Terence Crawford refuses to accept any argument claiming another fighter above him in the mythical pound-for-pound rankings.
Few lists still have the unbeaten, three-division champion in the top spot, many citing his relatively thin level of opposition in recent years. Crawford’s upcoming WBO welterweight title defense versus former two-time welterweight titlist Shawn Porter (31-3-1, 17KOs) is a welcomed upgrade, and one where the defending champ plans to either cement or reclaim his place among the best in the world, depending on your viewpoint.
“They will be saying that’s the reason why he is pound-for-pound the number-one fighter in the world,” Crawford insisted of what to expect, during a recent segment of Get Up! on ESPN in formally announcing the ESPN+ Pay-Per-View headliner from Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas. “I guarantee you that.”
Crawford (37-0, 28KOs) will attempt the fifth defense of the WBO welterweight title he acquired in a one-sided ninth-round knockout of Jeff Horn in June 2018. Horn is one of three unbeaten fighters (Jose Benavidez and Egidijus Kavaliauskas being the others) to have been conquered during Crawford’s welterweight title reign, along with former titlists Amir Khan and Kell Brook. Still, criticism has come of the unbeaten switch hitter from Omaha, Nebraska having yet to face the division’s elite.
That dynamic changed once Crawford and his team pushed for the WBO to order a mandatory title fight versus Porter, a former IBF and WBC welterweight titlist from Las Vegas by way of Akron, Ohio. The two sides were in talks since mid-July, with the threat of a purse bid looming overhead before a deal was reached. Porter is widely regarded among the best welterweights in the world and also credited with easily boasting the best resume in the division, where he has spent the past eleven years of his career.
“What does it mean to face Shawn right now is putting that extra stamp on being considered the best welterweight,” Crawford noted. “Shawn Porter has fought everyone in the welterweight division dating back to when he was facing the likes of Julio Diaz, Paulie Malignaggi and those types of guys.”
Porter also owns wins over Danny Garcia, Devon Alexander, Yordenis Ugas and Adrien Broner, along with competitive losses to Brook, Keith Thurman and Errol Spence—all three of whom were unbeaten at the time.
With that, the upcoming challenge is par for the course as far as Porter is concerned. Crawford has held at least one title since 2014, having reigned as lineal/WBO lightweight champion and undisputed junior welterweight champ before moving up to welterweight in 2018, never coming close to defeat at any point in his 13-plus year career.
As for Crawford, November 20 is a chance to remind the world of why has remained perfect as a pro. It comes against the type of opponent he has craved at least since arriving at welterweight and among the best heading into his sixteenth consecutive title fight.
“Shawn has been in there with everybody and I feel like now is the time for these other welterweights to step up and he is the one who stepped up,” notes Crawford.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox