Welcome. Yes, you’re in the right place. This is a boxing post that’s not about a YouTuber or non-boxers boxing. There’s an actual fight this weekend featuring one of the best pound-for-pound fighters against, well, a good fighter, but that’s not the point. The point is Terence “Bud” Crawford is fighting, and you should watch (if you don’t have to pay for it).
I don’t want to get into the politics of why he isn’t going up against Errol Spence because I read why and then, like someone trying to pick up rocket science on the fly, read why a few more times, and I still don’t understand. Crawford is a -900 favorite against opponent Shawn Porter, whose resume, like a variety of Crawford’s other foes, includes boxers Crawford has been pleading to fight but can’t get a match against.
At 37-0 and regarded as one of the best finishers in the sport, Crawford is your favorite boxer’s favorite boxer. He’s tactical, measured, smart and at the same time a ferocious boxer who wants to entertain as much as he wants to win.
He fights primarily southpaw despite being right-handed and will switch to orthodox stance mid-fight and even mid-round. That’s somewhere in between Larry Bird playing an entire game left-handed and Patrick Mahomes throwing a pass with his off hand, as far as degree of difficulty goes. But if switch hitting doesn’t impress you, perhaps hitting for power will.
When I say the guy is one of the best finishers in boxing — of his 37 wins, 28 have come by knockout — I meant to use it as a way to foreshadow to this sentence: He’s not so much a knockout artist as he is a knockout showman. Because he hasn’t been able to get the Spences of the world, Crawford has made a point to end fights with an exclamation point.
For example (knockouts No. 2 and 3 in this clip), he seeks out the moment like he seeks out a knockout when he senses it. Both those KOs are from fights in his hometown (shout out Omaha, Nebraska), and delivering a show when that’s what everyone is pining for is really hard to do. He’s the anti Floyd Mayweather.
Outside of being a colossal asshole and a generally terrible person, the biggest knock on Mayweather was he didn’t fight as much as he exploited a glitch. Yes, his defense is masterful, but he came off as afraid to go for knockouts because he didn’t want to expose himself by throwing KO-worthy punches.
Crawford isn’t afraid to throw punches even when he’s ahead on the card, as evidenced by multiple fights, including the Yuriorkis Gamboa battle (No. 3 from the knockout compilation) that was a 2014 fight of the year nominee. I also could’ve just stopped the last sentence after “afraid” because Crawford carries himself as if not only is he unafraid, but he’s almost amused that you think you could beat him.
Much has been made of his scowl, icy demeanor, and the “chip on his shoulder” from not getting his “Fuck it, I guess I’m ordering a boxing PPV” fight yet (as a fellow Omahan, I’d surmise that chip is simply the ingrained inferiority complex that comes with being from a flyover state), but that’s not the image that comes to mind when I think of Crawford.
It’s his smirk after a particularly competitive round or even a landed punch. Whether the three minutes or exchange went to him or his opponent, that all-knowing “You ain’t got shit” grin sticks with me. You can see him flash it (8:05 minute mark) the round before knocking out “Mean Machine” Egidijus Kavaliauskas in 2019.
Regardless of if you’ve watched a Crawford fight, you’ve still seen that smile. It can regularly be spotted on the faces of alpha level athletes when betas chirp at them. Think Michael Jordan reacting to Gary Payton saying he gave Mike problems in the Last Dance doc.
Saturday’s fight against Porter isn’t quite worthy of the $70 PPV, but if a friend or a neighborhood bar is getting it, watch. Crawford doesn’t need a litmus test to prove he’s worthy of Spence, and Porter is far from a measuring stick even if the odds don’t suggest it.
If Crawford is able to beat Porter, who has never been knocked out in his career and has only been knocked down twice, and do it in a more convincing fashion than Spence did, that post-fight smile may be less about the braggadocio of his opponent and more about the quality of his next one.