Terence Crawford a huge favorite to beat Kell Brook
By Jeff Aronow: Terence Crawford is expected to have little problems beating former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook this Saturday night. The oddsmakers have installed the 33-year-old Crawford as a huge -1500 favorite over Brook (39-2, 27 KOs) for their fight on ESPN in ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
With Crawford down to one of his last handful of fights with Top Rank before his contract expires in October 2021 and he likely leaves them, it won’t be such a massive loss if he’s upset by Kell.
Brook, 34, has only been beaten by Gennadiy Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr, and those were fights he was winning despite dealing with eye injuries in both.
The oddsmakers obviously aren’t taking into account why Brook lost to those fighters. They also aren’t looking at how weak Crawford’s resume is, thanks to his promoters at Top Rank.
Crawford could leave Top Rank
They’ve done a good job of matching Crawford against guys that he could beat, and he’s stayed unbeaten with their hard work of matching him against the right guys.
That’s why it’s interesting that Crawford could wind up leaving Top Rank after his contract with them expires in 2021.
According to Mike Coppinger, Crawford has a “rift” with Top Rank. His lawyers have sent a letter to the company listing his grievances over their inability to match him against premier opposition.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum reportedly tried to set up Crawford’s fights against Manny Pacquiao and Errol Spence Jr, but nothing has happened.
Crawford has several things that could be the reason why he’s not been able to get a marquee opponent to face him:
- Network issues – the fighters Crawford wants to face are with PBC, and they compete on the different networks on Fox and Showtime.
- Southpaw stance
- Counter puncher
- Moves around the ring a lot
- Defense oriented
- Not popular
- Not a great trash talker/self-promoter
Most of those things are things that Crawford can’t change. His fighting style and personality are pretty much fixed at this point in his career. He hasn’t fought the right kind of opposition to building his popularity to the point where the Premier Boxing Champions welterweights would want to cross the pond to fight him.
Yeah, the weak match-making that Top Rank has done has helped Crawford build a perfect 36-0 record, but his popularity hasn’t grown. If the opposition you’re facing is weak, you’re invisible.
Ask Kell Brook about that. He was popular after his fights with Gennadiy Glovkin and Errol Spence Jr from 2016 to 2017, but he’s faced no-name opposition since then. His popularity has disappeared.
Crawford’s situation is arguably worse because he’s always faced lackluster opposition. Unlike Brook, Crawford didn’t fight two popular guys during his career that attracted attention.
The guys Crawford has been fighting are fighters like Amir Khan, Jeff Horn, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, and Jose Benavidez Jr. In other words, middle of the road opposition.
Crawford expects Brook to be motivated
“Bud, you’ve got a fight coming up this weekend against a big welterweight, who only has two losses in back to back fights when he challenged GGG and then Errol Spence in two excellent fights,” said Max Kellerman to ESPN on Crawford’s fight with Brook.
“You are heavily favored, but Kell Brook has shown in the past that he can really fight. What do you expect Saturday night?”
“I’m expecting a determined and motivated Kell Brook. I believe he feels he can win this fight, as he rightfully should. But on Saturday, I’m going to do everything within my power and my will to make sure that my hand is raised,” Crawford said about his match against Brook.
Kell will be motivated as he always is, but more so because he’s the underdog for the first time since his match against Errol Spence Jr. Brook also wants to become a world champion, and he respects Crawford because he’s rated highly by the people that put together the pound-for-pound lists.
Taking Crawford’s scalp will rejuvenate Brook’s career and put him back on top once again. If Brook beats Crawford, he’ll be back on top, and he’ll have the opportunity for a well-paying rematch.
Top Rank has reportedly included a rematch clause in the contract for this fight, which is odd because Bob Arum said recently that he doesn’t like rematch clauses. It shows you that he’s worried about Crawford potentially losing.
Terence slugging more than earlier in his career
“Bud, you’re my number one pound-for-pound,” Kellerman said. “Part of it is your boxing ability, part of it is you’ve got a mean streak in you, and your versatility as a fighter.
“You can do it all in the ring, forward, backward, side to side, head-body, orthodox, southpaw, and everything in between, and you like to fight. I go back to your Breidis Prescott fight, your first fight on HBO, I called that fight.
“You were boxing his ear’s off and also roughing him up. When he complained, you cursed him out and went back to beating him up.
“You were a very slick boxer at that time in your career, and as you got bigger, while you still displayed your skills, it seems to me increasingly that you’ve become of an offensive-minded fighter. Is that true, and if so, why?”
“Well, you know with these guys, you sometimes have to stand your ground and show them that even though they’re bigger than you, you have enough power to hold your own,” said Crawford.
