Terence Crawford came to the ring Saturday night at Mandalay Bay with a 37-0 record, the WBO welterweight crown and the belief he’s the best boxer on this earth. Opponent Shawn Porter entered with a 31-3-1 mark, most fans and pundits assuming he’d take another L and having implied this fight week that he’d be channeling Marvin Hagler.
Crawford still believes he’s the top pound for pounder on any planet after getting two knockdowns and forcing a finish at 1:21 of the tenth on this Top Rank/ESPN PPV, when ref Celestino Ruiz said that’s all she wrote, upon request of the Porter corner.
No, Shawn wasn’t able to channel Marvelous Marvin, but he gave a more than solid account of himself, as per usual.
Porter in the ring to Bernardo Osuna said he wasn’t unhappy with his dad Kenny’s call. No, he said, dad knows what he’s doing. “Crawford’s that good, I wanna do it again,” the loser said, 40 minutes before announcing otherwise.
Father/trainer Kenny said after that he called for a stoppage because Shawn didn’t prepare properly, that his kid didn’t “prepare like I wanted him to prepare.” Pop did give Bud props, as a complete package after offering his mystifying slap at his son.
Bud postfight told Osuna that he figured Porter out in round one. The mauling and pushing was what he expected, he said, and yes, Porter made him think.
He knew that Porter was hurt and “his dad did the right thing.” Bud acted surprised that Errol Spence attended this fight, and told us that he is the No. 1 man at 147. I want Spence next, maybe at 154, the victor stated.
Crawford has had to work to soothe himself at not getting signature fights, not being able to test himself, to show the masses he’s as good as he proclaims, because he’s a Top Rank fighter. The rival PBC promotion was stocked with most of the top tier 147s for the last few years, and their leader Al Haymon has preferred to work in house, booking intramural scraps with his wealth of welters. The impasse broke when Porter gained a sufficient ranking in the WBO to score himself a mandatory title shot.
It’s fair to say that plenty of players who’d laid down bread on sports betting sites, most of which had Crawford a heavy favorite, watched the rounds play out on the edge of their seats, because nobody was pulling away. Until one man did so.
In the first, we saw the 34 year old Porter, the Cleveland, Ohio native who makes Vegas home, not come out like a maniac, which he hinted he would. He advanced but not recklessly, while Bud fought in his typical first round style, that is to say he mostly looked and assessed.
In the second, the 34 year old Crawford, the fighting pride of the entire state of Nebraska, shook his head no when Shawn landed a decent right. It got frenetic midway through, both landed some solid tosses.
In the third, Bud started being more aggressive, his jab got busier. A head clash opened a little slice over Shawn’s right eye.
In the fourth, we saw Crawford’s accuracy on display. He knew what Porter was trying to set up, and the underdog wasn’t acting like he knew what his game plan should be. In the fifth, Crawford hurt Shawn at the end of the round. Bud had control of the domain, and Shawn would need to switch his tactics.
In the sixth, the lefty Bud missed one, two, three shots on a ducking/slipping Porter. Bud’s counters, including sweeping hooks, were on point. A cut on Bud’s brow formed after a head clash, but caused no issues. Bud stayed in center ring, something that makes sense being he’s 34. “You’re doing good, man,” trainer Brian McIntyre told him post round.
In the seventh, Shawn scored with a clean right, but Bud’s counters were still on message enough of the time to get an edge on the cards.
This was a slowdown round. In the eighth, it started fast, Bud’s launches were peppy. Then Porter got cooking, his right hand touched the Nebraskan. A looping right was working for the Ohioan.
In the ninth, it was another tight one, like pretty much every round. A lack of a jab from Bud was pointed out by his trainer post round.
In the tenth, Bud started real strong, like he’d been instructed or knew by intuition that he should step on the gas, scoring a knockdown. And then another one, which had Kenny Porter calling for a stop. Shawn was shocked, and appalled.
Replay showed that a left caught Shawn coming in, on the first drop. The second knockdown came off a flurry and a sharp right. Porter got up, but slowly, and Kenny knows his kid, so he surrendered on his behalf. There would be more drama on display when Kenny threw Shawn under the bus for his supposed sub-par prep, and when Shawn announced this was his last fight.
Overall, the fight satisfied most watchers, though it wasn’t a classic contest, and Crawford didn’t win in a manner that had folks debating pound for pound best jumping from the Canelo camp to the Crawford camp.
Check out this definitive undercard report from Gayle Falkenthal, who sat ringside.