Brook was outshone in only his second bout in the last two years as Crawford retains his WBO welterweight belt
Kell Brook conceded that Terence Crawford is a special fighter after being defeated by the American in Sin City last night. A chopping right hook in the fourth round of the WBO welterweight title fight signaled not only the end of the fight, but perhaps also the end of the 34-year-old’s aspirations to become a two-time world champion.
“Never in my career, nobody has ever done that to me in sparring or anything,” explained Brook, who was sent careering into the ropes, given a standing count and quickly finished by a flurry of brutal hooks and scything uppercuts by Crawford. The Nebraskan is now unbeaten in 37 contests, a three-weight world champion, and considered by many observers to be at the summit of boxing’s pound-for-pound list.
“It was one of them… I got caught with a shot I didn’t see,” admitted Brook, who suffered his third career loss after giving everything in training camp in Las Vegas and in the early rounds of the fight in promoter Bob Arum’s boxing bubble at the MGM Grand on the end of The Strip. “I’m gutted because nobody could’ve gotten me in better condition. I was bang on the limit. Maybe I could’ve been a bit more relaxed and loose and let the shots go.”
Indeed, Brook used his jab and lead right effectively in the opening three rounds, but once Crawford switched from orthodox to southpaw, and went hunting for spiteful shots, the world champion began to nullify Brook timing and control of range.
“Kell is a tremendous talent. He came and he tried to take my title. He was in shape. He made the weight. There were no excuses to be put on the table. He came off of three wins. He lost to the better man,” said Crawford. “I was trying to gauge the distance. He had good distance. I was trying to find my rhythm in between getting my distance together. That’s why it was so competitive at first. I couldn’t get my shots off.”
After, Crawford called out Filipino great Manny Pacquiao for a superfight, which could take place in the Middle East, according to promoter Bob Arum.
“I already said who I want next. I want Pacquiao. I want to revisit that fight. That was a fight that should’ve happened right now. But being that the pandemic happened, and they weren’t going to allow fans in the Middle East, they had to put a hold to that. Everything was 95 percent done. We had the venue. The money was almost there. It wasn’t quite there. That was the only thing we were waiting on.”
Arum added: “Terence Crawford showed, once again, why he is the best welterweight in the world. It was a dominating performance over a very good fighter in Kell Brook. Terence ranks up there with all the great welterweights I’ve promoted.”
Elsewhere on the card, Andrew Moloney ought to have been awarded the WBA flyweight title after a 25-minute delay using a ‘VAR’ system failed to create the correct outcome. A ‘No Decision’ verdict was given after two rounds between defending WBA super flyweight champion Joshua Franco after the referee had determined an accidental clash of heads caused the champion’s eye to close. However, on appeal, replays showed that there was no clash of heads as the Nevada Commission took 30 minutes to review the action on monitors at ringside, yet still ruled to go with their referee’s decision.
Australian Moloney, who was attempting to won back the crown he lost to Franco, was heartbroken. “They took this away from me. The injury was caused by a punch. I can’t believe this.” I was in control of the fight and on my way to a clear victory. I deserved this win. I landed 50 punches on that eye. It was not even close.”
Arum was incensed with the officials at ringside. “This is an absolute disgrace. There was no headbutt. Andrew Moloney should be the new champion.”
Katie Taylor steals the show on fine night for women’s fighters
Katie Taylor’s retention of her lightweight titles in London capped a fine night for British and Irish female fighters. Taylor outclassed her WBA mandatory challenger Miriam Gutierrez to retain her undisputed mantle at the top of the bill on an historic night for women’s boxing as Terri Harper retained her world title and Rachel Ball claimed an interim world title, at super feather and super bantam respectively.
But it was the Irish star who stole Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing show at Wembley Arena as she demonstrated complete mastery from the opening bell, dropping Spain’s Gutierrez in the fourth round and thereafter dominating with a landslide unanimous decision victory as the judges returned scores of 100-89, 100-90 and 99-91. “I thought it was a great overall performance,” said a delighted Taylor.
“I boxed well at long distance and close. I did a bit of everything in there tonight. I threw everything but the kitchen sink at her. I just couldn’t get her out of there. She’s as tough as nails — so credit to her. She hung in and she was there to fight until the very end. She’s obviously big and strong and that showed tonight. I’m still unbeaten and this is a great end to the year.”
As for the occasion, Taylor added: “This was absolutely huge. I think every girl on the card tonight boxed brilliantly. Three fantastic fights. It’s just an amazing showcase. As I’ve said before, Eddie [Hearn] has given us this platform. Women’s boxing is on fire right now because of the platform he has given us. What an amazing few years of women’s boxing. That’s what it’s all about for myself, inspiring the next generation. Hopefully there was a few young girls watching through Facebook on the livestream. It’s all about inspiring the next generation and what an amazing platform to do it on.”
Harper, indeed, looked sensational herself as she stopped Norway’s Katharina Thanderz in nine rounds to retain her WBC and IBO super-featherweight belts with a punch perfect performance, behind the jab. “I’m buzzing,” said Harper. “That’s my birthday and Christmas all in one. That’s made my year. Obviously having that tough fight with Tasha [Jonas], there were doubts, and there were wrongs that I needed to put right. We came away and I’ve worked my butt off. I’ve just gone out there and breezed it. I want to fight the best. I’m coming for you Mikaela Mayer,” added Harper, of her divisional rival from America who has been pursuing a unification with the Doncaster belle. “Slowly but surely we’ll get there and I’ll be punching you in the face very soon.”
Social worker Ball’s fairytale story continued as she sealed a unanimous decision win over Argentina’s Jorgelina Guanini to secure the vacant Interim WBC super-bantamweight crown. Ball was denied a shot at the WBA bantamweight belt on Friday afternoon when late replacement Guanini failed to make the weight limit, but she still completed a career-best win with scores of 99-91, 99-91 and 99-92. “I’m so grateful to Matchroom and BCB for continuing to support my journey,” said Ball. “I felt confident that it was mine. I was landing my shots pretty well. She was running around the ring and I feel like I used my distance a lot better.
“Everything happens for a reason and perhaps she was what I needed at this time. Fair play to her, it was a really good fight. Look how far Terri has gone and look how far Katie has gone. I’d love to be able to be as successful as them. That would be amazing. It’s all good experience. I hope we inspire some girls out there to try boxing and do something different.”