Crawford could finally land top foe as WBO orders him to next fight Porter

The WBO on Wednesday ordered welterweight world titlist Terence Crawford to next make a mandatory defense against Shawn Porter, which — if the fight is made — will finally give Crawford a chance to square off with a top 147-pound opponent.

In a letter the WBO sent to Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, Crawford’s promoter, and TGB Promotions president Tom Brown, who represents Porter, the sanctioning body said they have 30 days to negotiate an agreement.

“If an accord is not reached within the time frame stated herein, a purse bid will be ordered,” the letter said.

The minimum acceptable bid for a WBO welterweight title fight is $200,000, although if Crawford-Porter goes to an auction the winning bid surely would bring several million dollars. Either side can stop negotiating and request a purse bid at any time during the 30 days.

The WBO also said that the purse split of a potential bid will be 60-40 in Crawford’s favor.

Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs), 33, of Omaha, faced top opponents during his title reigns at lightweight and junior welterweight but he has not been able to land a top opponent since moving up to welterweight and winning the WBO title from Jeff Horn in 2018.

In four successful defenses, Crawford has faced Jose Benavidez Jr., Egidijus Kavaliauskas and a pair of faded former world titleholders in Amir Khan and, in his most recent fight, Kell Brook in November.

Top Rank has penciled Crawford’s next fight in for Oct. 23 in what is the final bout on his promotional agreement unless they agree to an extension.

Former two-time welterweight titleholder Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs), 33, of Las Vegas, and longtime friend Crawford have discussed with each other the possibility of fighting but it had not come to fruition.

Porter was surprised the fight was ordered, writing on social media on Wednesday night, “Not something I was expecting, but you know I always stay ready to give the fans what they want. CLOCK STARTS NOW!”

Crawford has been aced out of facing top welterweights, all of whom are with Premier Boxing Champions, including Porter, unified titlist Errol Spence Jr., living legend Manny Pacquiao and former titleholders Keith Thurman and Danny Garcia.

There had been a deal for him to face Pacquiao in the United Arab Emirates but that deal fell apart when the money the group looking to bring the fight there did not come through and Pacquiao wound up making a deal to fight Spence on Aug. 21.

But with Porter being installed as Crawford’s mandatory challenger it could mean a major fight for Crawford at welterweight and another big fight for Porter.

Porter’s second title reign ended when he got knocked down in the 11th round and lost a split decision to Spence in a unification fight in September 2019. Porter has fought once since, a shutout 12-round decision over Sebastian Formella last August.

Porter also owns wins over former titleholders Garcia and Adrien Broner and current titlist Yordenis Ugas. He suffered a close decision loss to Thurman.

Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

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