Terence Crawford and Shawn Porter have struck a deal for a welterweight title fight on Nov. 20 at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay on ESPN+ PPV, multiple sources told ESPN, avoiding a purse bid that was scheduled for noon ET where the rights to the fight were slated to be auctioned off.
The pact ends weeks of negotiations between Top Rank, which promotes Crawford, and PBC, which handles Porter. The two sides rarely do business, with a pair of fights between heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder being a rare exception.
Unlike those fights, this will not be a joint pay-per-view with Fox, the network that has a deal with PBC. Top Rank will promote and lead the event in association with PBC.
Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs), the WBO welterweight champion, has one fight left on his deal with Top Rank, sources told ESPN, and could leave the promotion after this fight.
He last fought in November when he defended his title with a fourth-round TKO of faded contender Kell Brook in Las Vegas.
Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs), a former welterweight title holder, is known for his relentless pressure style and always delivers exciting scraps.
ESPN’s No. 4 welterweight, Porter will represent the toughest challenge of Crawford’s career, on paper. The Omaha, Nebraska, native turns 34 later this month, and while his impressive ring work earned him the No. 2 ranking on ESPN’s pound-for-pound list, it’s the result of the eye test more than whom he has beaten.
Crawford’s best win came in 2016, a unanimous-decision victory over former champion Viktor Postol. He has long been challenged for his lack of top-flight opposition despite his standing in the sport (he’s currently No. 1 in ESPN’s welterweight rankings). A convincing victory over a fighter like Porter would prove he deserves that recognition.