Terence Crawford doesn’t take exception to any claim that his next fight is a significant step up in class from his recent competition.
In fact, it’s why he sought out the challenge of Shawn Porter for upcoming title defense.
“On paper, it is my toughest test,” Crawford acknowledged on-air to ESPN’s Mark Kriegel while in Atlanta this weekend for stablemate Jamel Herring’s eventual title-losing effort to Shakur Stevenson. “Shawn Porter has been in the ring with all the champions In the welterweight division except Manny Pacquiao.
“This is a fight. He does have a lot of experience. Shawn Porter does have talent, skills, and he’s gonna come to fight November 20. We’re gonna be prepared for it.”
Crawford (37-0, 28KOs) attempts the fifth defense of the WBO welterweight title he’s held since a ninth-round knockout of unbeaten Jeff Horn in June 2018. The supremely gifted switch hitter from Omaha, Nebraska has long ago earned accolades as among the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighters, strengthening his case through title wins in three separate weight divisions.
However, Crawford’s career has gone stagnant since arriving at welterweight. He scored stoppage wins in each of his five fights at the weight—all with the WBO title at stake—though yet to facing the division’s elite.
Porter (31-3-1, 17KOs) has become a remedy to that solution. The former two-time welterweight titlist boasts a stellar resume, having faced eleven former or current titlists during his divisional stay. His second title reign began with a win over Danny Garcia, then outpointing Yordenis Ugas—who currently serves as WBA titlist—before coming up just short versus Errol Spence (27-0, 21KOs) in their thrilling September 2019 WBC/IBF title unification clash.
Crawford was thrilled when Porter became available as a challenger, a move that was motivated by the WBO who named the Las Vegas-based welterweight as the mandatory contender to the title. The two sides reached a deal in September for their upcoming ESPN+ Pay-Per-View main event November 20 at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
“I think this fight is going to show the caliber of fighter I am and the skill set I have,” vows Crawford. “They’re going to understand why certain fights haven’t manifested and come to fruition, because he’s that good. Hands down, I feel like this is a fight where I can make a huge statement in the welterweight division. Because everything I’ve done, the question is always well what about welterweight? Welterweight this, or welterweight that.
“This is one of the top welterweights that I am facing. This is my time to show the world who Terence Crawford really is in the welterweight division.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox