Terence Crawford makes the fourth defense of his WBO World Championship belt as he takes on Kell Brook on Saturday, an unexpected chance for both fighters in a special and unusual year.
The unbeaten Crawford may have hoped that a greater name will be in the opposite corner, but circumstances—including a coronavirus pandemic that ensures that this bout would take place in the Top Rank MGM Grand Bubble in Las Vegas—have contrived against him.
So, rather than possibly not be in play at all in 2020, “Bud” now faces Brook, a recent 147-pound champion who strives to show that he’s not finished at the highest level.
The Englishman also knows how to make a major performance in the United States, having dethroned Shawn Porter to win the IBF belt earlier in his career. However the incredible point victory was six years ago; since then, Brook has suffered significant injuries in and out of the arena, as well as a giant jump to take a courageous shot at Gennadiy Golovkin.
His days of welterweight campaigning were over when his divisional dominance ended three years ago by Errol Spence Jr., one of Crawford’s warriors wishes that he will finally face a lucrative unification showdown.
Brook’s fight for weight did not support him when he took Spence, nor did the affected left eye suffer during the operation. Previously, he had sustained a fractured orbital bone in his right eye against Golovkin, resulting in injuries during his first career defeat.
A product of the famed Ingle Gym in Sheffield, England, the challenger now has a new trainer—Carlos Formento will be leading his corner—and a renewed commitment to grasp the momentum that has come his way.
“I also feel that this is the best moment because I’m a professional, I’m no longer taking corners and there’s no room for error,” Brook said to Stats Perform News.
“It’s just getting to the perfect stage where I’m disciplined, I’m focused, and I know what it takes to be the best in the world.”
Brook was dead-on 147 pounds at Friday’s weigh-in, silencing all concerns about future scale problems. With preparation done, he’s now got to overcome the boxing conundrum that Terence Crawford is. So far all the rest of the time to take the exam has come up short.
History of the latest
Crawford fought twice in 2019, stopping both longtime Brook foe Amir Khan and Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the distance. He won the WBO strap the previous year, defeating Jeff Horn after a sensational Australian upset over Manny Pacquiao, another possible adversary in the near future.
Yet, despite being a three-weight world champion on a 36-stroke winning streak, the switch-hitting southpaw also seems to be seeking a career-defining outing that takes it past the interests of boxing fans and into the general consciousness.
Beating Brook is not going to do that but Crawford has shown no signs of taking his next enemy lightly. There’s so much on the table to think at this weekend.
Brook looks fine on the scales, but he hasn’t fought against welterweight since the rough Spence defeat in May 2017. He had done well in the opening rounds on that day and although feeling much like his old self when Mark Deluca was put out in February of this year it was 154 pounds. It’s for him now or never, as he wishes that gambling in Vegas will pay off spectacularly.
The Story of the Band
Age: 33 years
Height: 5-8 cm
Weight: 146.4 kilos
Reach: 74 cm
Professional record: 36-0 (27 KO)
Significant career titles: WBO lightweight, WBA, WBC & IBF lightweight welterweight, WBO welterweight.
Well, Kell Brook
Age: 34 years
Height: 5-9 cm
Weight: 147 kilos
Achievement: 69 inches
Skilled record: 39-2 (27 KO)
Big Career Title: IBF Welterweight
“Make Weight We’re dealing with the weight, now we’re dealing with Crawford! #WarBrook #CrawfordBrook #And the latest #KellChapo pic.twitter.com/VWo6LuzKYK
—Kell Brook (@SpecialKBrook) 13 November, 2020.
The best of the rest on the bill is that Joshua Franco and Andrew Moloney clash in a much-anticipated Super Flyweight rematch.
Franco won the first meeting at the same venue in June, becoming the new WBA champion. It was a maiden defeat as a pro for Moloney; the Australian will be out on Saturday to take vengeance.
Unbeaten couple Raymond Muratalla and Tyler Howard are also in play, along with a fight between Joshua Greer Jr. and Edwin Rodriguez.
What the warriors have to say
On his legacy, Crawford said, “I’m going to be known as one of the greatest switch hitters ever wearing gloves. I’m going to be remembered as a real champion and anything else they call me—good and poor.”
Brook on his future: “I’m not looking at this battle as his last fight, or his last shot. I’m just going in and knowing that this is the best Kell Brook that’s going to challenge me this weekend, and I just have to care about what I can control to making sure I do everything in my power and my will to win the fight.”
“I’m not concerned about the crowd. I’m just worried about the fight itself. Once the fight starts, it will feel like home.”