By: Hans Themistode
With WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford and highly rated contender Shawn Porter seemingly gaining no ground in their fight talks, the WBO has stepped in to ensure it happens.
As of this past Wednesday night, the sanctioning body has formally ordered both sides to begin negotiations.
“Please be advised that the parties herein have thirty (30) days upon issuance of this notice to negotiate and reach an agreement for the above-referenced WBO Welterweight Championship Contest,” Luis Batista Salas, chairman of the WBO Championship Committee noted in an official letter sent to both camps. “If an accord is not reached within the timeframe stated herein, a purse bid will be ordered per the WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests.”
News of their forced negotiations, in all likelihood, will be music to Porter’s ears. The former two-time welterweight champion has attempted to foster a deal behind the scenes with Top Rank headman and long-time promoter Bob Arum. With the Akron Ohio native holding a top two ranking in three of the four sanctioning bodies, he was given his pick of the litter in terms of which championship route to take.
Having faced many of the division’s top names including Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman and Errol Spence Jr., Porter opted to take on a new and fresh face in Terence Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs). While the two have always shared a close relationship, Porter, on numerous occasions, expressed a willingness to put their friendship on hold.
With that said, Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs) felt both irritated and disrespected in how negotiations were going. According to the multiple-time belt holder, Arum was only willing to pay him roughly one million dollars upfront, along with pay-per-view upside. Porter barked at his offer and recently admitted that he would be moving away from the negotiating table entirely.
If, for some reason, both sides continue to struggle with the financial part of their agreement, a purse bid would then be ordered. In that scenario, although a minimum of $200,000 will be allowed to stage the fight, the end result figures to be millions of dollars to ensure the fight happens.
Both Crawford and Porter have yet to make their 2021 debuts. The undefeated belt holder has continued to destroy his competition in the ring but has faced heavy criticism for whom he decides to take on. In November of 2020, the Omaha native destroyed former titlist, Kell Brook. Although at one point Brook was considered one of the best welterweights in the world, he has long been a shell of his former self.
The former three-division titlist has chased after the big names in the division including Errol Spence Jr. and Manny Pacquiao. But, he’s also made it clear that a matchup with Porter is one that he would be more than willing to accept.
As for Porter, if the fight with Crawford is made, he’ll look to pick up the biggest scalp of his career. Since coming up short against Spence Jr. in September of 2019, he’s bounced back with a dominant win over fringe contender Sebastian Formella in August of 2020.