Terence Crawford or Shawn Porter: Who Has More To Gain; Who Has More To Lose?
On November 20, Terence “Bud” Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) will make the fifth defense of the WBO world welterweight title against mandatory challenger “Showtime” Shawn Porter (31-3, 17 KOs). Set to take place at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, the contest will air live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
It’s one of the best matchups of the year and pits two of the top five fighters in the division against one another. During the pre-fight media events, both champion and challenger claim they will bring their best on fight night. In short, Crawford and Porter understand the significance of their upcoming bout and are fully aware of what’s at stake. But the question is, which fighter is under more pressure to win?
CALLING THE SHOTS
Over the last five years, Crawford has proven he’s one of the best pound for pound fighters in the sport. The 34-year-old had a dominant reign as WBO world lightweight champion and won the undisputed world title at 140 pounds. However, at welterweight, things have not been so rosy. Yes, he’s still undefeated. Fans and pundits still consider him an elite fighter. He also ranks #6 in the 3KingsBoxing Top Ten fighters.
But the crux of his issues has nothing to do with his fighting ability. His problem is more about his quality of opposition in recent years. Since moving up to 147 pounds, Crawford has not been in the ring with the elite fighters in the division. It has hurt his standing among fans and his ability to secure a big-money fight against unified IBF/WBC world welterweight champ Errol Spence.
Defeating a top-shelf welterweight like Porter would boost his standing and help silence his critics. It would also gain him some much-needed cache at the negotiating table. A loss could raise some questions. For example, is Terence Crawford guilty of feasting on inferior competition at 135 and 140?
REACHING THE NEXT LEVEL
Shawn Porter is one of the most well-liked and respected fighters in the sport. The two-time welterweight champion has fought a who’s who in the division over the past eight years. However, when faced with the chance to prove that he’s the best of the best in the division, “Showtime” Shawn has fallen short. It happened in decision losses to then-WBA champ Keith Thurman in 2016 and against Spence in a 2019 welterweight unification showdown. A win over Crawford would break that barrier.
Should he lose, it would put Porter in the category of being a good fighter, but not a great one. An apt comparison would be Fernando Vargas. A former IBF junior middleweight champion in the late 1990’s/early 2000s, Vargas defeated terrific fighters like Winky Wright and Ike Quartey. But, in high-profile matches against the two best fighters of his era, Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya, “Ferocious” Fernando was stopped by both men. Shawn Porter’s goal against Crawford is to not only win but show once and for all he should be considered the best of the best.
Given the high profile of this contest, there’s a lot on the line. When they step into the ring, it’s more than solely about what happens in Las Vegas. This is not only about their immediate futures but also cementing their respective legacies, long-term.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.