Terence Crawford gets the chance to silence his critics on Saturday when he puts an unbeaten record and his WBO welterweight crown on the line against the dangerous Shawn Porter.
The 34-year-old Crawford is widely regarded as one of the world’s best pound-for-pound boxers, compiling a flawless 37-0 (28 by knockout) record during a 13-year professional career.
But despite Crawford’s impressive resume, the skilful southpaw from Nebraska has faced persistent criticism about the quality of his opponents on his journey to the top.
Through little fault of his own, fights against the welterweight division’s best fighters — Errol Spence, Keith Thurman and Manny Pacquiao — have remained elusive.
Crawford, however, will finally get his wish of tackling an elite opponent on Saturday when he takes on Porter at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
While Porter (31-3-1, 17 knockouts) starts as a significant underdog, he represents a step up in class for Crawford, who defeated Britain’s Kell Brook with a fourth-round knockout in his most recent outing a year ago.
Crawford though believes that even if he scores a convincing win against Porter on Saturday, it might not be enough to quieten all of his naysayers.
“It depends on the fashion that I beat Shawn,” Crawford said.
“Everybody that beat Shawn before won on a split decision. So if I beat Shawn in a fashion that I beat everybody else (by knockout), then they’re going to say ‘Oh, but it wasn’t the same Shawn Porter.'”
Crawford meanwhile took a respectful tone towards Porter in the final press conference before the fight, even while predicting victory.
“I respect everything that Shawn does,” Crawford said. “Shawn is athletic, he can box, he can bang, he can move around in the ring, he can cut corners and take angles.
“I’m not going to sit here and say that I don’t respect anything that he does. I’m just going to say that I do a lot of things better than Shawn. I’m going to show him come Saturday.”
Porter has not fought since a unanimous decision victory over Sebastian Formella in Los Angeles in 2020. Prior to that, his most recent fight was a split decision defeat to Errol Spence Jr. in September 2019.
Porter is unfazed by his underdog status, and looked relaxed as he faced Crawford on Wednesday.
“There are people you can get to, and there are people that you can’t get to,” he said. “I’m one of those people that you can’t get to.”