Terence Crawford is a special fighter, exceptionally talented and one of the best combination punchers I have ever seen.
And he is a spiteful hitter, ruthless once he smells blood.
But is he the pound-for-pound rival for Saul Canelo Alvarez that some believe?
I certainly put him in that conversation. What he has lacked is an acid test. Until now that is.
Shawn Porter provides the biggest challenge of Crawford’s career in Las Vegas this weekend.
Porter is a very committed fighter. Though Errol Spence had him down in his split-decision victory he could not get him out of there, and one judge even had Porter the winner.
Porter is in your face, aggressive, a mauler swinging from every angle.
His determination is greater than his skill but it makes a world class fighter.
I remember watching him way back against James DeGale in the amateurs. DeGale won by moving around him.
Crawford will approach this the same way, try to mesmerise with angles and speed and then, as Porter tires, sit down on his shots and try to shift him.
That’s the plan at least. But he has not been in with a fighter of Porter’s grit and intestinal fortitude.
Moreover, Porter has been in deep against a higher standard of opponent than Crawford has faced.
Will Crawford beat Porter? Comment here
Though Porter lost to their only common foe, it was a peak, unbeaten Kell Brook he faced seven years ago.
Brook was a shell of the fighter he was when he met Crawford this time last year.
So this is a chance to see how Crawford shapes up against a guy who does not go away.
Crawford is the favourite of course and if he can get rid of Porter it will be some outcome.
Can he do what Spence did, only go one better. Finish it early. This should answer any questions that remain about Crawford.
The fight we really want to see is Crawford versus Spence. But this will do while we wait for the latter’s injured left eye to heal.
Crawford is slight and only 5ft 8ins. Porter is short but has the physique of a super middle, broad and muscular.
Indeed, as an amateur Porter outpointed the current unified heavyweight champion of the world, Oleksandr Usyk, no less, at 75k (165 pounds).
In these important fights size matters. That is why I have my doubts that Crawford can do to Porter what no-one else has in 35 bouts, end it early.
If he does we have to re-evaluate Crawford’s standing in the all-time list, because a stoppage will put him in it.
Follow Barry on Twitter at @ClonesCyclone @McGuigans_Gym @CyclonePromo
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