WBO World Welterweight champion and pound-for-pound talent Terence “Bud” Crawford finally has a fight date on the calendar in 2021 with a worthy opponent. Two-time champion and title challenger “Showtime” Shawn Porter will add to his impressive resume by facing his friend Bud on Saturday, November 20, at Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The pair, their trainers, and respective promoters met the boxing media in Las Vegas on the morning of the Fury Wilder 3 fight.
The press event, combined with a media workout the previous day with Crawford and several of his stablemates, represents a significant effort to promote a Crawford title defense by Top Rank. It’s partly due to the dry spell created by the pandemic and an effort perhaps to keep Crawford within the Top Rank stable, given his contract, which reportedly ends after this bout.
Crawford: ‘It’s put up or shut up’
The smartly dressed Crawford had plenty to say about his opponent Porter. “We always have had a good relationship ever since the amateur days. There has never been any bad blood. It’s always been all love, but come November 20, we step on him,” said Crawford.
“It’s put up or shut up. In my eyes, I can stand up and pull my shirt out, and I can show this eight-pack I got because, you know I stay working. I stay working. That is nothing new to me, and it isn’t anything new to you. You know what you are up against on November 20. I know what I’m against on November 20.”
Turning to Porter, he said, ‘We are going to give the fans a great night of boxing. It will be fireworks from the first bell to bell 12 if you last that long. Unlike other fighters that you fought, I’m different. I believe you know that I’m different. The more you push, the more I will push. You hit me hard, and l will hit you even harder if you can last. That’s what makes this fight a great fight.”
Porter: ‘It’s win or nothing else’
Porter, who is never at a loss for words, whether as a broadcaster or on his own behalf, didn’t disappoint. He said there is a lot of respect between himself and Crawford, but it doesn’t matter inside the ring.
“When I get in the ring, I command the ring. When I get in a room, I command the room,” said Porter. “We can talk all about resumes, but when I look at his resume, nobody that has been in the ring with him knows him as I know him. The best of Terence Crawford will bring out the best of Shawn Porter. What I do know is November 20 is a big day for boxing, and it will be a big day for Team Porter.”
Porter said he’s on the brink of being in the Hall of Fame, and defeating Crawford would seal it. “For me, it’s not only win or go home. It’s win or nothing else. My life right now it’s all about beating and dominating Crawford. My legacy will depend on beating Terence Crawford. He is a dominant fighter. Everyone he gets in the ring with, he dominates. I want to be the one fighter that he can’t dominate.”
Brown: ‘It’s always the fighters’
Top Rank chairman Bob Arum praised his counterpart, Tom Brown of TGB Promotions, for working with him to secure the matchup.
“Terence Crawford is the only unified champion sitting on this stage. He unified the 140-pound division, and maybe the reason he hasn’t fought other top welterweights, it’s because you guys were hiding them because you didn’t want to put them in with Terence,” said Arum.
Brown, TGB Promotions president, politely pushed back. “It’s the fighters, always the fighters” who make a bout come together. “This is the kind of fight that both the fans and the media have asked for, and we were able to deliver it.”
See video of Crawford during his media workout Friday – and having a bit of fun with trainer Brian McIntyre.
Crawford’s trainer, Brian “Bomac” McIntyre, says he wants Crawford to be in a tough fight, “because you are going to see a better Terence Crawford. The better the fighter, the better that Terence is.” He said camp is going well, and he’s working to bring in the best possible sparring partners for Crawford to prep him for Porter.
Porter is trained by his father, Kenny Porter. He complimented McIntyre as a great trainer and Crawford as an excellent fighter. “You can’t beat this type of caliber fighter fighting the way you always fought. You have to change everything. You have to be better. Shawn has been away training in the mountains. Secluded. Just himself and God.”
Once Crawford and Porter participated in their official first faceoff – no barrier or security necessary – the trainers and fighters working the media room talking about the matchup with anyone who would listen. Crawford and McIntyre participated in a lengthy media workout on Friday to promote the fight. Crawford has been stung by the criticism that he hasn’t actively promoted his bouts, and he’s out to change this perception.
Fan expectations have both been lowered and raised by the pandemic. The Delta variant may still get a say. But as rings, venues, and countries begin to find their way to a detente with the virus, promoters need to match matchups like Crawford and Porter the norm, not the exception. A positive response by fans to this fight will further encourage them to do so.