Behind The Tale Of The Tape: How Terence Crawford, Shawn Porter Got To Today
On Saturday November 20, Terence “Bud” Crawford will defend his WBO Welterweight title against Shawn “Showtime” Porter.
This will be Crawford’s fifth title defense, and first time he would be facing an opponent who skills are up to par. The undefeated Crawford has been impressive in his victories, but has not faced an elite foe up until this point in his career.
The challenger, Porter, is elite.
The former IBF and WBA welterweight champion has fought and beaten some of the very best in the welterweight division.
He is ranked as the fourth best active welterweight in the world, according to Transnational Boxing Records Boards and The Ring.
Both fighters are accomplished and recognized as the best in the division. Let’s examine how they got here.
Porter is a former two-time welterweight champion from Cleveland, Ohio.
He started his boxing career as an impressive middleweight amateur.
In 2007, he won the United States Golden Gloves championship. In 2008, he made his professional debut against Norman Johnson, defeating him by first round TKO.
In February of 2010, he won his first title, beating Russel Jordan for the Interim WBO-NABO Junior middleweight championship.
“Showtime” would use his aggressive fighting style to collect multiple belts. Those include the WBC-NABF, WBO–NABO, IBF, WBC Silver and WBC welterweight titles.
Even with all his success, Porter has had to overcome adversity in the ring.
In his amateur boxing career, he lost the Pan-American games by knockout to Emilio Correa. In 2008, he failed to make the U.S. Olympic championship team.
But what makes Porter compelling is not only his aggressive nature in the ring, but his willingness to fight the best the welterweight division has to offer.
He has lost title fights to Kell Brook, Keith Thurman and Errol Spence Jr. But he has defeated Devon Alexander, Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia and Yordenis Ugas.
A 31-3 record is impressive. That record paired with the elite competition is admirable.
The potential future broadcaster will have a lot to say in the ring when he goes against Crawford.
Crawford comes into this fight as the heavily favored undefeated champion.
He has held championship in three different weight classes and he is one of six male boxers in all of history to simultaneously hold the (WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO world championship).
He is considered by all credited boxing authorities and publications to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
The 34-year-old from Omaha, Nebraska came a long way to get where he is today.
Bud started boxing at the age of seven years old.
He fought dozens of amateur fights and beat future world champions Mikey Garcia and Danny Garcia.
At one point he was considered the best lightweights in the U.S before a loss to Sadam Ali stifled his chances on making the 2008 Olympic team.
This wasn’t Crawford’s first introduction to disappointment.
The man grew up with two parents suffering from addiction to alcohol.
“They were always arguing,” Crawford said. “Both of ’em want to get drunk and argue….”
Despite his addictions, Crawford’s father showed encouragement to his son.
“He always told me he was proud of me, have me hitting on his hands, even when I was like 2 years old.”
Crawford’s mother, Debra, not so much.
“He ain’t gonna be s—,’ That’s just my mom,” Crawford said. “She got this ‘tough love’ demeanor.”
A contentious relationship with his mother and witnessing his father come and go out of his life made Crawford vow to himself in the eighth grade to never smoke or drink.
But despite his efforts to avoid his parents’ mistakes, Crawford was not impervious to the effects of their shortcomings.
“I was fighting for her approval, for her to tell me she was proud or happy,” Crawford said.
“But she never would. So I stayed angry.”
That anger may have cost Crawford to rise earlier in his career due to a repeated incidents that included bad sportsmanship, assault and death threats.
Harnessing all that rage into the controlled use of his fists — only to be used during boxing fights — was a discipline Bud would have to develop and be tested with.
The ultimate test came on the night of August 4, 2008.
Counting the winnings from his earlier dice game, Crawford was sitting in his car when he heard 12 gunshots fired.
Bud was lucky.
A near-fatal bullet was altered by the windshield and went around his skull, not through it. He was able to drive himself to the hospital and only suffer from a gash in his head.
The real test would come when he found out the shooter’s identity. Crawford originally wanted to kill the perpetrator.
Maybe it was reasoning from his uncle, DeArthur, or perhaps he saw this epiphany moment in his life as way to break the cycle of dysfunction. He would later reconnect with his fourth-grade teacher Jamie Nolette, proud parent and founder of Pipeline Worldwide, a humanitarian organization working in Africa.
Crawford still works with the foundation today.
The fluidity of his ability to pivot from orthodox to southpaw in the ring is the only metaphor for appropriate for the conflicting natures that exists within Terence Crawford.
This fight is in favor of Crawford, but Porter is not going to make it easy for him like other opponents.
Crawford, 34, enters the fight undefeated in his first 37 bouts winning 28 of them by knockout.
His ability to switch hit from orthodox to southpaw is already a dangerous advantage for opponents, but add exceptional hand speed, ring intelligence, a strong counter puncher with ridiculous punching power — those are the ingredients to a flawless record.
What he doesn’t have is a proven record against the best.
Crawford has faced a litany of over the hill or incomplete fighters. This may be due to promotional or political divides in the sport. This may also be Crawford’s last fight with Top Rank.
Porter, 34, is known for his physical strength, his great stamina combined with his aggressive attacking style.
These skills alone make him a respectable challenger for the champion.
His fearlessness to be great and fight all the greats will force the best out of Crawford. Crawford has yet to be legitimately pushed in the ring, Porter has the skill and the boldness to do so.