The only prediction Terence Crawford is willing to make is that he will eventually turn away the challenge of Shawn Porter.
What transpires prior to the conclusion of their upcoming WBO welterweight title fight is something that the defending champ will have to see for himself and adapt from there. What Crawford (37-0, 28KOs) does expect of their November 20 ESPN+ Pay-Per-View headliner at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas is for Porter to do his part to make things as uncomfortable as possible for as long as he is able to get away with it.
“He makes fights ugly. That’s what he do best,” Crawford noted during a live on-air interview with ESPN’s Mark Kriegel. “He got a skill of winning by any means necessary. If he gotta go in there and stink it up just to get the victory, he gonna go in there and stink it up to get the victory.
“That’s someone you gotta worry about. He’s someone that’s gonna do everything in his possible will to win the fight.”
Crawford has figured out a way to conquer every opponent he’s faced through three weight divisions, emerging as a three-division titlist along the way. Lineal championships at lightweight and junior welterweight saw the Omaha, Nebraska native establish himself as one of the sport’s top talents, further exhibited at welterweight though versus lesser competition.
That changes with Porter (31-3-1, 17KOs), a former two-time welterweight titlist whose stellar resume is a clear indication of his never shying away from a challenge. The Las Vegas-based Ohio native has faced eleven former or current titlists, boasting a 7-3-1 record in such fights. All three career defeats have come versus unbeaten opposition at the time—Kell Brook, Keith Thurman and Errol Spence—while also proving his mettle in title wins over Devon Alexander and Danny Garcia along with successful title defenses versus Paul Malignaggi and Yordenis Ugas.
The only common thread in those fights is that they all came versus top-rated opposition. Porter has adapted to every different style and has won and lost accordingly, rarely offering the same performance from fight to fight.
“We’re gonna have to see come fight time,” Crawford notes, admitting to expecting the unexpected. “It’s different. Me as a fighter, a lot of people on the outside can see something different. ‘Oh, I see this and I see that.’ ‘I can exploit this kind of defense and do this with Terence Crawford.’ Then when they get in the ring with me, I’m totally different. So seeing something and being in the ring, is two totally different things.
“Like I said, Shawn Porter can box, he can brawl. He can mix it up. We’re just gonna prepare for whatever Shawn Porter brings to the table November 20th.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox