Many experts’ Pound-For-Pound No. 1, undefeated WBO Welterweight champion Terence Crawford, cooled Kell Brook’s hot start and stopped the former champ in a fierce fourth round
LAS VEGAS (November 14, 2020) — Terence Crawford finally made his return to the ring to face former Welterweight champion Kell Brook. Crawford casually panned boxing in front of empty seats at the outset of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Several months later he entered the ring for his first fight of 2020 in front of a small section for his family and close friends. And then roughly 130 other observers.
Brook hadn’t made 147 in three years – his failed defense of his IBF in late-May 2017. Before that, Brook was at 147 in March 2016 for his third defense of that title. In September 2016 he boldly went up 13 pounds to face Middleweight king Gennadiy Golovkin. He suffered a fractured right eye socket in the fifth round stoppage. He fought twice in 2018, and then stopped Marc De Luca in February. Brook sat out 2019.
Inside of Top Rank’s Bubble in the MGM Grand Conference Center combatants Crawford and Brook had to decide who was the better man.
Brook (36-3, 27 KOs) fought surprisingly well through the first two stanzas, especially considering his inactivity over the past couple of years. Brook’s jab kept Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) at bay, and it temporarily nullified the champion’s 5-inch reach advantage.
Crawford’s eye began to swell in Round 3, so the champion started switching into his southpaw stance to slow up Brook’s momentum. The 33-year old from Omaha, Nebraska started working behind his lead right hand. Brook’s offense dropped off noticeably. With him growing gun shy and looking to adjust Crawford set up. Next, he stood in and caught Brook with a short right hand that the Briton stepped right into. Brook took a couple of wide steps off to his right, clearly hurt, and he stumbled face-first into the ropes. Referee Tony Weeks stopped the action as Brook was coming out of the ropes, and started a 10-count.
Brook was badly hurt. He passed Weeks’ evaluation and the fight continued. Crawford moved in with a finishing flurry. Brook failed to recover and defend himself. Weeks intervened and halted the fight.
With the fourth round stoppage Crawford picked up his 37th win, cementing his status as the top fighter in the world.
The first bell rang and both guys did very little through the first 60 seconds. Crawford ducked down to shoot a jab to Brook’s body as one of the bout’s first risks. The two stood toe-to-toe trading jabs. Brook connected with a jab to Crawford’s body. He landed more jabs to Crawford’s head. Crawford switched to southpaw quickly over the final minute, threw some left jabs with minimal effect.
Both men threw several upper body feints to open Round 2. Brook’s timing was exceptional. His early success influenced Crawford to switch back into the southpaw where flicked some right jabs. Again, to little effect.
Crawford opened Round 3 in the southpaw stance. The champion’s right jab was busier and often doubled up. Brook shot some lead shots with his right hand. Both fighters connected with right hands to close the round. Crawford’s right eye showed a bit of swelling – the product of Brook’s jab.
Early in Round 4 Crawford’s varying of his jab paid off tremendously. After mixing in double jabs, as well as some singles, the champion finally got outside of Brook’s left shoulder to blast him with a right hook that sent the challenger back several feet into the rope. Brook had stepped in to throw a right hand. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to start a 10-count as the ropes held Brook upright.
Once Weeks signaled the two men to fight Crawford moved in to close the show on the badly injured Brook. The champion moved in quickly, stopped short and threw in some feints to open Brook up for his finishing combination. A series of shots, including a flush overhand right, went without response from Brook. With Brook essentially defenseless Weeks stepped in and stopped the bout at 1:14.
All photos by Mikey Williams/Top Rank