KELL BROOK is set to challenge welterweight supremo Terence Crawford for the WBO title in Las Vegas on November 14. The bout will be promoted by Top Rank and staged inside the crowd-less ‘Bubble’ in the MGM Grand.
It will be Brook’s first world title fight since he was stopped in 11 rounds by Errol Spence Jnr and lost his IBF 147lbs belt. That bout came eight months after the Sheffield star had his face broken by then-middleweight king, Gennady Golovkin in an audacious step-up. There were further injuries to his skull caused in the Spence bout – it was a fight that many felt came too soon after his painful middleweight expedition.
In short, this fight with Crawford is another monstrous challenge.
“I’ve been told there are people writing off my chances, questioning my age, and my ability to make the weight,” said Brook. “Well, let them talk. Some people focus on reading headlines, I focus on making headlines.”
Brook, 34, has been campaigning at 154lbs since losing to Spence. It is no secret he struggled for many years to make 147. Throw in 33-year-old Crawford’s ability and form and this becomes, on paper, Brook’s toughest assignment of his whole career.
“Those people writing me off as a big underdog? No problem,” said Brook. “I guess this big dog will be making a few people richer during a difficult time. Terence isn’t too much younger than me.”
In 2014, Brook went to America and upset the odds against a favoured champion when he decisioned Shawn Porter to win his IBF title.
“They know that I’ve never ducked a challenge, and they should know that I’ve never failed to make 147 on the scales. With age comes experience. My knowledge and experience make me a diﬀerent ﬁghter, a more mature ﬁghter.
“Couple that with a happy fighter, and you’ve got yourself a dangerous fighter.”
Crawford is also dangerous. Unbeaten in 36 fights, Crawford has won sanctioning body titles in three weight classes. At super-lightweight he achieved the rare feat of winning all four to become the undisputed king. Up at welterweight he’s defeated Jeff Horn, Jose Benavidez, Amir Khan and, in his most recent outing 10 months ago, Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
Brook has it all to do. Not only must he prove he’s still the force of old in his mid-thirties, he must again make a weight that was deemed too torturous in the recent past. One hopes his body can cope and that the old facial injuries don’t haunt him.
The odds are rightly stacked against him yet his willingness to take this bout yet again speaks of a fearless fighter, one willing to go above and beyond in the pursuit of what appears at the outset to be another Mission: Impossible. Kell Brook, arguably one of the most underappreciated British fighters of recent years, should get nothing but credit for that.