Crawford nixes Shawn Porter...for now
By Robert Ecksel on December 27, 2019
“Showtime” Shawn Porter has the annoying habit of making everyone he fights look bad.
Fresh off his recent demolition of Egidijus Kavaliauskas on December 14 at Madison Square Garden, the game of “Who’s next?” for Terence “Bud” Crawford, the 33-year-old generational talent who has yet to fight an elite welterweight, has begun again. Everyone qualified to fight the WBO 147-pound champion, namely another titleholder at the same weight, is aligned with Al Haymon/Premier Boxing Champions and its many broadcast affiliates. Crawford, having signed with Bob Arum/Top Rank/ESPN, where he is sitting pretty, is the unenviable position of being the odd man out when it comes to legacy fights.
In conversation with DAZN, Crawford was asked about the possibility of fighting former WBC welterweight champion “Showtime” Shawn Porter (30-3-1, 17 KOs), the whirlwind from Las Vegas by way of Akron, Ohio, who, in addition to being one tough out, is by all appearances a loyal PBC signee.
Crawford nipped it in the bud.
“That’s not a fight that I’m focused on right now or even worried about,” Crawford said. “I’m focused on other things right now. If we had to fight and if it made sense, then that would be a fight that we would both agree upon. But right now, I feel like that’s not something we should discuss right now, because there’s nothing on the table for me.”
If there’s “nothing on the table,” there’s nothing to talk about. That’s business 101. Show me the money. Then we’ll talk.
If Crawford wanted to fight Porter, presumably he could make it happen, assuming he hasn’t relinquished control of his career. But Porter is, among other things, a tough nut to crack with the annoying habit of making everyone he fights look bad. He’s too unconventional, too explosive, too unpredictable for a single game plan to counter. What he does isn’t boxing by the book, but whatever it is, it works for him, and Shawn Porter reaps glory in its wake.
Crawford has been accused of ducking tough fights. He could care less what other people think. But by offhandedly rejecting Porter, it looks like he might be ducking another.
The fight between Terence Crawford and Errol Spence Jr. is the fight everyone wants to see. But Spence’s future is uncertain, despite having survived a high speed rollover in his Ferrari while drunk in Dallas, despite assurances that he will return soon, without a tune-up fight or any ill effects from having being thrown from his sports car.
If Crawford were to beat Porter, it would be a nice table setting for the feast to follow. But that’s one too many ifs for some tastes. Politics is one thing that stands in Crawford’s way. The enmity between power brokers is biblical in its ferocity. The other problem is money; there’s never seems to be enough to go around.
The list of Crawford’s victims isn’t the most distinguished. There are champions and former champs among them, but the more recognizable were past their prime or fighting above their natural weight. Most of the talent at welterweight, the challengers Crawford needs to his boost his profile, is on the other side of the street. But it feels like a world away.
“It would be a shame if we didn’t get a chance to see Crawford show his true greatness against the greatest fighters,” Teddy Atlas said. “That would be a shame. It would be, and right now it’s not going to happen, because he’s on the wrong side of the street. He's not on the other side of the street with the promoter that has those fighters. So something has to give. The first thing that has to give is it need to be a financially big enough fight for both sides to come together to start talking about it, and to figure it out.”
PBC holds all the cards. It’s chock full of talent at 147, with serious players like Porter and Spence, as well as marquee attractions Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, and Danny Garcia, all seemingly content to fight each other. There are no guarantees that Terence Crawford will ever fight, let alone ever defeat, any or all of the above fighters, and while his legacy appears to have ground to a halt, time marches on.