Terence “Bud” Crawford and “Showtime” Shawn Porter are just about set for Saturday night’s ESPN+ pay-per-view main event, with Crawford defending his WBO welterweight title and also his pound-for-pound list status against the dangerous, rugged former titlist, who promises to be Terence’s toughest test to date.
Will Crawford (37-0, 28 KO) stay unbeaten and retain his belt? Will Porter (31-3-1, 17 KO) be more than Crawford bargained for and take the strap? And how will the fight play out?
We’ve got our picks in.
Who wins Crawford vs Porter?
Scott Christ (56-19)
I really respect Shawn Porter, think he’s had a terrific career that fans of this era will remember fondly, and Saturday night will be another piece of that. I expect this to be an engaging, interesting, enjoyable fight to watch. And I think Terence Crawford is going to prove that he’s absolutely a top welterweight and pound-for-pound fighter.
As much as I like Porter, I don’t think his style will be the one to beat “Bud,” who is a terrific boxer-puncher with elite tier skills and a nastiness that past top-level Porter opponents like Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, and even Errol Spence Jr don’t have. Porter, as he says, lives in disrupting the rhythm of his opponents, and I think he’ll probably have a bit of success with that early here, but I expect Crawford to adjust and just have more in the tool box than Porter can fully cover and handle.
Porter’s a really good fighter. I think Crawford’s a special one, and I think he conclusively shows that in this fight. I do not think he’ll stop Shawn; I don’t think anyone’s going to stop Shawn unless he hangs around the game too long chasing money. But it will be a clear win for Terence. Crawford UD-12
Wil Esco (60-15)
There’s almost no way this fight won’t be a fun one. Porter is essentially never in a boring fight, and neither is Crawford, so be prepared for some hellacious exchanges. Terence Crawford has largely been viewed as the superior technical fighter in this matchup, and while that’s probably true it won’t be enough for Crawford to depend on.
One thing we know about Porter is that he always comes into a fight in superior condition, so any opponent is going to have to be physically prepared to fight 12 hard rounds at a pretty good pace. Crawford is an elite talent though, and I don’t think there’s ever been a fight that he hasn’t been game for, and because he’s shown that he can be hit early in fights I think he’s going to give Porter some chances to do damage. Porter is really going to have to be ready to capitalize in the first half because once Crawford gets comfortable in a rhythm he really turns it up a notch and I think he’ll perform better down the back half.
I don’t think Porter is going to simply attempt to recklessly swarm Crawford to unload, and it’s in those moments of boxing on the outside and mid-range where I think Crawford will have the advantages, and where he’ll be able to edge rounds. Crawford is indeed a fighter with a mean streak who’ll be looking to make an emphatic statement by knocking out Shawn Porter (especially after all the criticism over his opposition at welterweight thus far) but Porter just isn’t a fighter you stop. I’m taking Crawford on the cards. Crawford UD-12
Patrick L. Stumberg (61-14)
As Scott’s said on multiple occasions, Porter is significantly more knowledgeable about the sport than his style suggest. He simply fights in a manner that emphasizes his greatest strengths: his grit, his motor, and his deceptively sharp infighting. He’s legitimately at his best when he’s reduced the fight into something only superficially resembling boxing, daring opponents to challenge him as he barrels forward with massively unsafe leads. This approach kept him competitive against one of the division’s best in Errol Spence Jr. and has consistently vexed other top players.
It’s just not the right approach against Crawford.
The jury’s still out on whether Crawford is an overall better fighter than Spence, but he’s damn sure a meaner one. “Bud” isn’t going to be cowed by Porter’s bulldozer onslaught, and between Crawford’s adaptability and countering skills, it’s only a matter of time before he starts capitalizing on Porter’s risky entries. Even if Porter does manage to bully his way in without getting his head torn off, Crawford’s more than capable of holding his own in the phone booth and recreating Spence’s successful body attack
I get that it’s easy to mythologize Crawford after such a lengthy, dominant run; even acknowledging that his competition’s been mediocre at best since moving up to welterweight, it’s just hard to picture him facing a puzzle he can’t ultimately solve. Still, he’s got the correct skillset to hold his own in Porter’s wheelhouse and punish his myriad technical indiscretions. Crawford TKO-9