A showdown with unbeaten pound-for-pound entrant Terence Crawford as a next option for Shawn Porter certainly makes sense, although the question at this point remains whether it will make dollars.
The former two-time welterweight titlist remains an integral part of the 147-pound division. It’s a place he’s long ago earned due to his willingness to take on all comers. The downside to that is—absent running back a few fights—you quickly run out of options, particularly if you are not at the top.
Still, the 32-year old boxer from Akron, Ohio—who now lives in Las Vegas—carries enough clout in the division to where a showdown with the switch-hitting Crawford (36-0, 27KOs) was an enticing proposition. It would also represent a resolution to suggested boxing political divide, as Crawford fights under the Top Rank and ESPN banner, while Porter is aligned to Fox Sports as part of adviser Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) conglomerate.
Given the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s unknown when boxing—which is slowly inching back after being shut down since mid-March—can realistically move forward with big fights. A clash between Crawford and Porter never threatened to serve as a blockbuster event, but one that would require more funding and ambiance than perhaps the sport is ready to presently offer.
“Because all of this has happened, we don’t know what big fights are going to happen,” Porter (30-3-1, 17KOS) noted during a recent interview on Impact Network’s Stars and Champions: Special Edition series. “We know ticket sales won’t be there, we don’t know how Pay-Per-View is gonna go for the networks and things like that.
“I don’t know how far we are from having that conversation and making that fight happen, or having that conversation and not allowing that fight to happen.”
Porter was forced to resume his role as welterweight contender following a heartbreaking split decision loss to Errol Spence in their thrilling title unification clash last September in Los Angeles. The defeat ended his year-long stay as a second-term welterweight titlist, while also marking his fourth bout versus consensus Top 10 welterweights.
The goal for the 32-year old boxer from Akron, Ohio—who now lives in Las Vegas—was to hopefully land a showdown versus eight-division and reigning welterweight titlist Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39KOs) for his next fight. The legendary Filipino southpaw remains the target of choice for any boxer in and around the welterweight division, a reality which has prompted Porter and his handlers to at least secure a backup plan.
Given the few first-time options under the PBC umbrella, it leads the conversation back to looking elsewhere for his next ring adventure. Crawford is still on the hunt for an opponent for his first fight of 2020, as the three-division titlist made the third defense of his welterweight strap in a 9th round knockout of previously unbeaten Egidijus Kavaliauskas last December.
Both boxers claimed at the start of such a fight being suggested that it will happen when they decide when the time is right and not at the demand of their respective handlers. Given his current take on the subject, it appears that now is not that moment.
“I just think for right now that it’s not a good time,” suggests Porter. “He’s with ESPN and I’m with Fox (Sports). I don’t know if it makes sense.
“Now, if I have a conversation with Fox or anyone else and they say ‘We can make it happen’ then I will make it happen.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox