Terence Crawford vs Kell Brook Preview
By Sina Latif
On Saturday night at the MGM Grand Conference Center, one of boxing’s pound-for-pound elite Terence Crawford (36-0, 27 KO’s) will be making the fourth defence of his WBO welterweight title against former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook (39-2, 27 KO’s).
The version of Kell Brook who took Shawn Porter’s IBF title in 2014 is more than capable of giving ‘Bud’ serious issues, but that is a long time ago. Since then Brook has taken damaging beatings from Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr, and has been largely inactive since.
However, this opportunity can salvage his entire legacy and career overnight. It is a defining fight for Brook.
Crawford is a consensus top 3 P4P fighter who possesses a rare combination of grace and savagery, a fighter with immense skills, with the punching power and killer instincts to match.
That rare blend of graceful beauty and killer instinct is one possessed by the most special of past fighters such as Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard. But the great Sugar Ray’s proved their rare, special qualities against the best of their era’s, against great fighters. Crawford still needs the opportunity to display his greatness against a worthy dance partner.
An in-prime Brook will make this a very interesting and competitive fight for Crawford to prove his skill-set against, but a faded Brook will not provide Crawford with such an opportunity.
In Crawford’s last outing, Egidijus Kavaliauskas surprised everybody in providing sterner opposition than expected, but Crawford stayed patient amidst some rocky moments in the early rounds to stop his determined opponent later in the fight after a shoot-out.
Against ‘Mean Machine’ a man who certainly lived up to his nickname on the night, Crawford proved he can go to the trenches against a capable welterweight. Bud is not only an utterly skilled fighter, but a mean one. A boxer who can really fight.
Brooks’ main advantage has to lie in his natural size.
Brook is a fully-fledged welterweight who has been fighting at 154lbs in his last three fights since losing to Errol Spence Jr. Crawford started his career as a lightweight.
Whether this could be to Brooks’ advantage or disadvantage against Crawford at 147 is unknown. It is no secret that Brook has struggled to make the welterweight limit for years.
Brook suffered broken eye sockets to both eyes in his back-to-back defeats to the then middleweight king Golovkin and Spence. The Spence loss on home soil will have been particularly emotionally devastating.
Therefore, his desire and courage to return for such a monumental challenge has to be applauded.
At first glance, this, against Crawford, is the toughest challenge of them all.
Add Crawford’s ability and form to Brooks’ past struggles to make 147, and this may be an up-hill battle for the Brit, and we haven’t considered the absence of long-time trainer Dominic Ingle from the corner yet and the potential impact of that on the night. Will that make a difference?
Does a victory against Brook do anything for Crawford’s legacy? Probably not. The only way that would happen is if Brook produces a career-best performance on the night, which means Bud would have to earn the victory the hard way.
That is the only way Crawford would receive credit for a win. Otherwise, this is a fight against a perceptively over-matched opponent for Crawford to make some money and set up some potentially huge fights in 2021, as long as boxing politics allows such.
If Brook has been able to reach weight comfortably, he is a threat in this fight. With a 74 inch reach, Crawford has great length for a welterweight, but he is not a big welterweight. Brook has respectable power and the skills to match. Whether Brook can produce his best for one last special night is the key question regarding the Brit.
With Crawford, he is one of those select few fighters you pick out from an era as someone who can be truly great, one of the best of his generation, as well as being one of the most exciting. However, if Crawford’s career was to end without him having had the opportunity to prove his greatness against an elite opponent, it would truly be a shame. If Bud’s skill-set can be as equally effective against the best of the best, this man stands amongst the most special fighters in history.
Ideally, Brook brings his best and both men throw down. If Crawford wins, he should get credit for defeating a credible opponent. If Brook pulls off the huge upset, he deserves all the praise in the world.
The power, seemingly, and size advantage lies with Brook. But Crawford is supremely talented and the most complete fighter in the world today. He can box, fight, is equally as good on the inside and outside, is equally as effective fighting from the orthodox or southpaw stance and makes the transition seamlessly, carrying equal power in both hands.
Crawford is also a very well-balanced fighter, hence the constant ‘equality’ of everything. Not to mention the undefeated Nebraskan also has the speed advantage with faster feet and hands and is the best finisher in the sport today. Will the pressure eventually take its toll on the Brit when facing such an aggressive yet slick technician?
Brook is a veteran of the sport now, with the ability and prior experience of elite-level boxing. History can show you declining veterans turning back the clock. Brook can be one of them, but he will certainly have to live up to that moniker more than ever before.