This was tasty. It wasn’t a boxing superfight because these two fighters don’t push the loud mouthed marketing, but Crawford vs Porter promised to be something special.
Some believe Crawford, the WBO Welterweight champ, has not had the difficult defence picture that they would like. You can only fight those out in front of you, of course, but it’s never that easy on the negotiation of boxing matches.
That came to an end when the WBO named Shawn Porter his mandatory opponent. Porter is time-served, tough and has been so active in fights with so many including Kell Brook, Adrialen Broner, Errol Spence and many, many more.
Crawford told The Guardian after the fight, ‘I didn’t really want to fight him. We always said we would fight each other when the time was right and I guess the time was right for this fight to happen.’
I heard someone yesterday describe him as happy to fight a dog in the ring, not disparagingly, in celebration of his willingness to battle. He’s always ready..
Who Was Favourite?
Crawford vs Porter was pick ’em fight. Too close to call. Porter wanted this and had the energy to really cause trouble. In fact, he had the energy to mess himself up in the fight. Porter 7/1 against in some odds? Certainly not. Why?
Crawford has the timing and speed to pick off a fighter who is too keen. But can he handle a fighter who rushes him?
Crawford vs Porter was going to be a great fight.
By round 7, the commentary team were saying Porter was fighting a perfect fight. So let’s see.
Although the first stanza was cagey, Porter looked up for it and wasn’t rushing in. His patience was surprising.
Crawford was calm too, checking this new Porter he wasn’t expecting. Meanwhile Porter concentrated on quick in and outs, that way he avoided Crawford’s excellent timing.
Porter continued to do so in the second, but when they engaged he also looked happy to take a punch to make a punch, which was a dangerous tactic with ‘Bud’ Crawford.
That engagement messed with Crawford a bit and showed him Porter’s mettle. Even though he hit a left hook after the check hook.
At the end of that round, Porter looked at Crawford as if to say ‘that’s more like it!’ And Brian McIntyre, in Crawford’s corner, advised his man not to get into a firefight; sage words.
By the 3rd, Porter was beginning to lurch forward when trying to cut the distance with his taller opponent, whilst Crawford was beginning to use his movement to turn Porter, binging a commentary ‘Olé!’
Then Porter cracked in a right to the body. Crawford smiled, but he was clearly troubled.
And then when their feet tied a little, Porter fell and the ref ruled it a no knockdown, said ref Celestino Ruiz; there was a punch which sent him on his way, though. And they ended the round chatting trash to each other.
Whilst the corner worked on a cut above Porter’s right eye, apparently from a clash of heads, the crowd were poised for the unfolding of a special fight.
Crawford began the next round with some control measures, using his movement to give us a huge ‘Olé’ as he stepped away from a Porter lunge, cuffed him on the back of the head as he passed by and left him face first in the corner.
Porter was trying to rough things up, but Crawford’s smoother movement allowed avoidance and accurate strikes, just not enough of them up to now.
By this time the commentary ringside card had it 2 rounds up for Porter, hard to argue, as he looked busy, in fact Crawford’s corner were telling him that even if he wasn’t bothered by Porter’s punches, the judges were seeing them.
That corner comment was after a 5th when Porter cut the gap and threw hands, moving in and out and Crawford only letting his hands go a little too late.
So in the 6th, he came out strong but Porter fired back after getting caught, but off Crawford’s space and looked in charge.
Another clash of heads and a cut for Crawford this time, the replay showing Porter reached behind and pulled his opponent’s head into it; naughty and rough. They both landed in this round, but Porter looked the busier.
This was the point the perfect fight comments came for Porter. And he did look sharp, energetic, changing levels and frustrating Crawford. He was setting a high pace, though…
That continued in the 8th round, Crawford tried to get on his toes like Porter, but he was kept guessing as a right hand landed and he had to tie up, he didn’t know quite what to expect.
Round 9. Something changed. It was as if Crawford flicked a switch.
Out with piston punches to the head, landing too, Porter not in trouble but not as mobile.
Crawford even tried to tease Porter with his movement, before tasting two right hands, including the looping right the challenger was looking for all night. Unfortunately, Porter then smothered his work through too much energy. That was a great round.
A clearer Crawford in the next. Why? He finally got the jab going, keeping Porter away, giving him something else to think about as he tried to slip round the jab and make something of his own.
Suddenly Porter looked a little more flat footed, as Crawford rolled away from trouble, getting in and out with quick punches, showing more poise.
And he had worked Porter’s movement out by the 10th when opening him up with his feints to deliver a down the middle punch which knocked him down.
Crawford stayed patient, used the jab and set up a quick, accurate combo which put Porter down again.
And suddenly his trainer and father Kenny was on the apron, throwing in the towel. It was all over. Really?
A Controversial Stoppage?
I thought Porter looked discombobulated on the canvas when he took the combo.
But listening to Chris Mannix and Sergio Mora on Chris’ excellent podcast, they put good points; Mora spoke against family members as trainers, because a father for instance won’t want to see his son suffer a beating – there are two sides to that thought.
They also said that Porter didn’t seem to be hurt, it was a world title chance and it was close.
There were only 2 rounds to get through and yet Crawford seemed to have glided into another gear and Porter was still doing the work he had been trying all evening.
His father later said his son didn’t prepare how he wanted him to – what? This is a world title fight and Shawn Porter has always been prepared to fight.
I think it was the correct decision, but one that will be replayed over and over again, in light of what happened with Porter just after.
Porter announced his retirement. Sky Sports reported, ‘He later revealed that, regardless of the result, he had planned to end a boxing career that yielded two reigns as world welterweight champion’ and ‘Porter later said: ‘I understand my dad. I took too many clean shots which isn’t the Porter way.’
He apparently only continued after he fought Errol Spence so he could get the crack at Crawford. Which begs the question; if he had won, would he have retired then?
What’s Next For Crawford?
Errol Spence. He was there. Crawford called him out again after. It promises to be another cracking fight. He stopped Porter, Spence couldn’t.
This fight showed Crawford as a proper fighter. To some, me included, he was already that. Surely no one is saying he hasn’t fought the best contender now. DAZN asked ‘Would he deliver under the brightest of lights?’ He did. Definitively.