By Mark Elezaj
LAS VEGAS — Are you not entertained?
Any questions that you may have had about Terence Crawford should have been answered Saturday night. The only complaint on him was that he lacked that signature victory over a true competitor and not only did he pick up a very big victory, he became the first fighter to stop Shawn Porter, recording a 10th-round TKO to retain his WBO welterweight championship at the Michelob ULTRA Arena.
At the time of the stoppage, Crawford was up on all three of the judges scorecards: 86-85, 86-85 and 87-84.
The Fighting Voice had it 86-85 for Crawford.
From the opening bell, Porter routinely barreled inside, keeping Crawford off balance.
Crawford, however, began to counter Porter, eventually wearing down the former champion.
In the second round, Crawford switched to southpaw and began to push the action. A right hand landed and rocked Porter, followed by a short right hook just before the bell sounded.
In the third round, both men began to brawl, exchanging punches that left Porter with a cut over his right eye.
Round four, Crawford caught Porter with a solid left to the body. porter took it well and responded with a right hand that sent Crawford into the ropes.
Porter came up aggressive and took the fight to the inside early in the fifth round. Porter continued to throw punches from all angles and landed a flurry that forced Crawford to hold on to the challenger.
In the sixth round, an accidental headbutt hurt Crawford, which led to a brief stoppage in the action.
In round seven, Porter continued to apply the pressure while Crawford gave Porter different looks and feints, looking to counter the action.
Round eight, Porter caught Crawford with an overhand right with just under a minute to go. Crawford responded with a right-left combination that stopped Porter from moving forward. Crawford landed another right hook as the round came to an end.
Round nine, A huge left hook by Porter landed with just over two minutes to go in the ninth round. Porter then landed a right hand, only to have Crawford return fire with two hard left hands that stopped any momentum Porter may have had.
Round ten, Crawford dropped Porter with a left uppercut in the center of the ring. Porter was able to beat the count. Crawford jumped on his injured opponent, dropping him again with a four-punch combination.
Although Porter, who struggled to get up, was able to beat the count, his father and trainer Kenny Porter stepped up onto the ring and signaled to the referee to stop the fight, which he did at 1 minute and 21 seconds.
With this victory, Crawford (38-0, 29 knockouts), got his ninth stoppage in a row, moving to 16-0 with 13 knockouts in world title fights in the lightweight, junior welterweight and welterweight divisions.
“I love him. Shawn Porter is a real good friend of mine,” Crawford said. “I didn’t really want to fight him. We always said we would fight each other when the time was right and I guess the time was right for this fight to happen. I tried to fight the other champions in the division and that didn’t happen, so I went to the next best thing. Shawn Porter, I can’t say nothing bad about him.”
“I figured that I had the reach and he had to take chances,” Crawford said. “He did what he normally does. He tried to maul and push me back but I used my angles and I pushed him back at times as well. Shawn Porter is a slick fighter he was doing some things in there and made me think.”
“I caught him with a good uppercut and then when I caught him with another left hook clean in his face, I saw that he was real hurt and his dad did the right thing by stopping it because I was coming with a vengeance,” Crawford said.
“He’s doing what he know he needs to do. My timing was off and he wouldn’t allow me to get my rhythm,” Porter said. “He’s the best out of everybody I have been in the ring with. He was on point A to Z and he was that good that I would want to do it again. He’s got it, inside and outside the ring.”
After finding out that his Rival Errol Spence was in the crowd, he responded:
“Spence was at my fight? No, that boy said he was never gonna be at my fights but now he’s at my fights. You see what I did compared to what he did,” Crawford said, comparing his knockout of Porter to Spence’s split decision win over him in September 2019. “Now wait, my thing is – who’s No. 1 in the welterweight division now? You know who I want. I’ve been calling him out all day – maybe Spence will get his tail out of his butt and fight me.
“I look at all of us – we are all great and we are all talented. We all have different styles and, at the end of the day, as long as you get the victory, that’s all that matters.”
When asked about the corners stoppage , Porter responded:
“We never discussed that before. We just had a unspoken understanding that if he sees something he’s going to have to do what he did,” Porter said.
Ken Porter was critical of his sons performance.
“He didn’t prepare like I wanted him to prepare,” he said. “So that makes me say, ‘You know what? I don’t want him in that situation.’ He fought a great fighter. The guy is super-sharp and [Shawn] was at a deficit and it was like fighting him blindfolded and I wasn’t going to let that happen to [Shawn].
“Shawn was hurt. When guys get to certain levels, they believe they know what they are doing and they don’t necessarily take all of the information, so this is where we are at with it and we had to make that decision. It was an easy decision for me. He lives right across the street from me. We’ll be having breakfast in the morning. [Crawford is] a sharp fighter and my kid was at a deficit and I couldn’t let it go on.”
At the post-fight press conference, Porter, who announced his retirement spoke on the fight. “The punches he was catching me with were too clean,” said Porter. “So, I saw it and felt it, so I just think my timing was off and he wouldn’t allow me to get [into] my rhythm. That was my game plan going in. He’s a dynamite dude in and out of the ring. Congratulations. … He’s the best out of everybody I have been in the ring with.”
~ The Fighting Voice ~