was not fond of Kenny Porter’s decision to stop the fight. Him and his team quickly exited their floor seats after being visibly confused by what transpired in the bout’s final moments.
Secondly, in the post-fight press conference, Crawford expressed well-received intentions to move into the next phase of his career independent of Top Rank and long-time promoter Bob Arum. Lastly, with Porter pushing Spence to a split decision in their rugged September 2019 unification clash, last night’s conclusive ending changes the narrative of a bout between the division’s only two Pound-for-Pound champions.
Frankly, while this writer typically opts to avoid such low hanging fruit talking points, I am f—— with that through-line for this rivalry. Let’s make the best fight that can be made between any two American boxers.
Notwithstanding Kenny Porter’s fatherly misstep last night – and his horrific post-fight response to ESPN’s Bernardo Osuna – Crawford emerged from last night’s bout with more heft to his mandate to receive a shot at Spence. Some key pieces still need to fall in place. The Omaha native lived up to everything his impressive accolades suggested about him. Crawford has stopped all six of the Welterweights he’s fought. Kenny Porter foiled any chance of a full 10-count, but his son’s status entering the fight, and performance the first six rounds are indisputable.
Crawford is an outstanding fighter. And, after somewhat of a table turning victory, avoiding a bout with the three-division champion starts to put Spence’s dominance of his era of the Welterweight under the microscope.
Do you believe?
All photos by Mikey Williams/Top Rank