It’s fight week and we have a great one this Saturday night. Or at least we have a potentially great one. Much has been written about, spoken about and argued about the Terence Crawford-Shawn Porter fight. How Crawford, at age 37 and after so long in the ring, is finally meeting a truly elite foe. How Porter, at age 34, is going in with yet another elite fighter who is expected by most to have too much skill for him.
This IS the acid test for Crawford, 37-0(28) and it has come late in his career (this something “Bud” laments; arguing as he does that he has tried to get the big fights before now, to no avail). Porter, 31-3-1(17) is the underdog in this fight yet he has faced better opposition than Crawford. And you can find more than a few fans who feel “Showtime” deserved the decision in the Kell Brook fight, in the Keith Thurman fight, even in the Errol Spence fight. Porter knows he cannot afford to let a close one slip by this time.
It’s been said that Porter has never met a fighter as slick, as skilled and as special as Crawford. Yet it can also be argued how Crawford has never met a pressure fighter quite like Porter. Add it all up, as we have been doing since this potential Fight of the Year (in a 12-month span that has seen its share of FOTY candidates) was first announced, and it makes for an unmissable fight.
We know what Porter brings: pressure, pressure, pressure – all of it backed up by a refusal to back down, this backed up by a granite chin. We know what Crawford brings: slickness, effortless switch-hitting (Crawford perhaps the best ever at this), spite and impeccable accuracy – all of it backed up by a genuine belief that he is the best in the world. Truly, this adds up to one special fight. One that will please all fans.
But who wins?
Crawford says he will win this fight in commanding fashion and that he will then go on to win further big fights. Porter says he needs this win for his legacy. Who wants it more? Who NEEDS it more? On the one hand, Porter, in the opinion of some critics, has “got used to losing” and will do so again on Saturday. On the other hand, Porter feels like a man who has never really lost a fight and he aims to prove so on the big stage on Saturday. Crawford knows he cannot afford to lose this, his first “absolute test,” lest the critics have a field day. In terms of motivation to win, it’s fair to say these two are about as even as can be.
So who wins!
Going out on a limb (if not a long one), I’m picking Porter, with his straight out of the blocks, give-him-no-room-to-breathe-let-alone-think approach, to dig in, deep, and pull out a close decision win in a thriller. Crawford will want a rematch and Porter will be willing to grant him one.
Porter by close, perhaps split decision.