Crawford stops Porter in his toughest fight yet

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 20: WBO champion Terence Crawford (R) punches Shawn Porter during their welterweight title fight at Michelob ULTRA Arena on November 20, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Crawford retained his title with a 10th-round TKO. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)
WBO champion Terence Crawford (R) punches Shawn Porter during their welterweight title fight at Michelob ULTRA Arena on Nov. 20, 2021 in Las Vegas. Crawford retained his title with a 10th-round TKO. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS — Terence Crawford has long wanted that big fight against an elite opponent to prove his greatness. He got it Saturday and came up big.

Crawford dropped gritty Shawn Porter twice in the 10th round of a pitched battle. After the second knockdown, Porter’s father/trainer, Kenny Porter, climbed the steps and asked referee Celestino Ruiz to stop the fight

Crawford remained undefeated with his ninth consecutive stoppage. It was a dogged battle, with Porter’s pressure forcing Crawford to lift his game. Crawford retained the WBO welterweight title Saturday before 11,568 at Michelob Ultra Arena with the stoppage 1:21 of the 10th.

“Who’s the best in the welterweight division now?” Crawford asked triumphantly.

Porter more than had his moments, but Crawford was landing too cleanly too consistently for him to withstand those kinds of blows.

Porter’s pressure brought the fight and for much of the bout, they stood toe-to-toe in the center and exchanged big blows. Crawford was the more accurate puncher and that’s in the end what led him to victory and helped him improve his argument that he, and not super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world.

The end came in the 10th when Crawford dropped Porter early with a straight left hand fighting out of the southpaw stance. Porter was clearly buzzed, and wincing when he got up, but true to his bulldog nature, jumped right back into the fray.

Crawford, though, is one of the best finishers in boxing and he proved it when the fight resumed. He was on Porter quickly and while he was aggressive, he didn’t throw caution to the ring.

He landed a combination, with a crunching right hand dropping Porter for the second time. That led his father to stop it, calling it “an easy decision.”

And Porter knew he’d been in with a legend, who is now 38-0 with 29 KOs.

“He’s definitely the best of anybody in the world,” Porter said afterward.

It was Crawford’s best opponent by far and Porter made him work for it. Crawford didn’t dominate many of the rounds like he so often has done, but he was patient, smart and was highly accurate with his punches.

He went into the eye of the hurricane and remained calm, making Porter miss frequently and dropping in counter shots. But Porter’s pressure caused Crawford more than a few anxious moments and it brought the best out of him.

Crawford was up 86-85 on two cards and 87-84 on the other after the nine completed rounds. Yahoo Sports had it 86-85 Crawford.