Terence Crawford overcomes slow start, stops Kell Brook in 4 rounds
Kell Brook couldn’t have scripted a better start for himself. Using his quick, well-timed jab and noticeable size advantage, the former IBF welterweight titleholder appeared to win the first two rounds against the heavily-favored Terence Crawford.
In boxing, though, it only takes one punch.
A Crawford right jab out of the southpaw stance caught Brook lunging in, rocking him to his boots, and sending his head through the ropes. Referee Tony Weeks ruled it a knockdown, saying that the ropes had kept Brook on his feet, but the outcome had already been decided. Crawford jumped right on Brook, landing three overhand lefts that convinced Weeks to stop the fight at the 1:14 mark.
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“What happened?,” Brook asked his cornermen immediately afterwards.
The challenger had been up 29-28 on two scorecards at the time of the stoppage, while Crawford led by the same score on the third card.
With the win, Crawford (37-0, 28 knockouts) of Omaha, Nebraska retains the WBO welterweight title for the fourth time, while Brook (39-3, 27 KOs) of Sheffield, England, sees his three-fight winning streak snapped.
“I was just trying to gauge the distance, he had good distance and I was trying to find my rhythm in between getting my distance together,” said Crawford, 33. “That’s why it was so competitive at first, I couldn’t get my shots off.”
“This is boxing, I obviously got caught with a shot I didn’t see,” said Brook, who was stopped twice in 2017, by Gennadiy Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr. “That’s never happened to me before, but I’ve always said if I’m in a fight and I’m gonna lose, I’m gonna go out on my shield.”
With the Brook fight behind him, Crawford’s discussed the future during his post-fight interview. It had been reported that he could be leaving Top Rank after his contract expires but Crawford didn’t comment on that, instead stating his intention to face Manny Pacquiao next. A Crawford-Pacquiao fight had been talked about when the pair were with Top Rank, but Pacquiao has since left and fought his last two bouts with Premier Boxing Champions, which also handles top welterweights like Spence, Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter.
“We were close to securing a Pacquiao fight, but being that the Covid was getting out of hand, the fans couldn’t attend the fight, so we had to put a halt to it and decided to go with Kell Brook,” said Crawford. “Now we’re gonna go to the drawing board to try to revisit that fight with Manny Pacquiao.”
Promoter Bob Arum, who was standing beside Crawford, had told the Associated Press this week that he had “closed the deal” for the fight to be held in Qatar but it was pulled when the minister of health said fans would not be allowed to attend.
“Now they’ve called us and said, ‘if Terence is successful, we want to resume the talks and see if we can do it in the spring, either before or after Ramadan,'” said Arum.
Arum also addressed a potential Crawford fight against the IBF and WBC welterweight titleholder Spence, who is set to fight Danny Garcia on December 5 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Arum went into full-on promoter mode, claiming that Crawford would beat both Spence and Garcia in the same night, while comparing Crawford to Sugar Ray Leonard and Thomas Hearns.
“Errol Spence will try to avoid Terence Crawford as long as he can because he knows he can’t beat Terence Crawford,” said Arum. “You saw the performance tonight, he’ll take out Errol Spence in about the same number of rounds like he took out Kell Brook.”
Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected]