BACK TO K-9 KIM’S CORNER

By Steve Kim Updated on September 15, 2021

Peace in the Middle East?

A purse bid was averted at the 11th hour on Tuesday morning as news broke that an agreement had been reached between the two camps representing WBO welterweight champion, Terence Crawford, and Shawn Porter. 

They will clash on November 20th at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, in what will be an ESPN pay-per-view show promoted by Top Rank. 

Perhaps it would be hyperbolic to compare this to the Camp David Accords (after all, it's just boxing), but it is notable anytime that Top Rank and the Premier Boxing Champions come together on a major fight. It's especially noteworthy when it comes to Crawford, who has been a boogeyman of sorts for PBC fighters the past several years.

So is there now peace in the Middle East?

"I'm not going to speak for them," said Todd 'Menachem' duBoef, the president of Top Rank on Tuesday. "All I'm going to say is that we've worked well with them on occasions, and sometimes we haven't. But lately, we've been working and understanding what is the overall best thing for all of us."

Last year the two sides worked in conjunction with one another to co-promote the rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, and will do so again in October for the third chapter of this star-crossed rivalry.

"They have a big show with 'Canelo' (Saul Alvarez-Caleb Plant) before that, and we also have the heavyweights going," duBoef continued. "So I think the time is right, and it's a great opportunity for Porter. So it just depends on the circumstances, the best thing about it is being able to have positive dialogue with them because they have great fighters, we have great fighters, and one-plus-one equals three. We can have great match-ups.

"I hate the rhetoric that we can't make the big fights. I love to deliver that like we did this morning."

Perhaps Top Rank felt the pressure to consummate a meaningful fight for 'Bud', in what is could be his last outing for the company. Since winning the WBO welterweight belt in 2018, he has faced no-hopers and has-beens in subsequent title defenses. In truth, it really hasn't been totally his fault. The reality is that he has been caught in the middle of the border wars that exist in boxing.

Crawford, a three-division champion, is widely considered one of the elite boxers in the world, but that's largely due to his overall accomplishments and passing the eye test. But his welterweight run has brought a justified amount of criticism.

Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

But credit has to be given to Porter(a two-time welterweight champion), who probably had other options within the PBC. But unlike unified champion, Errol Spence, who famously told Crawford a few years back that he was ''on the wrong side of the street'', Porter wouldn't allow himself to play crossing guard in his own career.

Boxers aren't always completely in charge of their own careers, well, at least the majority of them aren't, if they don't wield economic power. Regardless, it certainly helps when they stand firm and make it clear to their representatives what bouts they want.

It's obvious that Porter did that. He's the consummate fighter. 

What's interesting is that while Porter(31-3-1, 17 KOs) has a few losses and will come into this match-up as the underdog, it's he who has the more impressive welterweight resume' with wins over Yordenis Ugas, Danny Garcia, Adrien Broner, Paulie Malignaggi and Devon Alexander. While he has tough losses versus Spence, Keith Thurman and Brook. 

Photo /graphic credit: PBC

And it's really that trio that Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) is competing against, here.  This fight will be a barometer to see just how good of a welterweight he really is. He can't just eke by, but he has to be that much more dominant against the rugged, hard-charging Porter than the three that have handed Porter losses. In this instance, it isn't enough just to win -- but to clearly dominate.

Regardless, this is a very good fight. Crawford is rated second in the division by Ring Magazine, while Porter is fourth. 

"It's good for the division, it's good for both guys," said duBoef. 

 

SOCKTOBERFEST

A couple of fight dates have been made official for October. 

- On the 4th, the bout between undisputed lightweight champion, Teofimo Lopez, and his IBF mandatory challenger, George Kambosos, will take place at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York on Triller. That is a Monday night, and it was Mike Coppinger who was told that this event (which finally had tickets go on sale on Wednesday) was moved from Tuesday night to avoid a conflict with the baseball playoffs.

OK, I get that. But do the organizers realize that during the fall that means going up against Monday Night Football? Most regular season prime time NFL games do higher ratings than post-season baseball, or any other sport for that matter.

By the way, that weeks game is the Raiders at the Chargers.

 

- On October 15, at the Pechanga Arena San Diego, WBO featherweight belt-holder, Emanuel Navarrete will take on Joet Gonzalez on a card that will be streamed on ESPN+.

I really like this for two reasons: first it's on a Friday, instead of a Saturday (especially during college football season) and they are hitting a non-traditional market. It's time for the sport to stop being so reliant on casino venues and actually develop fan-bases across the country. It will be interesting to see how this event does given that San Diego is close to the Mexican border, and not to far of a drive (two hours without traffic) from Los Angeles.

 

FINAL FLURRIES

If there is press conference for Crawford-Porter there needs to be a picture taken with a three-way handshake like the one Jimmy Carter, Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat did between members of Top Rank, PBC and ESPN....In terms of purchasing tickets for the card in San Diego, a press release stated: ''Tickets starting at $55 go on sale Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 10 a.m. PT and can be purchased by visiting AXS.com''.. As for the Lopez-Kambosos fight, tickets can be bought by logging onto MSG.com and range from $306, $206, $106, $81 and $56.....I can't lie, I was hoping the Crawford-Porter fight went to purse bid just to see who would come in with an exorbitant offering....Yes, I plan on driving to San Diego for that fight card.... OK, do the Hurricanes beat Michigan St? I'm not so sure about this....Rest in peace, Norm MacDonald....I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com.....

About Author
Peace in the Middle East?
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for UCNlive.com.
  • Was a boxing reporter for ESPN.com from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.