Porter: Crawford's still at the peak of his powers

Shawn Porter believes that Terence Crawford is entering Saturday’s fight with Errol Spence at his peak.

The biggest fight of 2023 takes place on Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where there have been suggestions that the long-term delay in agreeing terms means that Crawford and Spence are finally meeting as at least partially declined.

Since Crawford’s move to welterweight in 2018 a fight between he and Spence has been the most sought-after in any weight division. Spence has regardless since been involved in two car crashes that not only threatened his career but could have ended his life, and also suffered a retinal detachment that required surgery.

Crawford – at 35 two years older than his opponent – is also potentially past the height of his athleticism and fighting in two weight divisions above that in which he turned professional, but Porter, who fought both, is convinced that they are fighting at the optimum time.

Porter retired after losing to Crawford in 2021, having in 2019 given Spence his most difficult fight, and asked how good a fighter Crawford remains in 2023, he responded: “Just as good if not better than he was [previously]. 

“‘Boots’ [Jaron Ennis] is becoming the best fighter in the world. [Gervonta] ‘Tank’ Davis is the most electrifying fighter in the world. The winner between Terence and Errol [Spence] will determine who the best fighter in the world is.

“Crawford is a fighter. He has the ability to do whatever it takes to win a fight; to win a boxing match. I’ll use me as an example. Really good fighter; really good athlete. People thought they were watching someone mean and gritty – you were actually just watching an athlete box. I’m an athlete who learned how to box. Crawford is a fighter who learned how to box. The difference between me and Crawford is Crawford knows how to do whatever it takes to win a fight. I’m Xs and Os; I’m doing by the book; what was taught to me; nothing more, nothing less. 

“Crawford’s going to change from orthodox to southpaw; if he’s gotta get dirty he’s going to hit you low; whatever he’s got to do to win a fight, he knows how to do that. Those aren’t things that are taught to you – you’re born with that – that’s the fighter in you. It comes out live in action on fight night.”

Porter, 35, won the IBF and WBC welterweight titles before he retired. He has also since proven himself as a promising and articulate broadcaster.

“When I reflect on my fight with Crawford I definitely get a little down on myself, knowing that, psychologically, emotionally and mentally I went into that ring not as strong as I hoped that I was,” he added. 

“Certainly not in the same space that I was when I fought Errol. [I was] going through some things – and unlike years previous I didn’t handle them as well as I could have and should have. It showed up in those knockdowns. [But, he impressed me] a lot.”