Terence Crawford maintained his unbeaten professional career and defended his WBO Welterweight title with a fourth round TKO victory over Kell Brook in Las Vegas on Saturday evening.
The Nebraskan moves to 37-0 having taken care of Sheffield's Brook in destructive fashion, and will have one eye a potential unification on the back of his fourth defence of the belt.
Positive start for the Brit, but Crawford proves too strong
Former IBF Champion Brook started positively at the MGM Grand, maintaining range early on with a stiff jab as Crawford seeked an opening which wasn't to be that far incoming.
Brook continued to enforce himself on the American in the second, utilising the jab once again although by that point Crawford had began to up the pace and had landed some nice combos. That pattern continued, as the champion grew into the fight with some neat combinations inside, despite being caught by a sharp straight right down the pipe from Brook.
Crawford responded with venom, setting the wheels in motion to continue his perfect record within the professional ranks.
A fizzing right hook sent the challenger sprawling into the ropes, signalling the beginning of the end as Crawford sensed blood. Brook made the count, but was seized upon by a vicious, trademark 'Bud' flurry of punches on the follow up that referee Tony Weeks deemed enough to bring the contest to an end at 1:14 into the fourth.
Crawford gave an interview with broadcaster ESPN following his defence:
"I was trying to gauge my distance. He had good distance.
"I was trying to find my rhythm. That is why it was so competitive at first. I couldn't get my shots off."
The Omaha fighter admitted he was looking to secure a unification with Filipino legend, and current WBA 'Super' Welterweight champion, Manny Pacquiao next.
"We were close to securing a Pacquiao fight prior to this fight but, being that Covid was getting out of hand and fans couldn't attend the fight, we had to put a halt to it. Now, we're going back to the drawing board and try to revisit that fight."
Brook also gave his thoughts following his loss in Nevada:
"I got caught with a shot that I didn't see. I have always said that if I am in a fight, and am going to lose, I am going to go out on my shield."
Video review controversy in chief support
Australian Andrew Moloney will be wondering quite how he isn't the WBA Super Flyweight king once again after a controversial ending to his title rematch with Joshua Franco.
The rematch was scheduled for 12 championship rounds as the chief support to Crawford v Brook, and former champ Moloney may well feel he has been denied a fair and clear result on the back of a decision made by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Franco's eye swelled up significantly in the opening two rounds leading to the San Antonio based American being unable to take the ring in the third. Referee Russell Mora deemed the swelling to be caused by an accidental headbutt, but with new technological rules adopted including the use of video review, this looked to show clear evidence that it was in fact a stiff jab from Moloney that caused the eye to shut.
The state commission trawled footage for over 26 minutes- footage that showed no clear signs of a headbutt to the affected eye of Franco- and instead pointed towards the outcome that Moloney should be declared the winner via TKO to reclaim his WBA crown.
That wasn't the case, with the referee's original decision being upheld to confirm that the bout ended in a no-contest.
Both Moloney and promoter Bob Arum were visibly disappointed at the decision, and the Melbourne fighter made his feelings known with ESPN post-fight:
"I can't believe they took this away from me. I've trained my arse off the last five months, been away from my family. I can't believe they didn't give it to me. I can't believe they're taking this away from me.
"He did not touch me. That eye was closed by 50 jabs. That's why his eye is shut, not the headbutt. There was no headbutt."
Arum made his case with the head of the Nevada commission, Bob Bennett, without success, and went on to say:
"This is an absolute disgrace. There was no headbutt. Andrew Moloney should be the new champion."
- Terence Crawford def. Kell Brook via Fourth Round TKO
- Joshua Franco v Andrew Moloney, no contest (accidental headbutt)