The WBO has ordered a welterweight title bout between their champion, Terence Crawford and number-one contender and two-time champion Shawn Porter.
The WBO officially sent notice to Top Rank (Crawford) and TGB Promotions (Porter) Wednesday evening.
“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.”
The two sides will have until August 20 to reach an accord in order to avoid a purse bid hearing. Per WBO rules, a purse bid can be requested at any time during negotiations, particularly if one side deems such talks as unproductive.
In the event the fight goes to a purse bid, the minimum accepted amount will be $200,000, although such a fight is likely to create a bidding war.
Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) is a three-division titlist and among the sport’s best pound-for-pound fighters but who has seen his career progress stall over the course of his lengthy WBO welterweight title reign. The switch-hitter from Omaha, Nebraska claimed the belt in a ninth-round knockout of unbeaten Jeff Horn in June 2018, having since lodged four successful defenses.
In his most recent start, Crawford stopped former IBF welterweight titlist Kell Brook in the fourth-round of their ESPN-televised title fight last November at MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.
Crawford entered the welterweight division as the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, or at least on the short list for that status. Despite remaining unbeaten, his reign has drawn criticism over failure to land fights with the best in his division. Most of the best competition fights under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) umbrella, including unified WBC/IBF titlist Errol Spence Jr. (27-0, 21 KOs) who has since emerged as the division’s top-rated fighter.
Among the notable PBC welterweights is Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs), a two-time titlist who has since emerged as the number-one contender in the WBO rankings. Porter previously held the IBF title before losing to Brook in August 2014, and then returning to the title stage following a decision win over former two-division champion Danny Garcia in September 2018.
Porter managed one successful defense of the title before narrowly losing to Spence in their Fight of the Year-level war of a two-belt unification bout in September 2019. The supremely gifted boxer and expert analyst has since lodged a twelve-round shutout win of Sebastian Formella in a WBC title eliminator last August on Fox TV from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
The win over Formella came after an early pandemic discussion about a possible showdown with Crawford. The conversation was more about the pair of welterweights—who are friendly outside the ring—allowing each other to understand where they stand on such a subject, though without such a fight never materializing.
They will now have to talk for real, as fighters cannot entertain other offers once a mandatory title fight has been ordered. Crawford would have to file for an exception in order to pursue a voluntary title defense, although such a request would likely be denied since his last mandatory title defense came in December 2019, when he scored a knockout win over unbeaten Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
In lieu of a traditional 80/20 purse split, Porter would be entitled to 40% of the total pot in the event the fight goes to a purse bid hearing, with Crawford due the remaining 60%. The ruling was made after an extensive evaluation of the previous three fight purses earned by each boxer, a policy occasionally enforced by the WBO Championship Committee when challengers such as Porter boast exceptional credentials.