“Slaughter competition, that’s my hobby and job” were the LL Cool J lyrics that played as Terence Crawford made his ring walk. It is a phrase that Crawford has lived up to during his career, and it was no different on Saturday night as Crawford knocked down an impressive Shawn Porter twice in the 10th round, forcing Porter’s father and trainer to call an end to an engrossing fight.
IN THE RED CORNER – TERENCE CRAWFORD
The reigning WBO world welterweight champion, Crawford entered this fight as the #2 welterweight in The Ring rankings, and #4 on the magazine’s official pound for pound list.
Crawford first won world title gold in 2014 when he travelled to Scotland and beat Ricky Burns via unanimous decision (116-112, 116-112, 117-111) to captutre the WBO world lightweight title.
Crawford successfully defended the WBO lightweight title against Yuriorkis Gamboa before outpointing Ray Beltran to claim the vacant Ring Magazine world title at lightweight.
After claiming The Ring strap at lightweight, Crawford decided to move up a division and bid to become a two-weight world champion. Crawford claimed the WBO world title in his junior welterweight debut, knocking down Thomas Dolorme three times in the 6th round en route to a TKO win.
Successful title defences followed with wins over Dierry Jean and Hank Lundy, before Crawford added the WBC and Ring Magazine titles with a wide points win (118-107, 118-107, 117-108) over Viktor Postol.
Wins over John Molina Jr. and Felix Diaz followed before a massive unification opportunity came onto the horizon. In the summer of 2017, Crawford faced Julius Indongo with all four junior welterweight titles on the line as well as The Ring Magazine belt. Crawford stopped Indongo inside of three rounds to become the division’s first undisputed champion since Kostya Tszyu in 2004.
It would be a short reign as undisputed champion, as Crawford set his sights on the welterweight division. WBO world champion Jeff Horn was targeted, with the Australian having won the belt courtesy of a huge upset of Manny Pacquiao.
Horn was stopped in round nine, with the result crowning Crawford as a three-weight world champion and immediately making him a top player in the welterweight division. Crawford then reeled off four straight stoppage wins to move his career record to 37-0 (28K)) ahead of this showdown againsy a man that many pundits believed to be his highest level of opposition to date.
IN THE BLUE CORNER – SHAWN PORTER
Porter entered this fight ranked #4 in The Ring rankings for welterweight, and was a two-time former world champion in the division. Porter first challenged for world title gold in 2014 when he faced Devon Alexander.
Alexander was beaten in a hard fought unanimous decision (116-112, 116-112, 115-113) before Porter defended the title with a fourth round stoppage of former world champion Paulie Malignaggi. Next time out, Porter would drop the title as he suffered his first career defeat, losing a majority decision (117-111, 116-112, 114-114) to Englishman Kell Brook.
Porter bounced back from the defeat with wins over Erick Bone and Adrien Broner, before narrowly failing to win the WBA world title against Keith Thurman. In a ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate, Thurman retained his title in a close unanimous decision (115-113, 115-113, 115-113).
The big name opponents kept coming and former world champion Andre Berto was stopped in the ninth round, before Porter came out on top in a points decision over Adrian Granados to clear the path for another world title shot.
WBC champion Danny Garcia was beaten on unanimous decision to crown Porter a two-time world champion by scores of 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113. The belt was defended with a split decision victory over Yordenis Ugas, before being lost in an unsuccessful unification attempt against Errol Spence Jr.
In another ‘Fight of the Year’ candidate, Porter recovered from a knockdown to go the distance and drop a split decision on the scorecards (116-111, 116-111 and 112-115) against IBF world champion Spence.
Last time out, Porter produced a shutout points (120-108 on all three cards) against German opponent Sebastian Formella. Now, Porter had the chance to start a third world title reign, and attain the biggest scalp of his career against childhood friend Crawford.
