Following an SEC College Football game Terence Crawford and Kell Brook lock horns this Saturday night in the main event on ESPN. For Terence, Kell represents the best opponent he will have faced at the welterweight division serving as a great measuring stick. For Kell Brook, it means a variety of things but most certainly a shot to topple one of the very best boxers in the entire sport. The co-feature is a rematch between Joshua Franco and Jason Moloney. A bunch of football games for the week are suspended or postponed, combined with a healthy lead in so this Top Rank card should capture a large audience as they did last month for Lomachenko/Lopez.
Most of the fight week camp has centered around two things, one is wondering what form of Kell Brook will show in the ring and the other is Crawford’s future with his current promoter. Let’s begin with the latter which surprisingly came up during a ‘Bud’ interview on Brian Custer’s podcast. Custer didn’t even need to back him up in a corner as Terence casually claimed his contract with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. would be up in a few months to vaguely a year. The follow up was as direct as it gets and Crawford stood firmly, his promoter needs to get him the big fights he yearns or he is forced to walk across the street.
Of course, Terence did have a chance to be a free agent a few years back but decided to stay with his partner who brought him to the dance. Now it seems Crawford’s patience is running thin so will leave it there to see if in fact Manny Pacquiao or Errol Spence is on the docket for 2021. As far as which Kell Brook will enter the ring on Saturday is difficult to know exactly. If you ask the folks who set the betting lines they assume the best days are well behind Kell Brook. The lowest number I could find was Brook as a +700 all the way over +1000, in this podcasters mind a super live dog.
As this prediction article is coming together Kell Brook made weight right on the nose and his body looks healthy. His face did show possible signs of weight drain in a close-up shot of an interview but we won’t really know until the lights come on. The reason for the worry about Kell’s weight spawns from him not making welterweight since May of 2017 against Errol Spence. After his TKO loss to Spence the Sheffield, England native vowed to move up to junior middleweight, unfortunately since rising in weight he hasn’t fought at single top-level 154-pounder in a stacked division. Another item worth noting is the two separate orbital bone injures he sustained in fights with Gennadiy Golovkin and Errol Spence.
Many in the boxing world think Brook’s eye will not last the full 12-rounds making it almost elementary that Crawford will stop him at some point. One thing I’m not is a doctor and although that sentiment seems to line up with reality let us not forget how he performed in those two losses. At middleweight Kell Brook was out of place but that didn’t prevent him from landing a bunch of clean punches on Golovkin. It’s easy to overlook because of the eye issues but let’s not forget how well Brook was doing through 8 rounds in his bout in front of a jammed-packed Bramall Lane stadium bordering on 30,000 in attendance against Errol Spence.
Anyone scoring the Spence/Brook fight would be hard pressed not to have it a draw or maybe 5-3 in favor of Errol. Here’s what we should focus on as it pertains to what Kell Brook has left of his fighter spirit. Even after getting hurt in general and the injury to the eye, Kell still summoned the strength to stage two rallies when it looked like it was curtains. Without taking serious damage from fighting mediocre opponents Kell should be ready to roll for one last push down the stretch of his career that includes disarming the abrasive Shawn Porter taking his best assets away.
Terence Crawford is looking to make a statement but from the sounds of it, won’t sacrifice a smart game plan in the early goings. The switch-hitting Omaha born and bred Crawford will likely take his time and not overextend trying to go for a knockout. Bud will use his sharp jab, pot shots, and counter punches with both hands. All the while circling and pivoting away from danger until he begins to open up on Brook. Once he finds his range and exploits Kell’s defensive holes then we may see Crawford pushing for a stoppage.
On the other hand Kell Brook will also apply an effective jab as he tries to follow it up with a straight right hands and left hooks. Both fighters have great timing and prefer fight in the center of the ring, one can only assume Kell will take the lead first by attempting to take the ring by inching towards rather then head first full-steam ahead. Both Spence and Porter played the aggressor role but Kell had more success stopping Shawn in his tracks with accurate punching & clinching on the inside.
Size is a factor for two reasons: obviously Brook is the naturally bigger 147-pounder but it remains to be seen if he can use it to wear down & lean on Bud in close quarters. If Crawford fights with his mind and not his heart it’s unlikely he will allow Brook to hold as much as he did versus Porter. The second size factor is something barley anyone is about talking about, Crawford has a 5-inch reach advantage which will play a major part in his successes as long as he uses it.
We’ve seen Crawford get hurt or buzzed on several occasions by Yuriorkis Gamboa, Raymundo Beltran, Thomas Dulorme, and most recently Egidijus Kavaliauskas. However, early in his career on HBO Terence seemed to take more risks thus more open to income shots. At 140 and at welterweight he has tightened up his defense for the most part. Also, how many rounds has Crawford even lost at 147 let alone in his 36 pro bouts?
It appears Kell is taking this one seriously and not just wanting to cash out, if that is the case on fight night this hack-of-a-scribe could see a 3-3 possibly 4-2 type fight that Crawford will make the correct adjustment in the second half. Brook has a great set of whiskers so barring another eye closure Kell should make it to the last bell on his feet.
My Official Prediction is Terence Crawford by Unanimous Decision or late TKO Stoppage.
Side Note: Keep an eye on the Franco vs. Moloney 2, which was a sure victory for Franco but stood out as the most entertaining fight from Top Rank’s summer bubble shows.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & TheGruelingTruth.Com Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio