Saturday, March 25, 2023  |



The WBO mandates Terence Crawford to make a title defense against Shawn Porter

Terence Crawford won Ring titles at lightweight and junior welterweight (where he was undisputed champ) before invading the welterweight division.

An appealing clash between welterweight titleholder Terence Crawford and mandatory challenger Shawn Porter has been ordered by the WBO it was announced Wednesday evening.

It may not be the coveted clash between Crawford (37-0, 28 knockouts) and unified titleholder Errol Spence, Jr. that boxing fans have clamored for, but a potential bout between Crawford and Porter did generate buzz amongst boxing fans on social media after the announcement was made by the WBO. Crawford-Porter would also be a clash between two fighters ranked in The Ring’s top 10 welterweights. Crawford and Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs) are ranked No. 2 and 5, respectively.

In an email sent to Top Rank, which promotes Crawford, and to TGB Promotions, which is aligned with Premier Boxing Champions that promotes Porter, both parties will have 30 days to negotiate the fight. If no deal is reached, a purse bid will be ordered for the rights to the fight. The minimum purse bid is $200,000.

The surprise announcement by the WBO would put pressure on both Top Rank and Premier Boxing Champions to do business for a potential fight between Crawford and Porter, which has been rare over the last several years. The exception has been the two previous fights between Ring Magazine heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder. Their third fight, which would have taken place this Saturday, was postponed to October 9 after Fury tested positive for COVID-19.

Another obstacle throughout the years between Top Rank and PBC has been the media platforms in which both entities are aligned. Top Rank has an exclusive deal that airs its cards on ESPN, while PBC fights air on FOX and Showtime. Most of the other top welterweights in boxing, including Spence, Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, and Danny Garcia, also fight under the PBC banner.

According to an interview with The Athletic’s Lance Pugmire, promoter Bob Arum stated Crawford was penciled to make a defense of the WBO title on October 23. One possible opponent rumored in the running for the Crawford defense was junior welterweight contender Jose Zepeda, but ESPN’s Mike Coppinger stated Wednesday night contender David Avanesyan was also offered a fight.

A resident of Omaha, Nebraska, Crawford has one fight left on a lucrative deal with Top Rank. In his last bout on November 14, the 33-year-old successfully defended the WBO title by stopping Kell Brook in round 4. The victory over Brook, which was his eighth-consecutive knockout win, marked Crawford’s fourth successful defense of the WBO title he won by stopping Jeff Horn in June 2018.

Porter would be a significant step-up in opposition for Crawford. He lost the WBC title to Spence in September 2019 by split-decision in an action fight, but bounced back to defeat Germany’s Sebastian Formella in his last bout on August 22.

The 33-year-old, who is originally from Akron, Ohio, and now lives and trains in Las Vegas, has faced top-level competition over the last several years, including victories over Garcia, Andre Berto and Yordenis Ugas. Porter’s other two losses have come at the hands of Brook in 2014 and Thurman in 2016.

Spence and Pacquiao will square off on August 21 with the WBC and IBF titles on the line. Fans would likely push for the winner of that fight to face the winner of the Crawford and Porter clash next year.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing


Latest Issue Cover