LAS VEGAS -- Terence Crawford jumped up and down in jubilation. Or maybe it was an exorcism. For years, he has been hounded by questions surrounding his résumé. No more.
Crawford notched the biggest win of his career on Saturday at Michelob Ultra Arena at Mandalay Bay with a 10th-round TKO victory over Shawn Porter to retain his WBO welterweight title.
The finish came at 1 minute, 21 seconds and marked the first time in Porter's career that he has been stopped.
Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) made his fifth consecutive title defense, but it didn't come easy -- far from it. Porter (31-4-1, 17 KOs) applied relentless pressure in a rugged, tit-for-tat battle before Crawford scored two knockdowns in Round 10, leading Porter's father and trainer, Kenny Porter, to throw in the towel.
Round 10: The fight is over! Porter goes down twice, the second after Crawford lands a pinpoint straight right over the top. Kenny Porter, Shawn's trainer and father, climbs onto the top rope and asks for the fight to end. Crawford wins and retain his WBO title.
Round 9: Crawford needed that one. That game plan for that round was simple for Crawford -- counter, rip and move. Crawford did a much better job of throwing straight punches and even though he wasn't terribly active, Crawford landed plenty of clean punches. 10-9 Crawford, 86-85 Porter.
Round 8: Porter with one of the best sequences of the fight. Porter threw a series of one-off, overhand right hooks that either grazed or landed on Crawford. It nullified Crawford's strong start to the round and likely will be one of the easiest scoring decisions for the judges so far. 10-9 Porter, 77-75 Porter.
Round 7: A very tough round to score, which is par for this fight. But what sealed that round for Porter might have been a right hook that seemed to catch Crawford pretty well in his corner. Crawford shrugged it off, which suggests that he felt it a little bit. 10-9 Porter, 67-66 Porter.
Round 6: Whatever Crawford heard in the corner spurred him into action in the sixth round. Almost immediately after the bell rang to start the round, Crawford started throwing more punches in easily his highest output of the fight so far. Crawford caught Porter with a good straight left out of the southpaw stance. But Crawford suffered a cut over the left eye, a result of an accidental head butt. Porter tried to muck it up in close range but Crawford had his strongest three minutes so far. 10-9 Crawford, 57-57.
Round 5: Porter is the one pressing the action right now while Crawford's inactivity could be an issue as the fight progresses. It wasn't always clean and pretty, but Porter's activity carried him through that round and was enough to win it, despite a late flurry from Crawford. 10-9 Porter, 48-47 Porter.
Round 4: Crawford is still looking for moments to counter the aggressive Porter. But in the meantime, Crawford is landing some big punches. Crawford hit Porter with a clean straight right out of the southpaw stance and got Porter trapped in the corner. 10-9, Crawford, 38-38.
Round 3: The first big moment of the fight. Porter caught Crawford with a big right hook and knocks Crawford to the ropes. A cut opened over Porter's right eye due to a clash of heads. 10-9 Porter, 29-28 Porter.
Round 2: Crawford switched southpaw, made an adjustment and started to measure Porter a little bit. Crawford was able to time Porter with some counterpunches in a round with some quality action that brings the crowd to its feet. Some good exchanges, but Crawford was sharper. 10-9 Crawford, 19-19.
Round 1: Shawn Porter was the aggressor early. That's always been his nature and it isn't changing tonight. Crawford spent the round trying to gauge Porter, but Porter banks the first three minutes. 10-9, Porter.
Falcao wins technical decision in IBF middleweight eliminator
Esquiva Falcao might have been given a blessing in disguise -- even if it was pretty painful.
An accidental head butt opened a cut on Falcao's forehead in the sixth round, and after he was unable to continue, Falcao scored a majority technical decision by scores of 58-56, 56-58, 58-57 over Patrice Volny.
The reactions from the clash spoke volumes about where the fight was potentially headed. Falcao (29-0, 21 KOs) acted in great agony, as if his forehead had been split open with an axe. Volny, meanwhile, cursed in the neutral corner as he knew his chance at a comeback had been halted.
Early in the fight, Falcao's speed and power seemed to be enough to carry him to an easy victory. Instead, the Brazilian and the No. 10 middleweight in ESPN's ranking was dragged into a tough fight.
Volny (16-1, 10 KOs) started to find his footing in his United States debut. The Canadian had a good flurry in the fifth round as a crowd that had little to cheer for started to perk up. But once the clash occurred and the cut opened, Falcao was ruled unable to continue and the fight went to the scorecards.
With the narrow win, Falcao won the IBF middleweight title eliminator and moves a step closer to perhaps a potential bout against Gennadiy "GGG" Golovkin, the IBF champion in the 160-pound division.
Alimkhanuly wins, doesn't shine in battle with N'Dam
Janibek Alimkhanuly's win over Hassan N'Dam might have raised more questions than answers surrounding the big middleweight prospect out of Kazakhstan.
Yes, Alimkhanuly cruised in an eighth-round TKO win over the veteran, and yes, he was never in any risk of losing. However, for someone highly touted such as Alimkhanuly (11-0, 7 KOs), it wasn't an ideal performance.
Early in the fight, N'Dam (38-6, 21 KOs) circled Alimkhanuly as he felt out his power. A third-round knockdown appeared to be the byproduct of a punch that short-circuited N'Dam's equilibrium.
