LAS VEGAS – Terence Crawford went into his fourth WBO welterweight title defense on Saturday and was supposed to be a faster and better boxer than Kell Brook. He was clearly the more powerful puncher too.
Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) knocked out Brook (39-3, 27 KOs) at 1:14 of the fourth round at the MGM Grand. Crawford was noticeably patient for the first three rounds of the fight, changing stance and feeling Brook fail. When he decided to move forward, the knockout came quickly and devastatingly when he nearly knocked Brook through the ropes with a short right hand.
Referee Tony Weeks offered Brook the chance to move on, but Crawford was back with him in an instant, rocking him back on the ropes with a right hook, forcing Weeks to end the fight.
The result was exactly what Crawford needed, which will be his only appearance in 2020. The 33-year-old champ was hoping to book matchups with other welterweight stars this year – namely Manny Pacquiao and Errol Spence Jr. According to Top Rank President Bob Arum, a deal with Pacquiao was almost closed earlier this year, before the COVID- 19 pandemic interrupted plans.
Brook, 34, was a major underdog on Saturday's way, but on Friday he changed the narrative slightly with his impressive physique. Brook hadn't fought at the 147-pound limit since 2017, but he made the weight up with no problems and was expected to have a noticeable advantage of size on the night of the fight.
Brook had some success early on, particularly body throwing, but part of that was likely due to Crawford's patience. Crawford landed 36 of 111 punches thrown, compared with 26 of 109 for Brook, according to Compubox.
Brook, who fights out of Sheffield, England, has now dropped out on each of his three professional losses. He suffered knockout losses against Genndy Golovkin and Spence Jr. in 2016 and 2017, although both bouts were abandoned due to eye socket injuries. Crawford's spectacular round of 16 was in no way associated with injury.
Omaha’s Crawford will now turn his attention back to major fights in 2021. Pacquiao hasn't fought or planned anything since July 2019, while Spence Jr. is set to fight Danny Garcia on December 5th.