Kellerman’s memory of Crawford’s fight with Briedis Prescott has got to be bad because he wasn’t “boxing his ear’s off.” Prescott landed a lot of shots on Crawford and arguably beating him through the majority of the fight.
It was only in the championship rounds that Crawford took over the contest. This writer had Crawford narrowly winning six rounds to four. It was definitely not a dominating performance by Crawford against a guy that he should have been able to dominate.
The reason Crawford has been able to stand and slug more lately is that he’s facing weak opposition.
Crawford’s last six opponents:
- Egidijus Kavaliauskas
- Amir Khan
- Jose Benavidez Jr
- Jeff Horn
- Julius Indongo
- Felix Diaz
Crawford using Brook as a showcase fight
“We’re talking to Terence Crawford, my #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world that’s fighting Kell Brook this Saturday, November 14th in Las Vegas on ESPN,” said Kellerman.
“By the way, what do you think about that, Bud? You’re fighting and defending your [WBO welterweight] title on ESPN. It’s not pay-per-view; it’s not someplace where no one can see you.
“We saw the buzz that came out of the Lomachenko-Lopez fight because so many people can see it, it’s discussed all day on ESPN, and it’s on Sports Center. How do you feel about fighting on primetime on ESPN?”
“It’s going to be a good outing for me. A lot of people can see who Terence Crawford is, and they can see me put on a great show this weekend,” said Crawford.
Brook might be too good for a showcase type of opponent. The idea of using Brook as an opponent to make Crawford look better than he is might backfire on Top Rank with him losing to the British fighter.
But with Crawford likely to leave the promotional company in 2021, it’s unclear whether they’ll be upset about it. The Brook that fought Spence and Golovkin beats Crawford seven days a week, 365 days a year.
If Brook can return to that form that he had years ago, he’ll have a chance of exposing Crawford as a product of 12 years of soft match-making by Top Rank.
ESPN probably won’t be too happy because the commentator has been talking Crawford up for years. Still, his fighting style and the weak opposition have prevented him from becoming popular in the U.S. Crawford is liked in Nebraska’s home state, but not elsewhere.
Terence wants fans to pressure the elite to face him
“Now, Kell Brook is one of the biggest names at welterweight that you can get in the ring with,” Kellerman said. “The guys at PBC, the welterweights at PBC, while a guy likes Shawn Porter, who has always fought with heart and conducted himself that way, name-checks you. He’s not pretending you’re not there.
“Errol Spence, for example, is talking about his business, ‘he has to come over here’ and has not seemed eager to make that fight happen [with Crawford]. How do you get the biggest fights at 147 to happen for you?”
“Well, the fans have got to demand it. Don’t let him go unheard,” said Crawford in putting pressure on the boxing fans to force Spence and the other PBC welterweights to fight him. “I feel like if the fans demand the fight, the fights will happen,” said Crawford.
The boxing fans aren’t going to do Crawford’s bidding because he’s not facing the right opposition for them to go to bat for him.
If Crawford were fighting guys like Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter, Yordenis Ugas, and Danny Garcia, the fans would put pressure on Spence and Manny Pacquiao to fight him.
That’s not going to happen with Crawford fighting Brook, Amir Khan, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Jose Benavidez Jr, Jeff Horn, and Julius Indongo.
With the opposition that Crawford is facing, the fans might pressure someone like Yordenis Ugas and Vergil Ortiz Jr to fight him. But those guys already want to face him., and they’d likely beat him.
Errol Spence on Crawford’s target list
“There are a bunch of good welterweights,” said Kellerman. “You can’t look past Kell Brook, as he’s the only guy that beat Porter clean. I thought that was a decisive win. Keith Thurman and Errol Spence were close fights.
“So you can’t look past him [Brook], I get it. But the fight in boxing if you talk to 100 fans, probably 99 of them would say, ‘I want Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence.’ Is that the big fight for you eventually?”
“Of course, that’s the fight that everybody wants to see, and what we want and what he wants, but for some reason, this fight isn’t being made,” said Crawford about a fight between him and Errol Spence Jr. “All we can do is fight the people in front of us,” said Crawford.
“It’s always a treat to see you fight. Anyone that hasn’t see Terence Crawford needs to be told, ‘don’t miss him this Saturday night; he’s the best fighter in the world,'” said Kellerman.
Crawford will likely need to wait until 2022 before he has a chance to fight Spence. Errol is more popular than Crawford, and he’s likely to be busy with lucrative fights against Manny Pacquiao and the other PBC welterweights.
Crawford needs to worry about winning his fight on Saturday night against Brook because it’s not a given that he wins this.
Brook would beat everyone that Crawford has ever faced before, and that goes without saying. Crawford has fought lower-level B and C fighters and no one near the A-level during his 12-year career.
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