On Saturday, November 20, 2021, Las Vegas played host to a Welterweight title bout with huge implications between long-reigning champion and pound-for-pound mainstay, Terence “Bud” Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) and perennial title challenger and former champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter (31-4-1, 17 KOs) in a contest evocative of Welterweight clashes of old, pitting the best against the best.
Stylistically, the fight had everything a fan could wish for in the form of two offensive minded fighters who are known for their dazzling, gutsy, and oftentimes gritty performances. In addition to the old school style of fighting, the two champions carry themselves with a quiet confidence and dignity, rarely succumbing to the braggadocious stylings of many of boxing’s top stars of today.
However, while the action during press week was dull, the leadup to the fight was still filled with intrigue and excitement due to the caliber of fight the public expected.
Behind the obvious anticipation for the bout itself, stood a curiosity of how Crawford, a man many believe to be a top pound-for-pound fighter, would fare against a true Welterweight elite in his prime. Yes, as a top fighter many believe Crawford to be among the best in the division prior to the bout with Porter, but much of the credit he has received can be attributed to his performances in lighter divisions, having notably unifying Junior Welterweight to become undisputed prior to claiming a title at welterweight.
Showtime, on the other hand, has shared the ring with nearly every top welterweight opponent the division has had to offer over the last ten years, due in large part to the simple fact that he is signed to Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) who holds contracts of most of the division’s best. Porter owns victories over Yordenis Ugas, Danny Garcia and Adrien Broner, as well as competitive losses against Keith Thurman and Errol Spence.
Crawford, mindful of this, viewed the Porter bout as an opportunity to prove his supremacy in the division. And, in what was clearly more than simply a “measuring stick” fight, Crawford wanted to make sure that he did in fact measure up to the divisions elite, mentioning his intent to finish Porter heading into Saturday.
“I’m going to be the first one to stop [Shawn Porter],” said the pride of Omaha, Nebraska.
As the first round opened, Porter looked hellbent on proving to Crawford he wasn’t there as a pushover. He rushed the champ early and kept the pressure on him for the entirety of the round. Crawford remained calculated, however, and was able to neutralize most of Porters offense.
In the second round, following fighting orthodox in the first, Crawford came out in the southpaw stance. Early in the round, “Bud” seemed to buzz Porter with a short right hand. Porter returned the favor with a right hand, knocking Crawford off balance. The remainder of the round saw both fighters fighting at a frenzied rate, with Crawford scoring a few powerful counter shots as Porter fought his way to the inside.
Following a stalemate which saw Porter in the corner, the challenger enetered the center of the ring following some explosive footwork and landed a thunderous shot which stunned the champion momentarily.
Crawford answered the next round with an even added intensity and focus, controlling the action for the majority of it.
Yet again, in the very next round Porter answered with improved offense, again landed scattered big shots on Bud. The action continued to ebb and flow, with each fighter having their moments in the early and middle rounds. At the frenzied pace, it seemed apparent that the fight wouldn’t go the full twelve.
Through six, social media and press row were all unclear on who was leading with cards ranging from 58-56 Crawford to 58-56 Porter. At the midpoint, it was clear the path to victory wouldn’t be easy for either man.
The eight and ninth rounds found Crawford doing some of his best work. Even so, Porter had moments of success in an exceedingly close contest with a number of close rounds.
Suddenly, as the 10th round began, Crawford delivered a crippling counter left hand that sent Porter to the canvas. Crawford, sensing the finish was near, went in for the kill, sending Porter to the canvas yet again with a looping right hook.
Porter’s corner, hoping to see no more damage, threw in the towel signalling an end to a thrilling and back and forth bout. In that, Porter suffered his first career stoppage loss, as promised by the champion.
In the loss, Porter proves yet again that among all of the welterweights, he may have the biggest heart in his willingness to always take on the best of the best.
In the victory, Terrence Crawford cements his place atop the welterweight division (at least alongside Errol Spence) by defeating Porter in a way that had never been seen. Hopefully, Spence and Crawford will settle the conversation of the best Welterweight in the ring soon.