It was music to Shawn Porter’s ears.
The recent news that the WBO sanctioning organization had ordered a welterweight title fight between WBO champion Terence Crawford and Porter, a former titleholder and top contender, had the boxing world buzzing with delight.
Porter, it turned out, was just as surprised and elated as the next hardcore boxing fan.
“That’s mind-blowing, right?” Porter said of the mandate on his eponymous The Porter Way Podcast.
The two fighters have until Aug. 20 to reach a deal. If they fail to do so, the fight will go to a purse bid. While an order is hardly a guarantee that the fight will actually happen, it puts pressure on two rival organizations to work together to come up with an arrangement. Crawford (37-0, 28KOs), a three-division titleholder, is promoted by Top Rank, while Porter is aligned with Premier Boxing Champions; neither entity is all that fond of working with the other, though there have been exceptions (like the forthcoming third heavyweight rematch between Top Rank-backed Tyson Fury and PBC-backed Deontay Wilder).
“I can’t say too much about the fight, but we’re happy to see the announcement,” said Porter, who is currently handling commentary duties for NBC’s coverage of boxing at the Tokyo Olympics. “We, being myself and my dad, were surprised at the announcement. We’re really just kind of in that space right now where ‘Wow, didn’t see this coming. This is a pleasant surprise.’ At this point it’s just a matter of time.
“More than anything I’m grateful to see something like that happen.”
Although Porter (31-3-1, 17KOs) has fought nearly everyone of consequence in the 147-pound division – from Keith Thurman to Danny Garcia to Errol Spence Jr. – he seemed to indicate that a match with Crawford would represent not only the most significant fight of his career from a matchmaking perspective, but also from a commercial standpoint. Certainly for Crawford, who has long been lampooned for his dismal resume at 147, Porter would represent much the same.
“My aspirations of being a professional came when I saw [Mavin] Hagler versus [Tommy] Hearns,” said Porter. “It wasn’t just the fight that happened. I saw a lot of people in the back, in the video that I was watching and I just thought to myself ‘I want that, someday.’ I want to be able to fight in front of so many people and have everybody on their feet, one day. That’s kind of how my dreams of being a professional fighter started.
“So I think, fast forward, this situation right here will bring everything all in. I don’t think I can get a bigger crowd than this, I don’t think the world can get any more excited than what I’m doing in boxing more than they are about this. I think the news is awesome when I heard it. Getting everybody talking right now, everybody’s excited about me and Terence and the fight, and the WBO and all that. That’s exactly where I want to be in boxing right now.
“I don’t think the sport of boxing is dying. Moments like this keep it more than alive.”