Thursday, June 20, 2024  |


Bob Arum sees Crawford-Porter as a future classic and a throwback to the ’80s

Bob Arum says Crawford could work with Top Rank on an event-by-event basis following the Porter fight.
Fighters Network

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum has been promoting fights for 55 years and has put on many of the biggest fights in boxing history.

During the 1980s, he promoted many welterweight championship fights involving greats such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Roberto Duran and Donald Curry. In the 1990s, he promoted Oscar De La Hoya’s welterweight title fights and in the 2000s/2010s welterweight title fights involving Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.

Arum knows a thing or two about the 147-pound weight class, and said that the highly anticipated showdown between WBO welterweight titlist Terence Crawford and former two-time WBC titleholder Shawn Porter is a throwback fight to the 1980s.

“It really reminds me of the great years in the ‘80s when Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns and Roberto Duran were going at it fighting each other,” Arum said. “The welterweight division has always been a top, top division because there’s so much action that the fighters bring and Terence and Shawn remind me of that era when these great fighters went at it.

“So, I’m not surprised we sold out so quickly. I’m not surprised that there’s so much interest in this fight because I don’t have to sell anything here. Anybody who knows anything about boxing knows what a great fight and competitive fight this will be.”

Crawford, a three-division champion, who will be making his fifth welterweight title defense, will take on his best 147-pound opponent, by far, when he tangles with mandatory challenger Porter on Saturday (ESPN+ PPV, 9 p.m. ET, $69.99) at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs), 34, of Omaha, Nebraska, is widely considered among the top few pound-for-pound best fighters in the world but until now has been shut out of facing an A-level welterweight.

“I look at all the fights as a career-defining fight. This is considered one of the top welterweights in the division and this is the time for everyone to see what Terence Crawford really is about,” Crawford said. “Everybody wants to know how Terence Crawford is going to fare against the other top welterweights in the division, so everybody’s got their eyes on Terence Crawford. They want to see how well I adapt, can I finish Shawn Porter like Errol Spence couldn’t. Am I gonna fight tooth and nail with Shawn Porter like Errol Spence? So everybody has all these questions and they are gonna be answered.”

Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs), 34, of Las Vegas, may not get love on any set of pound-for-pound rankings, but he is a tremendously respected fighter in all corners of the sport and has a deep resume that includes fights with most of this era’s best 147-pounders, including wins over Yordenis Ugas and Danny Garcia in world title bouts and razor-close decision losses to Errol Spence Jr. in a title unification fight and Keith Thurman in a world title challenge.

Arum said that if Crawford wins, and he is the favorite, it will be significant to his legacy.

“The welterweight division has always been a division populated by great fighters,” Arum said. “There was Leonard, Hearns, Duran. Donald Curry was a great welterweight in his time. There’s been so many. Oscar, (Felix) Trinidad. Terence would have been competitive with all of them, he really would. He’s a tremendous boxer-puncher. He has the skills set that they all had.

“But it is what it is because you cannot pick the era you’re fighting in. You’re born at a certain time, you start fighting professionally at a certain time. But for this era, clearly, Terence Crawford in my mind is heads and shoulders above any other fighter in his division, (and the divisions) below or maybe also above.”

Porter knows how big of a fight this is for his own legacy.

“I’m sure I’m on the brink of getting into the Hall of Fame. For me, it’s not only win or go home. It’s win, or nothing else,” Porter said. “My life right now it’s all about beating and dominating Crawford. My legacy will depend on beating Terence Crawford.”

Crawford believes he already is the No. 1 welterweight in the world, even if Spence, with wins over Porter, Garcia, Mikey Garcia, Lamont Peterson and a fresher version of the Kell Brook that Crawford stopped in four rounds in a title defense last November, would disagree.

“I’m the No. 1 welterweight because I came from 135 (pounds) to 140 and then to 147 and in my first fight, with no tune-ups I defeated Jeff Horn, who beat the man, which was Pacquiao,” Crawford said of his one-sided ninth-round knockout of Horn in which he took the WBO belt Horn had won from Pacquiao by controversial decision two fights earlier. “Pacquiao was the man in the division. Jeff Horn beat the man and I beat Jeff Horn in tremendous fashion, so that’s why I consider myself the man in the division.

“It’s kind like Tyson Fury having the Ring belt and then having the other belts. He beat the man, who was the man, and that was (Wladimir) Klitschko. Once he beat him all the other titles really didn’t matter because he was king of the heavyweight division. So if I beat the king it means I wear the crown.”