Porter entered the arena in an orange and black robe emblazoned with the word ‘WAR’ in a nod to the late, great Marvin Hagler. With a stained glass window backdrop, Porter made his way down the aisle flanked by WWE superstar Big E and singer Rhapsody as a gospel choir followed in tow.
In a stark contrast, Crawford strutted to the ring alone in a black and white hooded robe to the beat of LL Cool J hit “I’m bad.”
When the fighters were introduced, a smiling Porter licked his ‘WAR’ gumshield while the emotionless Crawford stared ahead.
Living up to his pre-fight promise to attack on the front foot, Porter was the aggressor from the opening bell. The challenger fired off a one-two combination before staying busy with crisp jabs. The pair ended up in a clinch where referee Celestino Ruiz separated the pair after Porter landed a couple of punches to the body.
Moving sharply on his toes, Porter continued to fight behind the jab and fired off another combination before Crawford held on and forced a separation from referee Ruiz. Crawford continued to move his head and searched for an opening but found none in what was a good opening round for the challenger.
It was a more cagey opening to the second round, with the first significant punch landed being a right hand by Porter halfway through the round. Porter then fired off a left hand before ducking under Crawford’s reply and grabbing onto a clinch.
After referee Ruiz separated the pair, Porter immediately sprang forward with a left handed jab. A close range firefight ensued where Porter landed a left hand to the jaw and came away with the best of the exchange as the crowd rose to its feet. The pair continued to trade jabs before the bell rang on what was another good round for Porter.
Crawford gained some traction in the first half of round three, staying on the front foot and backing Porter into a corner, even though neither fighter launched much offense. Porter span off the ropes quickly and landed a series of blows to back Crawford onto the ropes before the champion held on and forced referee Ruiz to step in.
A smiling Crawford had words for Porter as a cut caused by an accidental head butt opened under the left eye of the challenger, Porter was then pushed to the canvas with referee Ruiz ruling no knockdown. Crawford showed his strength by walking Porter back onto the ropes in a clinch as the round ended, then taunted Porter as the pair returned to their corners after the round.
The defending champion was becoming more comfortable in the opening minutes of round four, sizing up Porter and finding the target with some heavy counter punches. Porter landed a right hand that saw Crawford bounce on and off the ropes, before another Porter attack ended in Crawford making him miss and stumble into the corner.
Both men jockeyed for position in the center of the ring to open round five, with Porter eventually going on the front foot and reeling off a number of punches. As the round entered the final minute, Porter went on a lengthy offensive spree that Crawford saw out hiding behind a high guard. The round ended with Porter on the ropes as both men threw leather with intent.
Throughout the fight, Crawford smiled and brushed off Porter attacks but his trainer Brian ‘Bo Mac’ McIntyre had words of wisdom between rounds. “Don’t let him get all those shots off without throwing none,” warned McIntyre. “It might not mean much to you but it might mean something to the judges.”
Crawford heeded his trainer’s advice and went on the offensive in the early stages of round six, throwing and landing punches while crowding the space of his opponent. Porter launched another attack but his momentum was interrupted by a stiff right hand.
Referee Ruiz called timeout with 1:06 left in the round after a head butt opened up a cut on Crawford. The fight resumed and both men landed shots in what was a well balanced affair. As the bell rang to mark the halfway point of the fight, both men had cuts caused by head butts, Porter had landed 54 shots to Crawford’s 53 and the fight was even (57-57) on this author’s scorecard.
Round seven was a cagey affair, with regular separations from referee Ruiz and Porter warned for leading with his head. Crawford landed the more clean punches, while Porter showed menace with repeated offensive bursts that saw him spring forward while swinging hooks with malice.
Porter was caught with a clean right hand to the jaw during his first offensive flurry of round eight, and Crawford landed several shots to the head in a follow up attack. Porter landed a strong right hand to the head and appeared to have established the upper hand before a thudding left hand to the body from Crawford froze him in his tracks.
