Often, when a particular fight is announced, it sticks out firmly as the highlight of the boxing calendar, as THE fight to look forward to. For many, this writer included, this year’s above-all-others fight to really get excited about, is the November showdown between welterweights Terence Crawford and Shawn Porter. Why? It’s real simple: there is simply no way this fight, set for Nov. 20th in Las Vegas, turns out to be anything other than a great fight.
Very possibly a fight that goes down as the FOTY, this one has all the ingredients. We’ve been waiting and waiting for the sublimely skilled Crawford, 37-0(28) to show the world his best stuff, his inner greatness. A couple of fighters might have come close to making Crawford fight hard enough to show us his absolute best – Yuriorkis Gamboa perhaps, or Viktor Postol – yet for all these years (“Bud” having gone pro way back in 2008) Crawford has almost seemed to cruise to victory. He will not be allowed to do that against Porter.
As skilled as Crawford is, Porter, 31-3-1(17) has the special kind of toughness that can overcome the finest skill; or at least push it to its limits. Porter is a relentless pressure fighter, a warrior who brings the heat as soon as the opening bell fades, and he has a granite chin. 12 rounds in the ring with Shawn Porter has proven to be a very long and very testing time, even for the three men who have beaten him (Kell Brook, Keith Thurman and Errol Spence, with each close decision being close enough to have gone Porter’s way).
So how great is Crawford? We should find out in this fight. Often a slow starter, Crawford may have a points deficit to overcome as this fight rages on; he might, for the first time, have to dig deep. Crawford has toughness himself, yet he has never fought anyone quite like Porter. Of course, it could be argued how Porter has never faced anyone quite like the switch-hitting, at times spiteful Crawford.
This is the big one, not only of the year, but for each of these two magnificent fighters. Do we see a KO or stoppage either way? Look instead for a close, brilliant, utterly engrossing 12-rounds of magnificent warfare. A fight so great we will all be calling for a part-two. Just as we were when Porter went to war with Thurman back in June of 2016.
We’ve just been celebrating the 40th anniversary of perhaps THE greatest welterweight title fight of them all – Sugar Ray Leonard Vs. Thomas Hearns. That fight is never likely to be topped (imagine if it had been fought today, with just 12 rounds, not 15), but if we’re lucky, November 20th’s showdown might be great enough to make us think again of the epic from 1981.