Terence Crawford defends his WBO welterweight title against Shawn Porter on Saturday in the main event of a Top Rank on ESPN+ PPV card at Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas (9 p.m. ET).
Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs), 34, of Omaha, Nebraska, won the belt by stopping Jeff Horn in 2018. In his most recent fight in November 2020, he defended the title in a fourth-round TKO victory over Kell Brook, his fourth consecutive defense. But Porter is considered the toughest test of Crawford’s career so far, and Crawford understand the challenge.
“I respect everything that Shawn does. Shawn is athletic, he can box, he can bang, he can move around in the ring, he can cut corners and take angles,” Crawford said on Wednesday’s news conference. “I’m not going to sit here and say that I don’t respect anything that he does. I’m just going to say that I do a lot of things better than Shawn.”
Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs), 34, of Akron, Ohio is a two-time welterweight champion who has victories over Devon Alexander, Paulie Malignaggi, Adrien Broner and Danny Garcia, among others. He lost close fights challenging for titles against Errol Spence Jr. and Keith Thurman, and aside from being the underdog against Crawford, Porter is confident he can leave the ring with a victory.
“He is a dominant fighter. Everyone he gets in the ring with, he dominates,” Porter said in a recent news conference. “I want to be the one fighter that he can’t dominate. Everything that is required to beat Terence, I got it. It’s time to take on this challenge.”
Mike Coppinger and Ben Baby are on site to bring you live results and analysis.
Balderas goes to 11-1 (10 KO) with the stoppage win as he continues to move his way down to 130 lbs, having started off his career fighting at 135. His last two bouts have had 132 lb catchweights following his upset loss to Rene Tellez Giron in late 2019.
Balderas, 25, wasn’t perfect here, but he was the bigger, stronger man and made that count for something. He didn’t seem to have the strongest legs in this fight, which color commentators Tim Bradley and Mikaela Mayer both pointed out, and it made Bradley in particular wonder if going to 130 is really the best move.