WBO welterweight titleholder Terence “Bud” Crawford is set to defend his title once again this Saturday (Nov. 14, ESPN, 10 pm ET), facing ex-titlist Kell Brook, who hasn’t fought in the 147-pound division in over three years, but will give it another whirl in Las Vegas.
Crawford (36-0, 27 KO) is arguably the best welterweight in the world today, arguably the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world today, and will be a strong favorite to win. Can Brook (39-2, 27 KO) pull the big upset, throw himself back into the top tier of the 147-pound ranks, shock the world, as it were?
Our staffers make their picks.
I have said repeatedly that if Kell Brook is able to make 147 comfortably he will present some danger to Terence Crawford. So now that we’re at this point of talking about the fight, let me say:
- I have no confidence he will be able to make 147 comfortably enough to be at his best. Not saying he won’t or can’t, just that I wouldn’t bet a dime on that being the case.
- The danger he presents even if he does is merely relative to the danger Jeff Horn, Jose Benavidez Jr, and Egidijus Kavaliauskas presented.
Brook’s a good boxer and can punch at 147, and even at 154. He’s no scrub, I think if he is in good shape and all that, and Bud wins, it’s a solid win for Crawford, if not one that anyone was asking for let alone demanding. Crawford is just too good, I think; there have always been good fighters Brook can beat, and he did beat Shawn Porter, simple as that, and Porter remains a strong 147-pound contender these many years later. Style-wise, though, I think Crawford would always have been a big problem for Kell.
I think this should be a decent watch, though, in terms of action and all that. I don’t think Brook will just roll over easy and I do expect him to have some early bits of success, but Crawford will adjust, he will stay calm, he will feel it out, he will take over, and he will wear Brook out until the referee steps in late. It’s no disrespect to Kell Brook, I just think Terence Crawford is a special sort of fighter, and as good as Brook was and maybe even still is, he’s never quite been that, despite the nickname. Crawford TKO-11
In all fairness, I think this could prove to be one of Terence Crawford’s toughest fights. It’s quite clear to me that Brook’s best days are behind him, but Brook is still a big welterweight with good technical ability who should put up a stiffer test than most of Crawford’s opponents. Now whether or not Brook is good enough to win this fight is an entirely different story, and the short answer for me is no.
Brook won’t come into this fight intimidated by any means, but it’s hard for me to believe he’s going to be benefited by squeezing back down to 147lbs again. Crawford, on the other hand, needs to rack up whatever marquee wins he can with a bare welterweight cupboard under Top Rank. Brook was probably the biggest name fighter Crawford could pull right now, and I think he does the job to throw his name in with the PBC stable in the coming year. Crawford UD-12
How to Watch Crawford vs Brook
Patrick L. Stumberg
You could go back to the beginning of Brook’s career, comb through every discrete instance of him that has existed since then like a Tralfamadorian, and still not find one that consistently beats Crawford. The 2020 incarnation, who hasn’t dazzled in the ring since mauling Siarhei Rabchanka in 2018, is doomed. Crawford can reproduce the majority of Brooks’ best weapons, only faster, harder, and with almost half a foot of additional reach.
There’s just nothing in Brook’s arsenal that prompts the thought “how’s Bud going to deal with that?”. Even Brook’s potential weight advantage is offset by the fact that he’s making his first cut to 147 in 3.5 years. To his credit, he’s never been short on bravery, so I don’t expect him to go quietly; unfortunately, that just means more damage from one of the sport’s best finishers. Crawford beats him into submission late. Crawford TKO-10
Once again, Brook looks to have bitten off more than he can chew in an attempt to return to the top of the mountain. I’d love nothing more than for him to upset the odds against Crawford this weekend, but this feels like one last roll of the dice in a career underpinned by risk vs reward. Despite just two losses on his record – both in fights that took a massive toll on Brook’s body – Brook hasn’t recorded a notable win since beating Porter over six years ago. This, coupled with orbital bone injuries, and his shape-shifting up to middleweight, doesn’t bode well down at welterweight against Bud. Crawford has stopped 10 of his last 11 opponents, and despite the criticism surrounding his resume, is rightly considered one of the best in the business. His switch-hitting and elusiveness is bound to give Brook all sorts of issues – Brook’s decision to go it alone in this venture may be obvious early if plan A doesn’t work. Crawford is more than likely going to bamboozle Brook into a form of submission in the mid-to-late rounds. Crawford TKO-10