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Bud and Brook bicker before banging: Crawford vs Brook, ESPN Saturday

Written By | Nov 13, 2020
Terence Crawford (left) and Kell Brook face off Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images Bud and Brook

Terence Crawford (left) and Kell Brook face off Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

SAN DIEGO, Calif., November 13, 2020 – WBO Welterweight World Champion Terence “Bud” Crawford of Omaha, Nebraska (35-0, 26 KOs) sits among the top names of nearly every boxing observer’s pound for pound list.

At the risk of sitting out pandemic 2020, Crawford and Top Rank found a dance partner. Stepping into the breach and stepping up as he has before is former champion Kell “Special K” Brook of Great Britain (39-2, 27 KOs). The fight airs on ESPN and ESPN Deportes– yes, free cable TV in the US – starting at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. Undercard prelims air on ESPN+ starting at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

Terence Crawford doesn't care who wants to try and take his title. He says he will fight anybody. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

Terence Crawford doesn’t care who wants to try and take his title. He says he will fight anybody. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

Since Crawford unified the 140-pound division and moved up, his biggest challenge remains the failure to secure fights with his top opponents including Errol Spence Jr, Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia, and Keith Thurman – and even the aging wonder, Manny Pacquiao.

Brook has been here before. On short notice, he took on middleweight monster Gennadiy Golovkin and held his own until Triple G broke his face. Brook also went up against Errol Spence Jr. and gave a good effort against one of the world’s top talents.

Kell Brook (left) showed good speed but it was no match for Gennady Golovkin's power. Photo: Lawrence Lustig, Matchroom Boxing

Kell Brook (left) showed good speed but it was no match for Gennady Golovkin’s power. Photo: Lawrence Lustig, Matchroom Boxing

Crawford gets irritated by the criticism he hasn’t faced talent worthy of him. He points out the long-desired fight with Spence Jr. won’t mean anything until the Texan proves he’s recovered from a serious auto accident in his upcoming bout against Danny Garcia on December 5. Pacquaio is busy with Senate duties in the Philippines, and Crawford would prefer not to fight his friend Porter. Thurman is again on the shelf after injury.

So what’s a guy to do?

Crawford admits Brook wasn’t on his radar. “This was a fight that he wanted, that he kept calling for. Once the Pacquiao fight fell through, he was the next option given the circumstances of COVID and whatnot,” said Crawford. “Me, I go about fights to get the win, no matter how they come.”

Brook exudes confidence no matter who he’s up against, and despite knowing the Las Vegas oddsmakers have him a seven to one underdog. “I’ve been here before. I’ve been on this stage. I’ve been in there with pound-for-pound top fighters like Golovkin and Errol Spence. I took the title away from Shawn Porter in America. I know what it takes to be champion.”

“I think {winning this fight} would rank above Shawn Porter given everything I’ve been through, everyone writing me off. I think you gotta put it up there because this is the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world,” said Brook.

Terence Crawford and Terence Crawford and Kell Brook will deliver a good show on Saturday, even if it’s not especially competitive. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

“I stop him, or he quits on the stool. I’m fully focused. I’ve never been ready for a fight like this before. Looking forward to whatever Terence brings because I can match him. I’m ready for a war … I hope he’s {overlooking me}. I hope he is because I’m coming with force. Trust me.”

Both Brook and Porter made weight seemingly with ease. At Friday’s weigh-in, the pair engaged in socially distanced trash talk, which carried over to an ESPN interview. This is the sort of buildup fans should have gotten to enjoy in the last few weeks, but better late than never.

“Listen. I’m up for each and every fight put in front of me,” said Crawford. “Kell Brook boosts a lot of adrenaline and spikes my energy. He’s a former champion, he’s done great things with three top fighters. At the same time, I didn’t train my ass off like I normally do. I’m not really too much focused on Kell Brook. I’m going to go out and display my talent and have fun doing it.”

“I’m going to fight my heart out tomorrow. That’s going to be enough. It is written. We shall see,” said Brook.

Prediction: A competitive effort, another win for Crawford

Brook never gives less than his best, and isn’t afraid to take on a challenge. He deserves every fan’s respect. He’s taking on a lot once again with Crawford. It would qualify as upset of the year should Brook beat Crawford, but there’s every reason to expect a great effort and it’s something worth watching.

Crawford doesn’t carry the power of vintage Golovkin, or the sheer athleticism of prime Spence Jr. He marshals a mean streak a mile wide and toys with opponents like a cat with prey. Crawford’s movement, versatility, and ring IQ allow him to be in ideal position, like a shortstop who’s always in the right place in front of the ball. He wears opponents down and then pulls the trigger.

Expect Brook to make it to the later rounds, but to succumb to accumulated damage. Let’s hope Bud sees fit to stop Brook on body shots, and avoid his fragile reconstructed face with two rebuilt orbital bones courtesy of Golovkin and Spence.

Makeup class in session: Franco vs Moloney 2

Joshua Franco (left) and Andrew Moloney tangle a second time on Saturday. Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images

WBA Super Flyweight champion Joshua “The Professor” Franco of San Antonio, Texas (16-1-2, 8 KOs) holds a make-up class for opponent Andrew Moloney of Australia (21-0, 14 KOs). Franco defeated Moloney in a tough decision victory in June. Franco’s accuracy and pressure got the better of Moloney in the first bout, scoring a knockdown to seal the win.

Moloney says he felt ill during the fight and wasn’t at his best. He promises things will be different this time. “I see it ending with my hand in the air and the belt around my waist. We’ve been working extremely hard and I’m confident I can win the fight. I need to win this fight, reclaim my world title, and redeem our name Moloney.”

Franco was tempered like steel due to his wild trilogy of fights with Oscar Negrete, and he knows what it’s like to see the same face across the ring. Franco says he’s better for the first experience. “My mindset is different now, because I have the world title now,” said Franco. “I’m just way better mentally, physically. I’m getting stronger, smarter, and I’m just going to continue to get better. (Moloney) is a tough fighter. He has heart, but that doesn’t win fights. I’m a better fighter overall and that’s what wins fights. Facts.”

Joshua Franco was the more accurate and stronger puncher. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

Joshua Franco was the more accurate and stronger puncher. Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank Boxing

Moloney will be motivated, but Franco is a true student of the game with trainer Robert Garcia delivering a master class daily. It’s hard to see Franco losing the title short of a stoppage.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.  Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

Copyright © 2020 by Falcon Valley Group

Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award-winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.