But as the fight progressed, N'Dam stopped moving and was willing to stand in front of Alimkhanuly and trade punches, a sign that he wasn't as fearful of his opponent's power anymore. This is the same N'Dam who was knocked down three times by Callum Smith in a third-round TKO loss in 2019 and was sent down four times by David Lemieux in 2015.
Referee Kenny Bayless ultimately waved the bout off in the eighth round despite N'Dam not being seriously hurt. In the end, it was probably the right call. But even in the victory, Alimkhanuly showed that several aspects of his game can improve before he chases significant bouts later in his career.
Muratalla stays unbeaten, stops Araujo in Round 5
Undefeated prospect Raymond Muratalla took a small but important step in his pro career.
Against sturdy veteran Elias Araujo, Muratalla used a surge of momentum in the fifth round to score a TKO victory. The stoppage from referee Allan Huggins was unexpected and was not received well by either the fighters or the crowd, as Araujo was still throwing punches and hadn't gone down. Araujo threw his arms up in the air and stalked across the ring in protest while those in attendance vociferously booed the bout's finish.
But Muratalla (13-0, 11 KOs) did land some thunderous punches in that fifth round. A big left hook to the Argentinian's body sparked a flow of punches that landed clean. Araujo (21-4, 8 KOs) suffered a big gash over his left eye and a second cut under the same eye -- cuts that came from punches and were the source of steady bleeding.
Prior to Saturday night, Araujo had never been stopped in his previous three losses. As ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. read the decision and boos drowned out his voice, Araujo wept in the corner, still distressed about how the night ended.
Dogboe outpoints Diaz in all-action fight
In the buildup to Saturday night, the featherweight bout between Isaac Dogboe and Christopher Diaz was billed as the best fight on the Crawford-Porter undercard.
It lived up to the hype. In an action fight, Dogboe squeaked out a majority decision win, 97-93, 96-94, 95-95. Diaz was motionless as the scorecards were read and the crowd inside the Michelob ULTRA Arena had a mixed reaction to the decision.
Judge Tim Cheatham, who had the key 96-94 card, had Dogboe winning five of the final six rounds.
Dogboe (23-2, 15 KOs) showed why he was a former junior featherweight champion. The Ghanaian pressed the action in the second half of the fight and pressed Diaz (26-4, 16 KOs), who hails from Barranquitas, Puerto Rico. Between the fifth and the eighth rounds, Dogboe landed more than 50% of his power punches, according to CompuBox.
After the final bell, Diaz jumped on the ropes and celebrated, believing he won the fight. After the decision was read, Diaz walked past the ESPN TV crew and expressed his dismay with the decision. He ultimately blamed the loss on questionable judging.
Said Diaz: "We're in Las Vegas."
Lopez-Ochoa ends in no-decision after accidental clash of heads
An accidental clash of heads left Ochoa with a nasty gash over his right eye and resulted in a no-decision in the featherweight bout. The ringside doctor stopped the fight after the second round.
"I landed some good shots and was busting him up," Lopez said after the fight. "He was looking for a way out.
"This is so frustrating. I want to get back in the ring as soon as possible. I'm still ready to take on anybody in the featherweight division."
Lopez (15-3, 6 KOs), of Glendale, California, and Ochoa (12-2, 5 KOs), from Long Beach, California, were exchanging hard shots on the inside when their heads collided. Lopez was coming on strong toward the end of the second round but didn't receive the chance to follow up. He was fighting for the first time since a majority-decision loss to Isaac Dogboe. Ochoa scored a first-round knockout in his previous outing.
Balderas overwhelms, stops Cortez in Round 4
Junior lightweight Karlos Balderas saw a chance for a stoppage and took full advantage.
Balderas landed a flurry of punches on the overmatched Julio Cortez to pick up a fourth-round TKO win. Balderas (11-1, 10 KOs) stung the Ecuadorian with a right hook that opened the window for the stoppage. The prospect out of Santa Maria, California, zipped a left uppercut through Cortez's guard and whipped a right hand over the top that forced referee Raul Caiz Jr. to stop the fight.
The mismatch was apparent from the first round when Balderas hit Cortez (15-4, 11 KOs) with a right hand that knocked out Cortez's mouthpiece. Cortez was seriously hurt in the third round as Caiz hovered over the action but let Cortez make it to the bell. One judge scored the round 10-8 for Balderas.
Balderas, a 2016 U.S. Olympian, picked up his second stoppage win in as many fights after he suffered a TKO loss against Juan Rene Tellez in December 2019.
Johnson scores TKO victory in debut
Tiger Johnson dazzled in his pro debut and poured it on late for a big first victory. The welterweight prospect unleashed some big right hands to stop Antonius Grable in the first fight of Saturday's Terence Crawford-Shawn Porter undercard.
Johnson, who fights out of Cleveland, forced a stoppage at the 1:54 mark of the fourth round. Earlier in the round, Johnson scored a knockdown when a right hand popped the fighter out of Sarasota, Florida, and Grable's gloves touched the canvas. Grable (3-2-1, 3 KOs) was hurt again seconds later and the referee jumped in to stop the fight.
After the stoppage, Tiger went over to the ESPN broadcast crew and leaned over the ropes with a message for announcer Timothy Bradley Jr.: "I'm here."