FIGHT PREVIEW: Terence Crawford v Kell Brook
Terence Crawford takes on Kell Brook in Las Vegas (PIC: Al Bello, Getty)

Terence Crawford (37-0) will be looking to defend his WBO Welterweight crown for a fourth time as he takes on Kell Brook (39-2) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night (14 November). 

The bout will take place within the Top Rank 'bubble', as per current standard COVID-19 procedure for any sanctioned boxing event in the state of Nevada.

  • Crawford steps into bustling Welterweight limelight once again

 

Saturday's title showdown will be the first time unbeaten Crawford has taken to the ring in just shy of a year. His last outing was in December of 2019, where he retained his belt with a 9th round TKO of tough Lithuanian fighter Egidijus Kavaliauskas at Madison Square Garden in New York. 

'Bud' moved up to Welterweight from Super Lightweight in 2018, a division in which he held undisputed champion status by overcoming Julius Indongo in his home state of Nebraska a year earlier.

A June '18 TKO victory over Australian Jeff Horn secured a WBO title that he's defended three times to date ahead of the meeting with Brook. 

Prior to the New York outing last annum, Crawford faced another British opponent in the shape of Bolton's Amir Khan in April, also at the prestigious Madison Square Garden. Khan lasted just six rounds before being pulled from the fight.

The southpaw champ's first ever defence at 147lbs took him back to his native state, and he duly put on a show for his home crowd by scoring a late stoppage victory over Jose Benavidez Jr.

Not only will the American want to prolong his reign as WBO king against Special K, but he'll undoubtedly want to put the division on notice after a year out and remind the competition why he deservedly sits amongst the pound-for-pound elite. 

Crawford will be looking to send that warning across the division by potentially going one better than IBF Welterweight champ Errol Spence Jr, who himself stopped Brook inside 11 rounds in 2017. 

A dominant victory would ramp up the pressure on the important promotional figureheads to potentially start negotiations over a unification with either WBC champ Shawn Porter, or the WBA 'Super' champion Manny Pacquiao. Spence Jr may well enter the frame if he were to come through his own 5 December clash with Danny Garcia.

  • Brook out to cause another stateside shock

 

Sheffield's Kell Brook is no stranger to a Welterweight world title fight on American shores as the challenger. 

Rewind to that night in California in 2014, where he produced arguably the performance of his career to dethrone Shawn Porter, who at the time was IBF Champion, and bring the coveted red strap back across the Atlantic to South Yorkshire. 

Six years on, Brook finds himself in a similar position, albeit without the safety net of a route back up to the top of the division if he were to lose. 

Many feel this could well turn out to be the Yorkshireman's last real shot at making any sort of impact at world level once again, and that the 147lbs landscape is significantly different from the one in which Brook soared to world champion status. 

Touted unification super-fights never materialised, and the initial welterweight journey saw him defend his belt in UK outings against the lesser-renowned figures of JoJo Dann, Birmingham's Frankie Gavin and Canadian Kevin Bizier in his home city of Sheffield.

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An unexpected yet monumental decision saw Kell move up two weight classes to challenge Gennadiy Golovkin for the WBC and IBF Middleweight titles in September 2016. He produced a battling display over five rounds at London's O2 Arena, but ultimately came up short against one of the 160lbs division's finest. 

That led him into yet another huge clash, this time back at 147lbs in the aforementioned showdown with Spence Jr at Bramall Lane, home of Brook's boyhood football club, Sheffield United. He suffered a broken orbital bone en route to defeat in the 11th, and on the back of losing his IBF crown to the impressive Texan, a move back up in weight swiftly followed. 

It's partly as to what makes this weekend's bout so intriguing if you look at it from a Brook persuasion. He hasn't fought at 147lbs since the Spence defeat in 2017, and the last three fights he's taken, all at the FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield, have been at the Light Middleweight threshold of 154lbs. 

154lbs is where the momentum is for Kell Brook, raising the question as to whether or not a division such as Light Middleweight with a current revolving door of champions would have been a much better fit to challenge for a world crown at this stage of his career rather than pitting his wits against someone with the calibre and ring IQ of Crawford.

Nonetheless, expect the former IBF king to enter Vegas as prepared as he's ever been in the bid to create further history and replicate one of his and British boxing's most famous nights on foreign turf.  

Will Crawford extend his unbeaten run and add another former world champ to his Welterweight resume, or will Kell Brook turn back the clock to produce yet another stunning upset on away soil to claim his second 147lbs world title?

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