WBO World Welterweight Champion Terence Crawford was at his best. Aged former champ Kell Brook was not.
Brook had his moments in the first couple rounds but folded as soon as he ate his first clean shot from Crawford, who put him away in the fourth round in their main event Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Crawford was a heavy favorite going in, 11-1 by fight night. Much of that was due to the 34-year-old Brook’s lack of an impressive performance in recent years. After losing his IBF world welterweight title to Errol Spence in 2017, the Sheffield, England product moved up to 154, claiming he could no longer make the weight. However, he looked less than stellar in his new class, showing signs of deterioration.
A $2 million dollar check was enough to entice him to squeeze back down to welterweight, a division he hadn’t fought in since Spence loss. He looked like a shell of his former self on this night.
Early on it seemed promising as Brook was able to land several jabs. Once Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) switched to southpaw, the fight was as good as done.
“He had good distance, you know, and I was trying to find my rhythm and getting my distance together,” Crawford explained. “And, you know, that’s why it was so competitive at first. I couldn’t get my shots off.”
A counter-hook jab early in the fourth rocked Brook bad. The man who had eaten heavy shots from Gennady Golovkin and Spence simply didn’t have the same punch resistance. The blow sent him staggering back, where he nearly went through the ropes.
Referee Tony Weeks ruled it a knockdown. Once action resumed, Crawford went in for the kill, nearly sending a dazed Brook (39-3, 27 KOs) through the ropes again, forcing Weeks to wave the fight off at 1:14 of the fourth.
Brook, who said he might retire even before this night, will likely do so in the coming days.
“This is boxing,” Brook said after. “I obviously got caught with a shot I didn’t see, and the referee waved it off. You know, I’ve never had that happen to me before, but I’ve always said if I’m in a fight, I want to go out on my shield.”
But what is next for the 33-year-old Crawford? The ringmaster still does not have a top name on his resume, despite his many accomplishments. The champion called out Manny Pacquiao. We’ll soon see what’s next.