Despite riding a three-fight win streak, Brook (39-2, 27 KOs) could only laugh last week during an interview on “Morning Kombat” when presented yet again with questions about whether his fighting prime at age 34 had all but expired.
“It makes me smile,” Brook said. “It makes me smile because I’m beating all of these 24-year-old boys on the track with the heart I have got pushing them. You are going to see how much I have left and, trust me, I have got plenty left. I am ready to rock and roll.”
Brook’s lone career defeats have come against unified 147-pound champion Errol Spence Jr. and middleweight destroyer Gennadiy Golovkin, the latter of which saw Brook move up two divisions. Both fights were super competitive until Brook succumbed each time to a broken orbital bone and was forced to retire due to injury.
None of that, however, has stopped oddsmakers from making Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs), in discussion among the pound-for-pound best in the sport, an overwhelming favorite as high as -1600. Brook, who is just 16 months older, is a +900 underdog.
From Brook’s perspective, he enjoys being overlooked for once and believes it will be to his advantage should Crawford believe the native of England’s best days are behind him.
“I hope so. If he does, he will have a rude awakening, trust me, because I’m going to bring it heavily,” Brook said. “I am focused and have done everything asked of me in training. I’m super fit and super strong. I’m on the way and ready to dethrone the pound-for-pound king in boxing.
“This is what fighters dream about being in fights like this. It’s my opportunity now to go out there. The pressure is on Terence. He has not fought anyone like me.”
Still unable to attract any big names at welterweight thanks to boxing’s political and network divide, Crawford has been forced to sit back and wait since moving up to 147 pounds for his promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, to get creative in finding suitable matchups.
The result has largely been hit or miss for Crawford, who stopped Jeff Horn to initially capture his WBO title in 2018 before making a trio of title defenses by knockout against Jose Benavidez Jr., a faded Amir Khan and Egidijus Kavaliauskas, with the latter producing a surprising knockdown in a fight that was unexpectedly competitive.
Brook, should he prove able to recapture his old form, could prove to be the toughest welterweight matchup Crawford has had. Some of that, however, remains to be seen especially because Brook has campaigned at 154 pounds of late after having issues making welterweight.
Either way, Crawford has remained his typical unemotional self and is treating this fight like any other.
“He’s not the only opponent that went into the fight thinking they were going to stop me or knock me out, so that’s nothing new for me,” Crawford said during Wednesday’s media conference call. “He’s just going to have to live up to his words.
“I’ve always felt that I’m number one pound-for-pound in the world. This is what I do. I’m not the one to quit on a fight, but I can’t say the same about him. I wish him the best.”
Not only does Brook claim to be reborn given how much a victory this weekend would catapult him back into the mix as a serious player in boxing’s money division, he has also parted ways with longtime promoter Eddie Hearn and trainer Brendan Ingle while seeking a fresh start.
Brook moved his training camp to Spain for this fight and joined forces with new trainer Carlos Fermento, whom he met over Instagram and said has been “obsessed” watching footage of Crawford’s fights to formulate a gameplan.
“[Crawford] has to show me that he’s great. I bet he’s great but he has to show me,” Brook said. “I have seen him and he does everything well. I can’t say to you anything bad but I’m that guy to dethrone him. It is written in the stars. When Terence comes by and switch hits in fights it won’t bamboozle me because I’m used to seeing that in Brendan Ingle’s camp, which was the proper school where ‘Prince’ Naseem [Hamed] came from.
“I can surprise him with the power. I have great balance and a great jab. This is a real fight and I believe he knows it.”
Viewing informationDate: Saturday, Nov. 14 | Location: MGM Grand — Las Vegas, Nevada
Start time: 10 p.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Fight card, odds
Terence Crawford (c) -1600 vs. Kell Brook +900, WBO welterweight title
Joshua Franco (c) -200 vs. Andrew Moloney +170, WBA super flyweight title
Despite the unexpected success Kavaliauskas had in getting him to engage, the majority of Crawford’s welterweight run has been dominant and predictable. On the surface, Brook certainly has all of the tools to be the first elite fighter to truly test “Bud” over the long haul given his versatility as a perfectly well-rounded boxer with finishing power and tremendous timing.
All of this, of course, is dependent upon whether Brook has enough motivation and gas left in the tank to channel the fighter who beat Shawn Porter to win his first world title in 2014 and fought Spence on largely even terms three years later before the eye injury.
Brook’s best chance will be to slow down the pace of the fight by landing hard counter shots with his right hand and look to drag the dynamic Crawford into a chess match. Should he prove as comfortable dealing with Crawford’s ability to switch stances as he says he will, this has plenty of potential to be a competitive bout.
But stifling Crawford is much more of an easier task to talk about than actually do, largely because his fight IQ is so high and he’s able to not just merely juggle stances but so seamlessly alternate between boxing from distance and punching with bad intentions on the inside.
Crawford is so good, even the best version of Brook from six years ago might’ve never been able to beat him. And the fact that it’s hard to imagine Brook ever being that same exact fighter again helps one understand why the oddsmakers have Crawford such an overwhelming favorite.
Look for Brook to give the best of himself and likely surprise a great majority of his critics with how well he can compete in the first half. Then look for Crawford to do what he always does so effectively — make the adjustments and walk his opponent down late before getting the stoppage. Terence Crawford vs. Kell Brook: Fight Odds, Time, Date, Live Stream and TV Info