There were ominous signs for Porter in round nine, as his now familiar offensive attacks were more frequently being stalled by Crawford landing hooks to the body and head. Crawford established his jab and fired off more shots in a clear sign he was gaining the upper hand in the fight as the final three rounds approached.
The first knockdown of the fight came early in round 10, when Porter leaned forward into a punch and sat down by a short left hook from Crawford. Porter rose quickly and took an eight count before continuing.
Porter was undeterred and continued to come forward but almost every attack was being met with sharp counter punches. Porter continued to throw blows and he was felled again as Crawford stepped back out of range before unleashing a flurry of punches to the head.
An enraged Porter pounded the canvas in frustration and stood up once more to take an eight count. “Do you want to continue?” was the question from referee Ruiz and Porter responded with an assertive “yes” only for his father and trainer Kenny Porter to climb the steps and call an end to the fight. A defiant Crawford stomped on the center of the ring in celebration while Porter looked frustrated about the stoppage.
WHAT THEY SAID
After the fight, the victorious Crawford danced with his mother Debra and thanked God as well as his large army of traveling fans from Omaha, Nebraska.
When asked post-fight when he had Porter figured out, Crawford gave a conclusive answer. “Round one, I had the reach, I was a little stronger. He was trying to do what he normally do, maul, push me back. I used my angles and pushed him back at times as well.”
“Shawn Porter is a good fighter,” added the still reigning world champion. “He was doing some little slick things and at times it was a thinking match in there. I knew I caught him with a good uppercut, I caught him with a left hook and his Dad did the right thing by stopping it because I was coming with vengeance.
When asked about the stoppage from his father that some fans felt came early, Porter said “he’s doing what he knows he needs to do. I didn’t expect that, we’ve never had a conversation about that. We just had an unspoken understanding that if he sees what he needs to see, he’s gonna do what he did.”
Porter heaped praise on his opponent, adding “Yes, my timing was off. Great fighter over there, wouldn’t allow me to catch my rhythm. He’s a dynamite dude in and out of the ring. There’s no doubt that man hit me more than anyone I’ve been in the ring with, he was on point.”
The man responsible for the stoppage, Kenny Porter raised some eyebrows with his comments when asked what his reasoning for ending the bout. “Honestly, his preparation. He didn’t prepare the way I wanted him to prepare. That makes me say ‘I don’t want him in that situation.’ He’s fighting a great fighter, the guy super sharp and he’s at a deficit. It’s like fighting this guy blindfolded when you in a deficit like that, I wasn’t gonna let that happen to him.”
The elder Porter went on to suggest that his son had not been responsive to coaching and feedback during camp. “When guys get to certain levels, they believe they know what they doing and they don’t necessarily take all the information so this is where we at with it. This is why I had to make that decision, it’s an easy decision for me.”
WHAT NEXT FOR THE WINNER
Crawford made clear his desired next move post fight. “Maybe I’ll go up to 154, maybe if Spence get his tail out of his butt he’ll fight me.” A unification bout with Spence would put the WBO, IBF and WBC welterweight titles on the line, and likely crown a Ring Magazine champion for the division.
If the Spence fight cannot be secured, Crawford may look to become a four-weight world champion and take aim at junior middleweight title holders Jermell Charlo or Brian Castano.
Crawford announced after the fight that he will not re-sign with Top Rank, and will be a free agent as he pursues his next big opportunity.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE LOSER
Shawn Porter retired in the post-fight press conference, bringing the curtain down on an excellent career that saw him win world title gold twice and gain a reputation for consistently fighting the best. Porter gave a level headed speech at the post-fight press conference and it was clear it is a decision he has not reached without significant thought.
“I’ve given this sport a great deal, from the training to the competition and then more training. With that being said, after you’ve fought everybody at the top what more can you do? I’m not going to be a gatekeeper, that’s not the life I want to live. I’ve never wanted to live the life of a fighter who fought into his 40’s. I’m 34, now is the time.”
Author’s Scorecard (round by round)