Too often wrestlers say they can’t afford to lose when, in fact, they can afford to lose.
A loss is not the end for all fighters and the greatest have come back from significant career losses. All losses are not equal and there is often an overreaction about how much a loss damages a fighter’s future.
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Take, for example, Canelo Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant. Plant was never expected to win the fight. Of course, he did not want to lose and the spoils go to the victor, but the concept of a moral victory was applied. He made a good show of himself and will certainly be back, perhaps with more eyes on him now than before.
There are rarely fights that either of you can afford to lose because of how devastating the loss would be to your future.
Terence Crawford vs. Shawn Porter on November 20 in Las Vegas is one of those fights.
Why Terence Crawford Can’t Afford To Lose
If Terence Crawford loses to Shawn Porter, the appeal is gone. And maybe it wasn’t as good as we thought.
Although he was named the Fighter of the Year by ESPN and the Boxing Writers Association of America in 2014 (and again by ESPN in 2017), the reigning WBO welterweight champion is still looking for a signature victory. Critics have had every right to have their questions because, as good as Crawford may sound, his resume lacks an opponent who is respected for his accomplishments and accolades.
Shawn Porter is that opponent.
A two-time welterweight champion who has given all the opponents he has stepped into the ring hell with. With Manny Pacquiao retired, it can be argued that Porter has the most impressive resume of any fighter in the 147-pound weight class. And if it weren’t for Canelo, Porter might have the best resume in all of boxing. Although he hasn’t won all of his great fights, he has yet to be dominated by an opponent.
MORE: Betting Preview for Crawford vs. Porter
He defeated Danny Garcia, Yordenis Ugas, Adrian Broner and lost close decisions to Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr. and Kell Brook. In fact, 11 of his last 13 opponents were world champions.
There is nothing better than that. And a Crawford win opens the door wide for him to challenge Spence and the rest of the division in a bid to become undisputed in two divisions. You will no longer be able to deny it unless you are afraid. It’s that easy.
With all that said, you’d think Crawford could afford to lose given Porter’s credentials. Well, that’s certainly not the case. He has remained one of the top five pound-for-pound fighters without a marquee name on his resume because he has been so good inside the squared circle.
But what has not been proven by an opponent who has given 36 minutes of pressure to the best 147 pounds.
MORE: Crawford Questions Boxing Praise For Jake Paul
Crawford may have graduated with high honors from his bachelor’s degree in boxing, but now he has to prove himself Magna Cum Laude and earn his master’s in sweet science.
He has a chance to barely pass the test as Errol Spence and still be regarded as one of the best in the world or Porter’s aggressive style knocks him down and possibly gets knocked off the pound-for-pound list. Or, destroy Porter and he’s hands down the best dog in the division and once again in the conversation as the best fighter in the world.
More importantly, he will be a free agent. It’s no secret that Top Rank has fought to get him a marquee fight as opponents ranging from Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman and the recently retired Manny Pacquiao battled for a rival promotion. There is an expectation that Crawford will see what is across the street if he passes Porter. But at 34 and facing constant struggles to prove that he is a marketable star, a loss would be devastating to his future.
Bob Arum has spoken in less than flattering terms about Crawford, while PBC will have made his point that Crawford is not in the league of his current stable. Where does Crawford go if he loses all his influence?
You can’t afford to miss Saturday night.
Why Shawn Porter Can’t Afford To Lose
Boxing has been kind to Shawn Porter because Porter has been kind to the sport. He’s a fighter who doesn’t give a damn about politics and risks. He will fight anyone at any time. And if you get in the ring with Porter, it will be less fun for you than it is for him. He likes to attack opponents and force them to fight his fight. It is rare to find a Porter fight lacking in emotion and fans have had a chance to enjoy Porter’s bravery within the squared circle.
But eventually you I have to win the big one.
Porter is a two-time world champion who is 4-3 in major world title bouts. He fell a hair short against Keith Thurman, Kell Brook and Errol Spence Jr. And while those three fights were a round or two away from seeing Porter victorious, the fact is that he lost. The record books won’t explain how close you were and future generations just won’t care. Statistics are statistics.
The expectation is that Porter will give Crawford as much as he can, but he won’t get the job done. Bettors have set him up as a significant underdog despite his achievements in the ring. This is a sign that many people think their time is up. And if it ends up proving the naysayers right, the idea that Shawn Porter is one of the best welterweights in the world will probably be over.
Simply put, if he loses, he goes from contender to goalkeeper. He becomes the guy young fighters point to as a name for their resume. It is highly unlikely that he will find himself in a marquee fight like the A side and spend the rest of his career as an opponent. Jarron “Boots” Ennis and Vergil Ortiz will look to use Porter’s name as a stepping stone.
Nobody wants to be a stepping stone. But this is what Porter will look like if he can’t get the job done.
It is also possible that his hall of fame credentials are entirely dependent on this fight.
A win finds Porter back in the mix and rematches will have to be made with Yordenis Ugas and Errol Spence Jr. There will be reason to believe that Porter is absolutely one of the best fighters in the world and will undoubtedly break the pound-for-pound list with an exceptional performance.
But everything turns into a cloud of smoke if he loses.
As you can see, the pendulum swing for both fighters is extreme. Neither of them can afford to lose because their respective futures are highly dependent on what happens within those 12 rounds. The stakes are high on both sides and that’s reason enough to see what could be an incredible fight with Crawford and Porter’s respective futures at stake.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.