LAS VEGAS – Terence Crawford couldn’t care less if Shawn Porter or anyone else thinks Egidijus Kavaliauskas should’ve been credited with a knockdown during the third round of their fight.
Crawford was adamant about not getting dropped by “The Mean Machine” in the aftermath of that bout, but he looks at that sequence differently nowadays. The unbeaten WBO welterweight champion is focused more on how he responded to that tenuous moment in their December 2019 fight than whether referee Ricky Gonzalez missed what should’ve been ruled a knockdown for Kavaliauskas.
A determined Crawford quickly responded to the impactful right hand his mandatory challenger landed with hard punches of his own. He later knocked Kavaliauskas to the canvas once in the seventh round and twice more during the ninth round, when Gonzalez stopped their scheduled 12-round, 147-pound title fight at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The 34-year-old Crawford discussed the Kavaliauskas controversy with a small group of reporters following a press conference to promote his title defense against Shawn Porter on November 20.
“My thing is, even if it woulda counted as a knockdown, what does it matter?,” Crawford said. “It wasn’t like his fight, you know, going 12 rounds. I stopped him. You know, so even if it was [a knockdown], whoop-de-do! Now what? You scored a knockdown and got knocked out, so.”
Kavaliauskas told BoxingScene.com last year that he is certain he hurt Crawford with that right hand in the third round and should’ve been credited with what would’ve been the first knockdown of Crawford’s career.
Kavaliauskas caught Crawford with a straight right hand with 1:35 to go in the third round that made Crawford bend over and wrap his arms around Kavaliauskas’ waist. Crawford’s left knee touched the canvas two seconds later, but Gonzalez determined that Crawford didn’t go down as the result of Kavaliauskas’ punch.
Porter completely disagrees with Gonzalez’s ruling.
“Oh, it was a knockdown,” Porter said following the aforementioned press conference. “Don’t even ask me. Everybody know that ‘The Mean Machine’ knocked down Terence Crawford.”
The 33-year-old Porter also took other observations from the Crawford-Kavaliauskas fight into consideration while formulating a game plan for his shot at Crawford’s WBO belt.
“We saw some challenges there against ‘The Mean Machine,’ ” Porter said. “I felt like [my promoter, Tom Brown] took a shot at ‘The Mean Machine’ right there [during the press conference]. But, you know, there was some adversity there for Terence in that fight and I think some things to take a look at for ourselves, in terms of how to, you know, reach that kid and touch that kid and what we can put him on his butt with.”
Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs), of Omaha, Nebraska, and Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs), of Akron, Ohio, will headline an ESPN+ Pay-Per-View show five weeks from Saturday night at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob ULTRA Arena. Most handicappers have established Crawford as at least a 5-1 favorite versus Porter, a former IBF and WBC welterweight champion.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.