We must put some respect on Terence Crawford’s name after 10th round TKO of Shawn Porter

Just about every single question we had about Terence Crawford was finally answered on Saturday when the reigning WBO welterweight champion became the first fighter to finish “Showtime” Shawn Porter with a 10th round TKO at the Michelob ULTRA Arena.

We said he lacked a signature win on his resume. He got that. We wondered if he was in the same league as the other elite welterweights. He proved that. We asked how he’d deal with adversity. He showed us.

And, most importantly, we asked if he deserved to be near or at the top of boxing’s pound-for-pound rankings. Yes, yes he does.

Put some respect on his name.

Crawford not only did what Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Yordenis Ugas, Danny Garcia and others couldn’t by finishing Porter, but also did it in a manner that made his supporters look like geniuses — and naysayers appear as fools.

“You see what I did compared to what he did,” Crawford said after the fight, referencing Spence’s split-decision victory over Porter in 2019. “Who’s No. 1 in the welterweight division now? You know who I want, I’ve been calling him out all day. Maybe Spence will get his tail out of his butt and fight me.”

Just when you thought the temperature for a Crawford-Spence fight had cooled down, the undefeated fighter from Omaha cranked the heat up on his rival to nearly unbearable heights with a phenomenal performance against a man that has given everyone hell.

And he sent Porter to his retirement.

It certainly wasn’t easy. Even though Crawford seemed like he enjoyed the dogfight against Porter, the longtime friend proved to be a difficult nut to crack. Unlike Crawford’s 37 previous opponents, he wasn’t able to fight his fight. Porter’s constant pressure and physicality forced Crawford to be on his game for every minute of the fight. Up until the 10th round, judges had Crawford up, but barely. One judge had Crawford up by two rounds while two other judges only had the WBO champion ahead by a single frame.

So then “Bud” had to come out to play.

The wicked alter ego of Crawford arrived in the 10th round and swiftly deposited Porter on his rear end with a thudding left hand to open the round. And if there’s one thing about “Bud,” it’s that he always finishes what he started in devastating fashion.

Smelling blood in the water, Crawford pounced on his wounded opponent and unleashed a savage barrage of punches that put Porter back on the canvas. The former two-time champion pounded the canvas out of frustration but his father/trainer had seen enough and waved the white flag. This happened to a fighter who had rarely — if ever — had been badly hurt in a fight. His father saved him from what he thought was imminent doom.

The signature victory that eluded Crawford his entire career was finally his. Not to mention his ninth consecutive knockout. For the past five-and-a-half years, no fighter has been able to make it to the final bell against Terence Crawford. That’s downright frightening.

When Porter was asked about Crawford afterward, he simply called him “different.” The undefeated champion offered his definition of what that meant:

“I think they refer to my versatility and my ability to adjust,” Crawford said. “Not only that, but I adjust in a way where I take away all of their strengths and make it their weaknesses.”

Indeed, Crawford turned Porter’s aggression against him in ways no other fighter could, and sent a loud warning shot to the rest of the 147-pound division that dared them to step up to the challenge.

And now Crawford will bet on himself for the next chapter of his career. After spending his prime years under Bob Arum’s Top Rank promotional umbrella, Crawford will enter free agency, where promotional ties won’t get in the way of fights being made. At least not for him. He made it clear of his intentions afterward.

“I’m pretty sure my decision is made already,” Crawford said, with Arum sitting next to him at the post-fight news conference. “Bob couldn’t secure me the Spence fight when I was with him, so how is he gonna secure me the Spence fight when I’m not with him? I’m moving forward with my career right now and I wish everybody the best.”

Arum has often said less-than-flattering things about Crawford, despite the former undisputed junior welterweight champion being close to the top of the pound-for-pound list for the past half-decade. He criticized his marketability and ability to sell tickets.

But Arum not only witnessed Crawford at his finest, but also a full arena of riotous Crawford fans in Las Vegas that suggested, perhaps, the best is yet to come for “Bud.”

The only man standing in the way of Crawford being recognized as the best fighter in the world is current undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez. It will be difficult for Crawford to overcome the depth of Canelo’s resume, but he’s chipping away with performances like the one he had against Porter.

We asked just how good Terence Crawford really was. He told us, in no uncertain terms, that we will not disrespect his name by asking such silly things.

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