On the surface, while it's Terence Crawford defending his WBO 147-pound title against Shawn Porter this Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, the defending champion is actually facing more than that.
He's up against the performances of Kell Brook, Keith Thurman and Errol Spence, the three men who have given Porter his three losses in what were hard-fought affairs.
For Crawford, it's not just enough to win. He has to dominate the rugged Porter in a way that has never been seen. There are those who believe that Porter won those aforementioned bouts. A round here, a round there, and an argument could be made on his behalf.
'Bud' should be aiming to deliver a certain message on this evening.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank photo
One that says he is the games best welterweight, and perhaps the best boxer in the world pound-for-pound. And you don't do that by just eking by with a close decision. You do it by closing the show, leaving no doubt versus a man that never been close to being stopped before in a professional fight.
The significant favorite here is Crawford, which puts him in a bit of a no-win situation. But as I've stated many times before: in this game, sometimes it not if you win, but how you do so.
If you look at the recent bouts of Crawford against 'Mean Machine' Kavaliauskas and Kell Brook, there were some signs of slippage from the 34 year old Crawford. But perhaps that's more of an indication of him overlooking what was in front of him as he fell into the malaise of not getting the caliber of opponent that he has yearned for.
Now, with Porter -- who has never needed a crossing guard to to get to the other side of the street -- stepping up to take this challenge, the feeling is that no such issues exist coming into this bout.
It says here that Crawford will deliver that much-needed statement
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
TOP RANK FUTURE
It's no secret that this is the last bout under the current contract between Crawford, and his long-time promoter. Top Rank. Because of this association, Crawford was often on the outside-looking-in when it came to the welterweight bouts that really mattered.
So what's the future hold for this relationship?
Bob Arum told SNAC.com last week, "I'm from an era were we didn't have long-term contracts, where it was fight-by-fight, and as long as we were producing for Terence, he'll remain fighting on a fight-by-fight basis with us. That will, I think, will help build a relationship. Because if he feels -- which we believe he will -- that we're doing the best for him.
"Obviously, the big fights for him are certainly Spence, if he gets back in action, and also Josh Taylor."
SNAC vs SNAC
Both Crawford and Porter used SNAC products and will be representing the company on Saturday night. It's not unusual to have boxers be sponsored by nutritional brands, but rarely the same one. Porter has long been associated with SNAC, while Crawford just recently came aboard.
"I've been working with Shawn and Ken Porter since 2014. We routinely do blood testing for Shawn and have provided appropriate supplements to him for several years now," explained Victor Conte, the founder of SNAC.
"When Terence contacted me a while back and inquired about becoming a part of the SNAC program, I realized that Shawn and Ken would need to be a part of the decision," said Conte." Shortly after I reached out for their input, Shawn came back and simply said they were good with it".
"Terence and the Porter's have been friends for far longer than I have known either of them and both have expressed mutual respect for one another."
For this bout, Conte says that they are strictly neutral.
"It's a tremendous honor for me to know that both sides trust and believe that I will keep everything strictly confidential".
So what bouts does Arum have in mind for 2022?
"If I had my druthers, (Oscar) Valdez, would fight (Emanuel Navarette), and Shakur (Stevenson) would fight 'Loma' (Vasiliy Lomachenko) if he beats (Richard) Commey," he said.
Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
As for Teofimo Lopez, who faces George Kambosos on November 27 (finally), Arum stated that the current undisputed lightweight champion is, "looking for Josh Taylor, which probably can't happen till the spring. But meanwhile, he can fight one of our 140 pound guys like (Jose) Zepeda, or (Arnold) Barboza."
Arum also mentioned the possibility of Gervonta 'Tank' Davis. Yeah, good luck with that one.'
3KR on Triller
'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez and myself is now on Triller and their YouTube page. Here is this weeks show:
Friday night on DAZN, WBO middleweight titlist, Demetrius Andrade defends his crown versus Jason Quigley. Also world champions Murodjon Akhmadaliev and Julio Cesar Martinez are in action in New Hampshire....Looking forward to seeing Karlos Balderas in his second bout with Buddy McGirt....So is Canelo really moving up to cruiserweight?!?!.....Can't wait to drop by the Barstow Del Taco....I can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org...