WBO welterweight title preview
Terence Crawford, the pride of Omaha, is a fighter who is definitely in the middle of the pound-for-pound argument. Boxing fans being who they are, there is usually an additional wave of support when one of these "P4P" contenders fights. We saw it just recently with Canelo Alvarez, and now Crawford has an opportunity to reaffirm his claim as he takes on former welterweight champion Shawn Porter of Akron, Ohio. BetAnySports customers can see this fight through the ESPN+ pay-per-view apparatus, and will start around 11 PM ET at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
At stake is the WBO welterweight title.
Crawford (37-0, 28 KO's) has been a champion for about seven and a half years continuously, moving up from lightweight to junior welterweight and then welterweight. He has not stopped dispatching opponents early, though; his last eight fights have ended inside the distance. And four of his last nine opponents were previously undefeated.
Although Crawford might be the best in the world, he is no match for Canelo at the box office. And that has been an issue for Bob Arum of Top Rank, who has a promotional contract with him that is expiring. He says he can't even profit on Crawford's fights, but the monetary demands have been greater. So this is a good test for the 34-year-old's drawing power.
Here are the boxing betting odds as they are posted at BetAnySports:
Terence Crawford -900
Shawn Porter +550
Over 10.5 Rounds -270
Under 10.5 Rounds +210
Crawford certainly has the technical edge. He is fast and elusive, like Pernell Whitaker used to be. He throws a good, sneaky straight left, hits with precision, and has superior footwork. So he's a hard guy to get to.
But it would not be unfair to say that Porter has fought a better roster of opponents, and a wide variety of them, when you consider opposition like Devon Alexander, Paul Malignaggi, Adrian Broner, Danny Garcia, Andre Berto, and Yordenas Ugas (who just beat Manny Pacquiao), among others. He is 31-3-1 (17 KO's), and those losses have come against Kell Brook (majority decision), Keith Thurman and Errol Spence, to whom he gave a difficult time before dropping the split decision. It is critical that Porter use his experience to advantage.
And speaking of that, the fight with Spence might be an educational experience for Porter (and for Crawford maybe, and certainly for us). There's a saying that a fighter wants to take his opponent "somewhere he's never been," and that might apply here. Porter kept coming against Spence, throwing punches from different angles, and he felt the need to be awkward as hell. The idea here is to stay on top of Crawford. Easier said then done, but you wonder if Crawford can keep him at bay for twelve rounds.
Porter has a chance to outwork him. It is not a ridiculous statement to say that this is Crawford's most formidable challenge yet. And when you've got an opponent like Porter who is looking to make it as "physical" as possible, it is not an insignificant factor that while Crawford has moved UP in weight to win more titles (as is the custom in boxing these days), starting at 135, Porter has moved DOWN in weight, making his debut at 165.5 pounds and then moving down to junior middleweight before settling at 147. So he is naturally bigger, and probably stronger.
I wonder if Porter can hit Crawford with some semblance of frequency, and what Crawford will do when he gets hit, because that's not a habit with him. The price of +550 (translating to a 15.4% chance for Porter) could present some value, in this reporter's opinion. Either way, I can see a distance fight, and on that basis laying the -270 might be a better deal than to lay a much higher price with Crawford, if that's the way you're leaning.
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