IBHOF inductee and boxing gambling expert Graham Houston seeks the betting value in tonight’s fascinating 147lbs showdown between WBO king Terence Crawford and two-time champion Shawn Porter.

On paper, tonight’s big welterweight title fight in Las Vegas between Terence Crawford and Shawn Porter goes the distance. But fights are fought in the ring, not on paper. Perhaps Crawford can deliver the sort of performance that surprises most pundits and becomes the first to stop the seemingly blast-proof Porter. But let’s examine what the betting options are.

Crawford, obviously, is a firm favourite. Betfred has him priced at 1/8 (-800). That’s a hefty admittance ticket. If you feel the rugged, seasoned and strong Porter can pull off the upset, Betfred offers the underdog at 5/1 (+500). 

When this fight was announced I was thinking on the lines of Crawford to win by 12-round decision.  With the fight hours away, I’m not so sure about the decision idea. But I do see Crawford as the winner.

“Bud” Crawford is what bettors like in a fighter. He is a precise, skilled, sharp-punching fighter who boxes equally well as a southpaw or in the orthodox posture. While Crawford has been shaken up in a couple of fights (notably against the heavy-handed Egidijus Kavaliauskas), he is tenacious and he comes back strongly. Rocked early by Kavaliauskas, he coolly and calmly regrouped and proceeded to break down his man for a ninth-round. TKO 

Crawford has stopped his last eight opponents after having to go 12 rounds against the tall, awkward and durable Viktor Postol, who basically boxed to go the distance. There’s a mean streak in Crawford, which if we’re honest we like to see in a fighter. If he has an opponent hurt he will usually ramp up the pressure. He’s 34 years old and I don’t detect any hint of decline. Crawford absolutely wrecked Kell Brook in four rounds in his last fight.

Porter is also aged 34. He’s never been stopped and we think of him as having one of the best chins in boxing. But Adrien Broner dropped him with a left hook in the closing moments of their 12-round bout in 2015 and Porter suffered a flash knockdown against Errol Spence Jr. So, as undeniably tough as Porter is, it’s not as if he can’t be chin-checked.

Now, we have to respect Porter. He always gives his all. “Showtime” Shawn has lost three times but each time he was right in the contest. He’s never been dominated. And while Porter can be highly effective with a crowding, bulling style, he can also move, box and look flashy. He’s not an easy out for anyone. But Crawford overall looks the superior ring mechanic and simply the more dangerous of the two men. And while Porter could be considered Crawford’s sternest test, the special fighters rise to the occasion. And I see Crawford as a bit special. 

I believe Crawford and Porter are friends outside the ring but I don’t think that will spill over into the fight. Neither man will want to lose.

This is the biggest fight Crawford has been in, up to now. It’s a PPV fight in the US (although British viewers can see it with no extra charges on their Sky Sports subscription). This is a big-stage fight that could greatly elevate Crawford’s star power — if he can deliver a stunning showing. Can he do it? Well, the oddsmaker obviously feels it is a possibility because we are not being offered super-generous odds on a Crawford stoppage victory.

Of course, many might feel that if Errol Spence Jr, Keith Thurman and a peak Kell Brook couldn’t halt Porter, then neither will Crawford. If this is your position on the fight, you might be interested in the decision  proposition at 5/6 (-120). Fight to go the distance is a general price of 4/7 (-175).

For those who feel that this is going to be a big-drama night for Bud, the Crawford KO/TKO proposition is offered at 6/4 (+150) while “Distance — No” is available at a general price of 11/10 (+110).

Of all the propositions on the market, I lean towards Crawford KO/TKO as the best value. Porter is capable and experienced, but if he takes it to Crawford he’s likely to get sharply countered. And if Porter tries to box on the outside, I believe he will get walked down. I do see Porter having good moments in the fight but I sense that the real damage will be inflicted by Crawford and that, slowly but surely, he will impose his authority to such an extent that the referee will feel obliged to step in.

Main image: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.