The Excellence of Execution: Terence Crawford
Terence “Bud” Crawford (38-0, 29 KO’s) made the fifth defense of his WBO welterweight title this past weekend, defeating Shawn “Showtime” Porter (31-4-1, 17 KO’s), in what was arguably the toughest test of his professional career to date.
Porter, who has fought every elite welterweight of this era, provided Crawford with different looks and made things uncomfortable on the inside, forcing Crawford to elevate his game to secure victory in the championship rounds.
But again, as the pound-for-pound best displayed several times throughout his career, he has a knack for adjusting to whatever his opposition presents to him and when he sees blood or any form of weakness, he ticks up his attack tenfold.
Cerebral with his approach, Crawford systematically executes his opponents with great proficiency. Similar to Bret “The Hitman” Hart of wrestling fame. For all those familiar with the old-school World Wrestling Federation entertainment from back in the day.
Hart, was known for his in-the-ring methodical aptitude and widely regarded as the best technical wrestler of his generation. One of the monikers Hart was known for and referred to as “The Excellence of Execution.”
Crawford for his part, draws many parallels to Hart. In true fashion like a hitman, Crawford had to execute the target, even if that target was a close friend in Porter.
“(I figured him out in) Round 1,” Crawford said post-fight. “I figured that I had the reach and he (Porter) had to take chances, and he did what he normally does. He tried to maul and push me back, but I used my angles and I pushed him back at times as well. Shawn Porter is a slick fighter. He was doing some things in there and made me think.”
“I love him. Shawn Porter is a real good friend of mine. I didn’t really want to fight him. We always said we would fight each other when the time was right and I guess the time was right for this fight to happen. I tried to fight the other champions in the division, and that didn’t happen, so I went to the next best thing.”
Porter led 48-47 on all three scorecards after five rounds, but Crawford took control in the second half of the fight. The fight was close heading into the tenth round, with Crawford holding a slim lead on the cards. Upping the ante, as Crawford is prone to do when faced with resistance, he scored a pair of knockdowns, and Porter’s trainer and father, Kenny Porter, stopped the fight.
“My timing was off and he wouldn’t allow me to get my rhythm,” Porter said. “He’s the best out of everybody I have been in the ring with.”
As alluded to earlier, Porter has been in the ring with most of the top fighters at welterweight from the last several years; Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Yordenis Ugas, Danny Garcia, Kell Brook, Paulie Malignaggi, Andre Berto and Adrien Broner.
But, after being in the ring with Crawford, he tabbed the Omaha-native as the best fighter he had ever faced in the ring.
“He’s the best out of everybody I have been in the ring with. He was on point A to Z and he was that good that I would want to do it again. He’s got it, inside and outside the ring.”
Heading into the fight, part of the build-up and mantra, was Porter wanting to channel his boxing idol Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Porter even had the “Marvelous War” words embedded across his fight trunks. In some ways, he was able to channel and honor the late legend.
Porter embodies hard work, grit, strong resolve, undeniable will and has a huge heart. Throughout his career, Porter also displayed these traits and Hagler would be proud of his performance this past weekend. As Porter announced his retirement during one of his post-fight interviews, like his idol unfortunately, he ends his career on the losing end.
Oddly enough, Crawford, personifies Hagler a great deal as well. Aside from being a switch-hitter, having the ability to effectively switch from orthodox stance (right hand dominant) to southpaw stance (left hand dominant), Crawford is mean and menacing inside the ring.
He seeks to destroy his opponents; enjoys inflicting damage upon the target and winning isn’t enough. He wants to exert his dominance. Crawford is not much for words with the media at least, he’s about business. Much like the Marvelous one.
Crawford’s future, has multiple layers to sort through and analyze, as he not only will search for new opponents, more accolades, more notoriety, but he may switch promotional ties in hopes of securing greener pastures.
With this recent victory, along with this upcoming journey, comes many questions.
Critics, may still question the level of opposition Crawford has faced to this point. Some may question, how much of a prime version of Shawn Porter did we see? Porter is a high energy, high activity fighter and how much of that style should we expect to see from a guy at age 34, who endured many welterweight wars? Who also contemplated retirement before agreeing to this most recent bout?
While these may be a valid questions for greater context, some things to consider, is Crawford at 34-years-old, isn’t a spring chicken either. Plus styles make fights and Crawford’s style and ability may have always posed a problem for Porter. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a way for us to know with certainty. We just have to accept the facts that Crawford was the better man during their encounter.
As far as quality of opponents go, to date, Crawford has defeated nine world champions.
World Champions Faced:
- Ricky Burns
- Amir Khan
- Ray Beltran
- Julius Indongo
- Viktor Postol
- Jeff Horn
- Shawn Porter
- Yuriorkis Gamboa
- Kell Brook
We can also add Felix Diaz to the mix, although wasn’t a world champion, was an Olympic gold medalist. Same can be stated with Yuriorkis Gamboa.
Again, context is important while analyzing these fights and measuring the significance of these victories. With that added context, all of the variables should be considered, some of which, are out of Crawford’s control. We won’t go into a full dive at this time, you can make of it what you will.
Crawford alluded to not receiving his praise until he’s gone from the sport and he may be right. It may take some time for critics to truly value his worth, what he accomplished and against who.
But Crawford also alluded to the fact, during one of his post-fight interviews, that his promoter Bob Arum, hasn’t been able to secure him the big fights. The most noticeable fight, against current unified WBC and IBF welterweight champion, Errol “The Truth” Spence Jr. (27-0, 21 KO’s).
It’s fair to question, whether Arum’s motives or relationships with other promotional companies, hindered Crawford’s opportunities for securing fights against some of boxing’s biggest stars.
Contests that would ultimately bolster Crawford’s legacy and pockets. Matches against Keith Thurman, Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Adrien Broner, Manny Pacquiao, etc.
Fights that never materialized. And if Crawford’s recent fight attempt history (whatever we want to make of it) serves as a precursor, the same fate may transpire again when it comes to matching Crawford against Spence.
That highly anticipated match-up, could potentially be the most noteworthy bout since Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao back in 2015.
With the significance and potential for a great extended rivalry between the two, similar to heavyweights Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, or even wrestling entertainment contemporaries, Bret Hart and Texas-based Shawn Michaels, a missed opportunity for pugilistic encounters featuring Spence and Crawford would be a huge disappointment.
“Bud” mentioned moving up to junior middleweight and Top Rank promoter Arum, mentioned possibly pitting the current pound-for-pound king against current undisputed junior welterweight champion Josh Taylor (18-0, 13 KO’s). That’s cool and all, but fans, media, other fighters alike, want to see Crawford and Spence mix it up. There’s even a written-saga dedicated towards that potential match-up (Errol Spence vs. Terence Crawford Series:).
It’s too early to tell and it’s really subjective, if Crawford will go down in history as, “The best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be.” But for the time being, he is for certain regarded as “The Excellence of Execution.”