The most anticipated purse bid hearing of the summer has been met with a welcomed delay.
Representatives for Terence Crawford and Shawn Porter have successfully lobbied for an extension regarding current talks for their ordered WBO welterweight title fight. A purse bid hearing originally reserved for noontime Thursday at WBO headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico was since postponed.
“The purse bid for the mandatory bout between WBO Welterweight Champion Terence Crawford and challenger Shawn Porter has been moved to September 14th, following a request from the promoters of both fighters, Top Rank (Crawford) and Tom Brown’s TGB Promotions (Porter),” the WBO altered Wednesday afternoon. “Both companies requested additional time to continue ongoing negotiations.”
Crawford (37-0, 28KOs) is due to make the fifth defense of the WBO welterweight he claimed in a ninth-round stoppage of unbeaten Jeff Horn in June 2018. The switch-hitting pound-for-pound entrant from Omaha, Nebraska became a three-division titlist following the feat, though his career having since leveled off as his past four title defenses have come against a competition level below the division’s elite.
Crawford has not fought since a fourth-round stoppage of former IBF titlist Kell Brook last November at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
Porter (31-3-1, 17KOs) represents by far the stiffest challenge of Crawford’s welterweight reign. The former two-time welterweight titlist from Akron, Ohio—who now lives and trains in Las Vegas—continues to serve as among the division’s best, having faced nearly all of the top players at the weight including reigning IBF/WBC titlist Errol Spence (27-0, 21KOs), then-unbeaten titlist Keith Thurman (29-1, 22KOs) and former two-division titlist Danny Garcia.
More than a year-long delay will meet his next fight, with Porter having not entered the ring since a twelve-round decision over previously unbeaten Sebastian Formella last August at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
A fight was ordered between the two on July 21, with Porter named mandatory contender after Vergil Ortiz Jr. (17-0, 17KOs) was already committed to an August 14 date with former title challenger Egidijus Kavialauskas. The two sides were given thirty days to work out terms to avoid a purse bid hearing, though talks never advanced beyond the preliminary stage despite all involved parties interested in moving forward with the fight.
Still, it was always believed that the matter would be best resolved via purse bid, which the WBO planned to livestream on Thursday. The winning bid would be split 60/40 in Crawford’s favor, as opposed to the normal 80/20 split normally afforded recognized WBO “Super” champions.
The sanctioning body determined the revised split through a formula calculating and averaging the past three reported fight purses earned by each boxer. The practice is reserved for special instances befitting high profile mandatory challengers such as Porter, as well as Shakur Stevenson who was due to earn the favorable end of a 67/33 split versus defending WBO junior lightweight titlist Jamel Herring had their fight gone to a purse bid hearing.
The requested delay by Top Rank and TGB Promotions could be taken with a sign of optimism that a deal can be reached, or simply means to buy more time. Crawford fights exclusively on ESPN and its platforms through his remaining contract with Top Rank, while Porter has spent his last three fights on Fox Sports where he also works as an expert analyst. TGB Promotions primarily does business with Fox Sports and Showitme as the lead promoter for Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), whose creator Al Haymon also serves as Porter’s adviser.
It is expected that ESPN or Fox Sports will present the event via Pay-Per-View, assuming either Top Rank or TGB wins the purse bid hearing should it still reach that point. Thursday’s session was expected to attract a number of WBO-registered promoters, all of whom will have to wait another twelve days before attempting to secure the rights to the highly anticipated welterweight showdown.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox