A purse bid apparently will be required if Terence Crawford and Shawn Porter are to meet next in what, at least on paper, would be Crawford’s toughest welterweight fight.
BoxingScene.com has learned that infrequent discussions over the past 3½ weeks between representatives for Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (Porter) and Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. (Crawford) haven’t produced much movement toward an agreement required to avoid a purse bid for their welterweight title fight. Barring an unforeseen change, neither side anticipates striking a deal before Friday’s deadline established by the WBO.
If Crawford and Porter cannot come to an agreement by then, the WBO will order a purse bid. BoxingScene.com has been informed Top Rank and one of the promoters that operates on behalf of Haymon’s PBC would bid on what would be a pay-per-view bout between Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs), the WBO 147-pound champion, and Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs), the WBO’s number two contender for Crawford’s championship.
Emerging knockout artist Vergil Ortiz Jr. (18-0, 18 KOs) is the WBO’s number one contender in the welterweight division, but the Puerto Rico-based sanctioning organization ordered Crawford-Porter on July 21. Handlers for the 33-year-old fighters were afforded a 30-day window within which they could willingly finalize a deal without needing a purse bid.
If PBC and Top Rank were to work together on Crawford-Porter, it’d require a joint pay-per-view venture between FOX Sports (Porter) and ESPN (Crawford) similar to the upcoming third heavyweight title bout between WBC champ Tyson Fury (ESPN) and Deontay Wilder (FOX).
If PBC were to win this probable purse bid, Crawford-Porter would headline a FOX Sports Pay-Per-View show. If Top Rank submitted the winning bid, Crawford-Porter would be the main event of an ESPN Pay-Per-View event.
In its announcement of the Crawford-Porter order, the WBO revealed that they must adhere to a 60-40 purse split, rather than the usual 80-20 split for mandated matches, based on an extensive evaluation of the three previous purses earned by both boxers.
Crawford would have to move forward according to the terms of the winning bid, or he would be stripped of the WBO belt he won by stopping Australia’s Jeff Horn in June 2018 in Las Vegas. The Omaha, Nebraska, native has one fight remaining on the contract extension that the three-division champion signed with Top Rank in the summer of 2018.
Porter, however, could walk away from the bid if he were persuaded by Haymon to accept another fight – perhaps a rematch with former WBA/WBC welterweight champ Keith Thurman. Their first fight, which Thurman narrowly won by unanimous decision in June 2016 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, was one of the most fan-friendly fights of that year.
Crawford and Porter will end long layoffs whenever they return to the ring.
Crawford hasn’t boxed since he stopped England’s Kell Brook (39-3, 27 KOs) in the fourth round November 14 at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas. Porter, a former IBF and WBC champ from Akron, Ohio, last competed almost a year ago, when he out-boxed Germany’s Sebastian Formella (22-2, 10 KOs) en route to winning a 12-round unanimous decision last August 22 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.