HomeMMAThe clinical, brilliant Terence Crawford

The clinical, brilliant Terence Crawford

Terence Crawford has shown the boxing world what a tremendous talent he is, and he owes it to Shawn Porter. Jack Hirsch watched from the ring

OFFICIAL Terence Crawford was up in round 10 of his match with Shawn Porter at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. He led the scorecards of judges Dave Moretti and Steve Weisfeld 86-85 and Max DeLuca 87-84, but could not be satisfied.

Crawford had waited too long for a fight on this scale to just get away with it. His performance against Porter would be compared to that of the other elite world champion weights his opponent had fought, particularly Errol Spence Jnr, who sat at the ring.

Crawford needed a dominant performance that not only separated him from the rest of the welterweight division but also left him head to head with Canelo Álvarez when the pound-for-pound lists were debated. Unlike Canelo, who has no shortage of opponents because it is the sport’s greatest draw, Crawford had fought mightily for a high-profile fight, just as Marvelous Marvin Hagler did for many years.

In the end, the nine rounds were replaced by a sensational session in which Porter went down twice in front of his father and the second, Kenny Porter, threw in the towel. It was the first time in Porter’s famous career that he was stopped. He then recognized Crawford as the best opponent he had ever fought. Not a small compliment to go through Porter’s notes.

Porter, 34, announced his retirement afterwards. The boxing world was supposed to celebrate everything he had given it, but this was Crawford’s night he had patiently waited for years. Crawford’s career is no longer about winning all the belts, he’s already done that while being super light or even holding onto the WBO welterweight belt that was at stake here. It was about finally turning the corner to mainstream status and getting his name mentioned by all sports fans, not just boxers. Crawford may not be quite there yet but he has crossed midfield and is unlikely to return.

Also contributing to Crawford’s appeal is the fact that he will soon be a free agent and has given no indication of whether he will continue with Top Rank, which has promoted him all his career. Undoubtedly the other big promoters will be bidding heavily on his services and propose a mega-fight at the end of the rainbow. At 34, Crawford has certainly waited long enough for the boxing community to flatter him forwards as he deserves.

Now the pressure is exerted on Spence to face “Bud” in a competition for supremacy in the welterweight division. Spence has long circumvented this fight by discarding unacceptable financial parameters. Those days are over. Who is the better fighter would be conclusively answered in the ring, but what is evident now is that Crawford is the bigger draw, unable to dictate the terms to Spence like he tried before.
The anticipated action fight instead turned out to be a fast-paced tactical battle. There were moments, like in lap two, when it was beat after beat, but the exchange didn’t last long. Still, it was entertaining. Despite the proximity of most of the rounds, the judges agreed on all but one, a refreshing display of uniformity.

Porter would corner Crawford and pester him a little, but he didn’t have the strength to do more than get him out of his comfort zone. Crawford would move away, back up, and try to time Porter with big punches.

The mind games started in the third round when Crawford started speaking to Porter, who looked like he had fallen onto the body from a left hook, but referee Celestino Ruiz decided it was a slip.

It was Porter who led 48-47 through five on all cards before Crawford gently turned things in his favor. Hard blows to the body slowed Porter down in the sixth. And although southpaw Crawford’s right eye was cut from a headbutt, he was the more active of the two, Porter fighting more in spurts.

Crawford switched things on the seventh, poking and moving, giving Porter a different look that was difficult to get used to, but Porter might have it in the eighth, the only round of the match where the judges were divided obsolete.

The ninth was a turning point, although it wasn’t obvious at the time. Crawford’s chopping right hands and quick left hooks quietly found a home on Porter’s chin. Although Shawn took the blows well, the sheer force of the blows set the stage for the drama of the following round.

Almost 15 seconds after the 10th, a left uppercut dropped Porter. He got up quickly and didn’t look like he was in any imminent danger, but Crawford, a vicious man when he got blood in his nose, threw himself. Porter held his position and retaliated briefly, but Crawford was undeniable. A volley of blows, crowned by a hacking right hand, dropped Porter, who was pounding the canvas with his gloves on, strangely frustrated. He got to his feet and looked dismayed when the towel flew in. Ruiz called, it took 1-21 of the round.

If this is indeed the end for Porter, he’ll leave the sport with his head held high.

For a while it had looked like Crawford’s best years were being wasted. Now the thought is that maybe they have just started.

The undercard was below average. The main support is the middleweight match between Brazil’s Esquiva Falcão and Montreal’s Patrice Volny. It ended unsatisfactorily when Falcão stalled after a good start before being hit by a headbutt under on the sixth round of the scheduled twelve. As a result, the paramedics pulled him out and they went to the scorecards where he won a split technical decision with margins of 58-56, 57-56, and 56-58.

The judgment Crawford shows his class in a terrific match and Porter shows, as always, his ability to take the elite to new levels of success.


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