LAS VEGAS – Terence Crawford couldn’t help but completely respect Canelo Alvarez’s accomplishments over the past 11 months.

Crawford knows as well as any world champion how difficult it can become to unify titles when boxers are aligned with competing promoters and television networks or streaming services. To watch from afar as Alvarez fully unified four super middleweight titles in less than a year has motivated Crawford to push harder to become boxing’s only welterweight champion.

If the favored Crawford defeats Shawn Porter on Saturday night, the unbeaten WBO 147-pound champion could pursue title unification fights with either IBF/WBC champ Errol Spence Jr. or WBA champ Yordenis Ugas in 2022. The 34-year-old Crawford will become a promotional free agent after opposing Porter, which might make matters easier in terms of putting together bouts with Spence, the opponent he has long wanted to fight most, or Ugas.

“Well, you know, Canelo, he motivated me in one aspect. … He did what he wanted to do in that division,” Crawford said before a press conference Wednesday at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. “You know, he wanted to become undisputed and he made sure that he became undisputed, you know, within a year. So, that’s impressive to me. You know, that’s motivation to me to, you know, go out there and get these big fights that everybody been wanting to see. And hopefully, you know, down the road I can do the same thing and become undisputed in the welterweight division.”

Crawford has been promoted for most of his career by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. Porter, Spence and Ugas are aligned with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.

Before Crawford-Porter became a reality, their affiliations with Arum and Haymon were perceived as an obvious obstacle in the way of Crawford-Spence materializing. The difference, of course, is that the WBO appointed Porter as Crawford’s mandatory challenger, which initiated negotiations between their representatives to make this 12-round fight for Crawford’s championship.

The 31-year-old Spence (27-0, 21 KOs), of DeSoto, Texas, is recovering from surgery in mid-August to repair a damaged retina. He is not expected to fight Crawford next.

The 35-year-old Ugas (27-4, 12 KOs) has been ordered by the WBA to make a mandatory defense of the Cuban boxer’s belt against Lithuania’s Eimantas Stanionis (13-0, 9 KOs, 1 NC).

Mexico’s Alvarez, meanwhile, has indicated that he’ll move up two divisions, from super middleweight to cruiserweight, to battle WBC champion Illunga Makabu in his next fight, which would grant Alvarez an opportunity to become a champion in a fifth weight class. Makabu (28-2, 25 KOs), a powerful southpaw from South Africa, and Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) met face to face at the WBC convention this week in Mexico City and expressed interest in scheduling their fight for early in May.

Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs), a three-division champion from Omaha, Nebraska, will make the fifth defense of his WBO 147-pound crown against Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs), a former IBF and WBC welterweight champion from Akron, Ohio.

Their showdown will headline a four-fight pay-per-view event available exclusively through ESPN+ (9 p.m. ET; 6 p.m. PT). Crawford-Porter costs $69.99 in the United States, but purchasing it also requires at least a one-month subscription to ESPN+ ($6.99).

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.