Pound-for-pound great Terence Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) defends his WBO welterweight title against former champion Kell Brook (39-2, 27 KOs) on Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Crawford was first a champion at lightweight and then unified the super-lightweight division before moving up to welterweight in 2018. He took the WBO belt from Jeff Horn and defended it three times, all by stoppage. He is considered by some to be the best welterweight in the world but hasn’t managed to land the marquee fights that would allow him to prove it so far.
Brook had a four-fight reign as the IBF welterweight champion before he moved up and took a beating from Gennady Golovkin in which he suffered a broken orbital bone. He was stopped again (and broke the other orbital) in his return to welterweight by Errol Spence Jr. Since then he’s fought at super-welterweight against a lower level of competition. He did what he was supposed to do result wise, going 3-0 with two stoppages, but his performance wasn’t quite as convincing as it should be. He got touched up a bit more than he should have at points against the likes of Michael Zerafa and Mark DeLuca. At 34, his best days definitely seem to have passed and this fight might represent his last crack at the elite level.
Stylistically, Crawford might be the most well rounded boxer in the world. He can fight in both stances, generally using the southpaw stance to outbox opponents at distance behind his jab and switching to orthodox when he wants to turn up the volume and aggression. Brook is a good technician himself and the bigger man so the early goings of the fight should be very interesting but I expect Crawford’s versatility and volume to carry him to an overwhelming late stoppage win.
One hopes Crawford will get the career defining fights his talent deserves next, most notably against Errol Spence Jr. However, with most of the welterweight talent tied down to PBC, the outlook is looking bleak on that front unless Crawford can leave Top Rank and at 33, the clock is ticking.
The co-main event is a WBA super-flyweight title rematch between Joshua Franco (17-1-2, 8 KOs) and Andrew Moloney (21-1, 14 KOs). Franco upset Moloney in a very good fight this summer, Moloney outboxed Franco and built up a lead in the early rounds but Franco outworked him on the inside late in the fight and sealed a close decision win with a knock down in the eleventh round.
Moloney has shown his ability to outbox Franco and would have gotten a draw in the first fight without the knockdown. The rematch should be another tightly contested and entertaining fight but with a more careful approach denying the bigger Franco of as much opportunities to work on the inside than he did in June, I’d pick the Australian to edge out a win and regain his belt.
Crawford vs. Brook airs live on ESPN at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT on Saturday, November 14th.
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