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Terence Crawford scores career-defining 10th-round stoppage against Shawn Porter

Terence Crawford defended his WBO welterweight title with a 10th-round TKO of Shawn Porter. Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images
20
Nov

LAS VEGAS – For years, three-division world champion Terence Crawford has been widely viewed as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world but he had yet to have a truly defining fight, especially since moving up to the welterweight division in 2018.

Now he has one and he won it in sensational fashion.

Crawford stopped good friend, mandatory challenger and former two-time welterweight titlist Shawn Porter in the 10th round to retain his WBO welterweight crown for the fifth time before a sold-out crowd of 11,568 on Saturday night at the Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay.

The pro-Crawford crowd was treated to a highly entertaining and competitive fight until Crawford ended matters with two knockdowns in the 10th round followed by Kenny Porter, Shawn’s father and trainer, signaling surrender from the ring apron.

“I love him. Shawn Porter is a real good friend of mine,” Crawford said. “I didn’t really want to fight him. We always said we would fight each other when the time was right and I guess the time was right for this fight to happen. I tried to fight the other champions in the division and that didn’t happen, so I went to the next best thing. Shawn Porter, I can’t say nothing bad about him.”

Crawford became the first man to stop Porter, whose previous losses had all come in very close fights to other elite 147-pounders in world title bouts, Errol Spence Jr. in a unification bout, Keith Thurman and Kell Brook.

Crawford (38-0, 29 knockouts), 34, of Omaha, Nebraska, notched his ninth stoppage in a row and moved to 16-0 with 13 knockouts in world title fights at lightweight, junior welterweight and welterweight.

He had craved a big-name opponent after feasting on second-tier foes, especially since his move to welterweight three years ago. He won the belt from Jeff Horn by one-sided, ninth-round knockout and made one-sided defenses against Jose Benavidez Jr., Egidijus Kavaliauskas, the faded Amir Khan and Brook.

However Porter (31-4-1, 17 KOs), 34, of Las Vegas, was viewed as a major step up for Crawford and Porter gave him an excellent fight until the end.

“He’s doing what he know he needs to do. My timing was off and he wouldn’t allow me to get my rhythm,” Porter said. “He’s the best out of everybody I have been in the ring with. He was on point A to Z and he was that good that I would want to do it again. He’s got it, inside and outside the ring.”

Shawn Porter goes after Terence Crawford during their hotly contested fight. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

Although the crowd began chanting “Crawford! Crawford!” almost immediately after the opening bell, Porter came out quickly, looking to press the action, mix it up and throw big shots while Crawford was content, as usual, to lay back and examine what he had in front of him.

Crawford, who easily fights from a right-handed or southpaw stance, switched to southpaw in the second round and began to go to work. He took a short right hand from Porter but then turned on the offense and got the better of the exchanges. A right hand rocked Porter and then Crawford nailed him with a short right hook just before the bell ended the round.

They began to brawl in the third round and Porter really went after Crawford but he took some big shots for his trouble and emerged from the round with a cut over his right eye.

Crawford surprised Porter with a solid left to the body early in the fourth round. A right from Porter moments later sent Crawford into the ropes but he quickly spun away.

Porter roughed up Crawford on the inside early in the fifth round and later marched to him and caught him with several punches during a sustained flurry that forced Crawford to hold on.

An accidental headbutt in the sixth round rattled Crawford and led to a brief halt in the action with about a minute left in an exceedingly close fight.

“I figured that I had the reach and he had to take chances,” Crawford said. “He did what he normally does. He tried to maul and push me back but I used my angles and I pushed him back at times as well. Shawn Porter is a slick fighter he was doing some things in there and made me think.”

There were many close rounds as they went back and forth with their shots and in controlling the pace and distance in the fight. However Crawford, who was coming off a one-year layoff, had an excellent ninth round, maybe his clearest of the fight before ending it one round later.

Terence Crawford separated himself from Shawn Porter in Round 10. Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

In the 10th round, Crawford dropped Porter on his rear end with a powerful left uppercut in the center of the ring and although he beat the count, Porter was shaky.

“Yes, the punch I took was clean,” Porter said of the first knockdown.

Crawford was all over him when the fight resumed and quickly drove him to the mat with a four-punch combination – right, left, right, left.

“I caught him with a good uppercut and then when I caught him with another left hook clean in his face, I saw that he was real hurt and his dad did the right thing by stopping it because I was coming with a vengeance,” Crawford said.

Porter, who was coming off a 15-month layoff, struggled to get up but beat the count and while referee Celestino Ruiz was talking to him and assessing his condition, Kenny Porter stepped up onto the ring apron to signal for Ruiz to stop the bout, which he did at 1 minute, 21 seconds.

“We never discussed that before. We just had a unspoken understanding that if he sees something he’s going to have to do what he did,” Porter said of his father’s decision to stop the fight.

Ken Porter was critical of his son and praised Crawford.

“He didn’t prepare like I wanted him to prepare,” he said. “So that makes me say, ‘You know what? I don’t want him in that situation.’ He fought a great fighter. The guy is super-sharp and [Shawn] was at a deficit and it was like fighting him blindfolded and I wasn’t going to let that happen to [Shawn].

“Shawn was hurt. When guys get to certain levels, they believe they know what they are doing and they don’t necessarily take all of the information, so this is where we are at with it and we had to make that decision. It was an easy decision for me. He lives right across the street from me. We’ll be having breakfast in the morning. [Crawford is] a sharp fighter and my kid was at a deficit and I couldn’t let it go on.”

At the time of the stoppage, Crawford was ahead on all three scorecards, 86-85 from Dave Moretti, 87-84 from Max DeLuca and 86-85 from Steve Weisfeld. The Ring also had Crawford ahead 86-85.

According to CompuBox statistics, Crawford landed 98 of 328 punches (30 percent) and Porter connected with 79 of 347 (23 percent).

Before Crawford got the chance to fight Porter, the biggest fight in the division that fans have demanded for the past few years has been a unification between Crawford and Spence, who was ringside.

When Spence was shown on the big screen in the arena, the Crawford crowd booed him loudly. Crawford did not realize Spence was in the house until he was told.

“Spence was at my fight? No, that boy said he was never gonna be at my fights but now he’s at my fights. You see what I did compared to what he did,” Crawford said, comparing his knockout of Porter to Spence’s split decision win over him in September 2019. “Now wait, my thing is – who’s No. 1 in the welterweight division now? You know who I want. I’ve been calling him out all day – maybe Spence will get his tail out of his butt and fight me.

“I look at all of us – we are all great and we are all talented. We all have different styles and, at the end of the day, as long as you get the victory, that’s all that matters.”

Crawford got this victory and it was, so far, the biggest one of his career.