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Unbeaten Terence Crawford made a successful defence of his WBO welterweight title on Saturday, stopping Shawn Porter by knocking the challenger down twice in the 10th round in Las Vegas.

Porter’s father and trainer, Ken, surprised the crowd at the Mandalay Bay casino by stopping the fight after the second knockdown to hand the 34-year-old Crawford his ninth-straight victory inside the distance.

“I was just the better man today,” said Crawford, who improved to 38-0, with 29 wins by knockouts. “I figured him out in round one. I figured I had the reach and that he had to take chances to get in.

“He was trying to maul and push me back but I used my angles to push him back as well.”

Crawford initially felled Porter with a left uppercut on the button that buckled his knees early in the 10th.

It was all over at 1:21 of the round, when Crawford’s overhand right to the side of the head sent Porter to the canvas for a second time, prompting his father to climb the steps and ask referee Celestino Ruiz to halt the contest.

Porter got up from the second knockdown and appeared to be ready to continue, but his father felt he had enough, saying later his son was fighting “blindfolded.”

“He didn’t prepare like I wanted him to prepare,” Ken Porter said. “It is like fighting this guy blindfolded when you are in a deficit like that.”

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Shawn Porter, who dropped to 31-4-1 with 17 KOs, didn’t argue with the decision.

“I didn’t expect it but we have an understanding of that. (Crawford) was catching me clean and my timing was a little off,” he said.

Crawford said it was just a matter of time before he or the referee was going to end it.

“I saw in his face that he was really hurt. His dad did right thing. I was coming with vengeance,” said Crawford, who is now 16-0 in world championship fights.

The fight was close through the first nine rounds with both fighters suffering cuts over their eyes due to accidental head butts. Their corners did a good job of stopping the bleeding between rounds so the fighters could continue.

– Fighting blindfolded –

Porter was the more aggressive fighter from the outset and won several of the early rounds.

In his usual style, he came at Crawford like a pit bull, exerting pressure and trying to cut the ring off so he lands combinations.

But Crawford showed he is a vicious body puncher and a tremendous finisher and he did it against an elite opponent. He hopes to step up in class again as he seeks a title fight with two-belt champion Errol Spence, who was watching from ringside Saturday.

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Crawford has the lesser of the four major welterweight titles. Spence holds the IBF and WBC belts and Yordenis Ugas holds the WBA title.

Crawford is considered one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world but, despite his impressive resume, faces persistent criticism over the quality of some of his opponents. This win over former two-time welterweight champ Porter should silence those critics.

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He was the undisputed champion at super lightweight, held a lightweight belt and is now 6-0 with six knockouts as a welterweight.

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