WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford will meet former two-time belt-holder Shawn Porter on 20th November in a top-drawer match-up. Fights between elite-level boxers have become a rarity recently, and on-paper this 147Ib scrap is a breath of fresh air for the sport. Influencers, celebrities and retirees are boxing on pay-per-view more often than professional boxers are these days, and a dominant champion defending his title against a quality challenger is the perfect tonic to this encroaching circus.
The unbeaten ‘Bud’ is fighting for the first time since stopping Sheffield’s Kell Brook in four rounds last November. The Nebraskan puncher has reigned as world champion in three weight divisions, and carries wins over top Brits Ricky Burns and Amir Khan, as well as Manny Pacquiao-conqueror Jeff Horn, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Viktor Postol and Julius Indongo. Top of many people’s pound-for-pound lists, the 33-year-old had been in the frame for a fight with Manny Pacquiao last year before the pandemic intervened.
Shawn Porter last entered the ring in August 2020, posting a twelve-round shutout against Sebastian Formella. Eleven months before that routine win, he dropped his WBC welterweight strap to Errol Spence Jr. ‘Showtime’ holds eye-catching victories over new WBA king Yordenis Ugas, as well as former titleholders Andre Berto, Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia and Paulie Malinaggi. Between Porter and his opponent, the pair have shared the ring with a comprehensive who’s who of their weight class over the last few years.
For Crawford, this mouth-watering match is a chance to re-assert himself at the very top of the boxing mountain. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the sport, and only now do we seem to be getting big fights in the calendar consistently. A dominant showing against a decorated former champion will remind fans who’s in charge of this stacked division. Ugas may have stolen the headlines with his stunning upset over Pacquiao last month, but Crawford is facing a fighter with a lot more left to give than the 42-year-old Filipino great.
Shawn Porter must view this as his best shot at redemption. The Ohio-born former champion has sat atop this division before, and he is good enough to do so again. The Crawford fight represents a chance to exercise the demons he may still carry from defeats to Spence, Keith Thurman and Kell Brook.
This card can also serve as a redemption for boxing itself. The Evander Holyfield vs Vitor Belfort debacle left a grim stain on the sport at the weekend, as a 58-year-old near-defenceless fighter was ruthlessly pounded by a man 14 years his junior. The only way to stem the tide from these pseudo-sporting horror shows is by providing real fights to counteract them. Crawford vs Porter is a perfect example. A great champion and a world class challenger with a point to prove.
This exciting scrap can be filed alongside Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk, Tyson Fury vs Deontay Wilder, Jamel Herring vs Shakur Stevenson and Saul Alvarez vs Caleb Plant as reasons for pugilism die-hards to be cheerful over the coming months.