Saturday’s WBO title fight between Bud and Showtime is a crossroads for not just one of boxing’s glamour divisions, but the landscape of the sport overall.
Terence Crawford is tired of hearing it. He hasn’t fought anyone at 147. He’s on the wrong side of the tracks. He hasn’t faced the same competition as so-and-so, what’s-his-face, and who’s-his-name.
With such a discomforting chorus inevitably singing such a refrain every time another fight week rolls around for the WBO welterweight champion, we can’t be altogether surprised that the man the folks back home in Omaha affectionately call Bud might not be the bubbliest man on earth when cameras and microphones are shoved in his face. The burden that’s been foisted on him by fans and press alike isn’t exactly a picnic.
And that stands in direct contrast with Saturday night’s opponent, “Showtime” Shawn Porter, who’s a prolific presence on boxing broadcasts and pay-per-views as a commentator in between his own welterweight main events. In fact, he’s such a social butterfly that he crossed over to Crawford’s side of the tracks to fight on a Top Rank fight card despite his status as a fighter with rival promotion PBC.
Porter is a former two-time welterweight belt-holder with a recent penchant for fearlessly taking the fight to championship-level opponents but falling just short on the scorecards. Against Bud, he has an intriguing chance not just to win a third title at 147 pounds, but hand the champ his first-ever defeat as a professional.
Those are pretty appetizing stakes for a pay-per-view bout, to say nothing of the fact that it’s the last fight on Crawford’s contract with Top Rank, opening the door to some fascinating questions about the business side of the Sweet Science that extend far outside the ring.
Let’s glove up.
Porter vs. Crawford by the Numbers
Career record: 37-0
Titles: WBO welterweight champion; former WBO lightweight and undisputed junior welterweight champ
Reach: 74 in.
Hometown: Omaha, Nebraska
Last fight: Def. Kell Brook by TKO, Nov. 14, 2020
Career record: 31-3-1
Titles: Former IBF and WBC welterweight champion
Reach: 69.5 in.
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Last fight: Def. Sebastian Formella by unanimous decision, Aug. 22, 2020
Q&A with Top Rank President Todd duBoef
Top Rank Boxing has been an institution for more than five decades, all the way back to the days of Muhammad Ali. And while Bob Arum remains the face of the enterprise as its iconic, inimitable founder, president Todd duBoef — who happens to be Arum’s stepson — wields incredible influence over the trajectory of the business.
To set the stage for Saturday’s fight, Boardroom spoke with duBoef about his outlook on the main event and what fans should look out for.
SAM DUNN: Who has the edge heading into Saturday night?
TODD duBOEF: The line has Crawford as a big favorite, but I think that is out of whack. I think Bud has a slight advantage, but think it’s an interesting fight stylistically. I can see both guys having problems with the other.
SD: The 154-pound division has really leveled up in the last couple of years. Do you see opportunities for Bud or Shawn up there?
TD: From Crawford’s perspective, he’s coming from 135 and I’m not sure how much bigger he gets than 147. For the right fight anything is possible, but I think the welterweights are way more interesting.
SD: Is the winner on a collision course with Errol Spence Jr., or are there other roads ahead that fans should keep an eye on?
TD: There’s a lot of guys coming to 140 – including Josh Taylor and Teofimo Lopez. I think Errol’s injury and doubt of where he’s going to be at keeps you on edge. He’s had some unfortunate physical issues.
SD: What’s the current pecking order at welterweight as you see it?
TD: I think you put Crawford, Spence, and Porter as the top three in some variation.
SD: Porter does a lot of TV work, so his public persona is naturally different from Crawford’s. How do you define the essence of Bud’s personal brand?
TD: Bud is authentic to being Bud. People may think he’s quiet when he does interviews, but what makes him an exceptional person in the sport is he’s an incredible talent. He’s one of the best finishers in the last decade. Bud is incredible and there’s nothing stopping him when he closes in on you.
Porter vs. Crawford Fight Odds & PPV Info
The odds-on favorite among method of victory prop bets is Crawford by points or decision, which checks in at -110. Crawford by KO or TKO is +165. Porter’s method of victory props check in at +900 by points/decision and +1000 by KO/TKO.
The odds for a draw currently stand at +2000.
Crawford vs. Porter is available in the US on ESPN+ pay-per-view for a price of $69.99. (ESPN+ subscription required.)
UK viewers can watch the fight on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Arena.
Crawford vs. Porter Fight Card
WBO welterweight title (147 pounds): Terence Crawford (c) vs. Shawn Porter
Middleweight (168 pounds): Esquiva Falcao vs. Patrice Volny
Middleweight: Janibek Alimkhanuly vs. Hassan N’Dam
Lightweight (135 pounds): Raymond Muratalla vs. Steven Ortiz
Featherweight (126 pounds): Isaac Dogboe vs. Christopher Diaz
Featherweight: Adam Lopez vs. Adan Ochoa