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Crawford vs. Porter ordered by WBO: Will it happen?

Image: Crawford vs. Porter ordered by WBO: Will it happen?

By Max Schramm: Welterweight champion Terence Crawford has been ordered to make his long-overdue mandatory defense against Shawn Porter by the WBO.

The chances of the Crawford-Porter fight happening might actually be quite poor, as the management for both fighters have their own ideas for the direction they want to take these guys.

The 33-year-old Crawford has one fight remaining on his contract with Top Rank, and it’s not in his best interest to face an inside brawler like Porter. Crawford has an excellent chance of fighting Errol Spence Jr if he wins his August 21st fight against Manny Pacquiao.

Terence doesn’t need to take a risky fight against Porter or anyone to get the fight with Spence. All he needs to do is wait. The WBO has spoiled things by ordering Crawford to fight Porter because it’s a fight that will get in the way of him facing Spence next.

Crawford shouldn’t fight Porter because it’s a match he could potentially lose, and the money from that fight is nowhere near what Bud will make fighting Spence.

Image: Crawford vs. Porter ordered by WBO: Will it happen?

Crawford’s last mandatory defense for his WBO 147-lb belt came way back in December 2019 when he defeated fellow Top Rank fighter Egidijus Kavaliauskas.

Crawford vs. Porter might not happen

Just because the Crawford-Porter fight has been ordered by the WBO doesn’t mean it’s a lock to happen.

Indeed, there’s a perfect chance that the fight WON’T happen because it’s not worth it for either fighter, particularly Porter. There’s no upside for Porter to take a risky fight against Crawford when his path to a much bigger fight has already been laid out for him.

Former IBF/WBC welterweight champion Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs) reportedly planned to face Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman in a rematch in the fall in a PBC fight.

That’s a fight that might even be bigger than a Crawford-Porter match. Moreover, the Thurman vs. Porter fight winner would have an excellent chance of taking on the winner of the August 21st Manny Pacquiao vs. Errol Spence Jr clash.

For his part, Crawford was going to face the heavy-handed #8 WBO David Avanesyan next, which would have been a match similar to his 2019 defense against Egidijus ‘Mean Machine’ Kavaliauskas. Avanesyan has power along the same lines as ‘Mean Machine,’ but he’s more dangerous on the inside.

Last Wednesday night, the World Boxing Organization informed Porter, Crawford, and their promotional teams that they have 30 days to negotiate a fight between them before a purse bid is ordered on August 20th.

Image: Crawford vs. Porter ordered by WBO: Will it happen?

Suffice to say; it’s in Crawford’s promoters at Top Rank’s best interest to avoid a purse bid because they could lose out on staging the Porter fight if it’s open to a bidding process.

We saw that happen recently with the Teofimo Lopez vs. George Kambosos Jr fight, which went to a purse bid, and Top Rank was outbid by Triller.

Terence can’t vacate the WBO belt

Crawford can’t afford to vacate his WBO title to swerve the Porter fight, as the belt is his only bargaining chip for a lucrative fight against IBF/WBC 147-lb champion Spence (27-0, 21 KOs).

If Crawford gives up his WBO title, he would be reduced to a challenger against Spence, and his chances of getting the fight dramatically decrease.

Spence and his management at Premier Boxing Champions haven’t shown a high level of interest in making a fight with Crawford over the years, despite him being the WBO belt-holder. If you take that title away from Crawford, it gives Spence and PBC an excuse not to fight him.

Showtime’ Porter, 33, might be willing to take the fight with Crawford rather than going the route of a match against former WBA/WBC champion Thurman (29-1, 22 KOs).

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It’s a guaranteed nice payday for Porter by fighting Crawford, and it also gives him the chance to beat the boogeyman of the 147-lb division.

If Porter defeats the highly rated pound-for-pound star Crawford, it would be a huge boost to his career, rejuvenating him and giving him the WBO title that he can use to get a rematch with Spence.

Beating Crawford would open doors for Porter

Porter lost a 12 round split decision to Spence Jr in September 2019 in a fight that many boxing fans felt that he won. Although Porter has asked Spence for a rematch, he’s been ignored.

But if Porter can get his hands on the WBO title by defeating Crawford, he’s a lock to fight the winner of the Pacquiao vs. Spence fight.

It’s a gamble that could pay off big for Porter if he beats Crawford. However, it won’t be easy because Crawford will likely be studying Porter’s loss to Kell Brook from 2014, and he may use that fight as a blueprint to beat him.

Brook basically hit Porter with jabs on the outside and would continually tie him up when he would charge forward to fight on the inside.

It was an ugly ‘punch & grab’ technique that Brook used to beat Porter, but it was effective. Porter rarely had the chance to fight on the inside due to the constant holding by Brook.

But even with that style, many boxing fans felt that Porter had done enough to deserve the victory. The outcome was controversial in the eyes of many boxing fans, who felt that Porter did enough to deserve the victory.

Terence won’t let Porter fight inside

Crawford has already shown that he won’t let his opponents fight him on the inside. If you look back at Crawford’s fight with Ricky Burns in 2014, he repeatedly tied up the Scottish fighter on the inside to prevent him from landing shots.

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In that same year, Crawford did the same thing in his match against Raymundo Beltran in November 2014, tying him up repeatedly when he tried to fight on the insider. Crawford fought those two exactly how Brook fought Porter, clinching each time they would get near him.

Interestingly, Crawford has never fought a big name during his career unless you count past their best Amir Khan and Kell Brook as big fights.

Those guys were both well past their best at the time Crawford fought them, unfortunately. Crawford defeated former IBF/WBA light welterweight champion Khan by a low-blow sixth round stoppage in April 2019.

Khan’s once-promising career fizzled out in 2012 after losing consecutive fights against Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia.

Brook’s career went downhill after he suffered an eye injury in a fifth round knockout loss to middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin in 2016. A year later, Brook suffered a similar eye injury in a stoppage loss to Spence in May 2017.

Top Rank maneuvered Crawford carefully

Crawford has won world titles in three weight classes during his career, which began in 2008. Interestingly, despite winning titles in three divisions, Crawford had never fought a big name. It’s debatable whether that’s something that his promoters at Top Rank purposefully did or just dumb luck.

Whatever the case, it’s helped Crawford go far by not having to take risky fights against elite-level opposition that might have beaten him. Crawford hasn’t always looked good in his fights, even against the sub-level opposition Top Rank has fed him.

He was poor against Yuriorkis Gamboa, and he struggled mightily against Briedis Prescott and Viktor Postol. Even against Khan, Crawford didn’t look good, and some fans believe he purposefully hit Amir low in the sixth round because he was having problems with his hand speed.

In 2018, Crawford moved up to 147 and won an easy belt against WBO champion Jeff Horn. However, despite winning the WBO belt, Crawford has failed to establish himself as a PPV attraction. His one fight on pay-per-view against Khan brought in lackluster numbers.

Crawford’s lack of popularity has made it easy for the talented welterweights at PBC to ignore him because he’s not a star. Fighting the switch-hitting, counter-punching Crawford didn’t make sense, given that he’s not a PPV attraction.

To add to all that, Crawford is a mover, and as I mentioned, he repeatedly ties up his opponents if they try to fight him on the inside. He’s not going to stand and punch with them the way Spence does.

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