Andre Ward sums up WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford’s win over Kell Brook last Saturday as one in which he got the job done, but it wasn’t an all-around impressive performance from start to finish.
Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) stopped Brook (39-3, 27 KOs) in the fourth round on ESPN to hold onto his WBO 147lb title in ‘The Bubble’ the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ward was surprised at the hand speed of Brook and the way that he started well. He feels that Brook, 34, fought the perfect fight for the first three rounds before getting caught with Crawford’s right hand in the fourth and subsequently stopped soon after.
Ward notes that Crawford’s right eye was puffy at the end, which showed that Brook was having success against him. In the fourth, Brook got caught by surprise by a short right hand from Crawford, which was more like a jab than a power shot.
Although some people like Max Kellerman of ESPN were enthusiastic afterward about Crawford’s supposedly newfound power, the reality is, he hurt Brook with a weak right hand that was more like a jab.
Crawford’s power hasn’t improved. Brook wasn’t ready for the shot, and he paid the price by getting stopped.
Crawford wasn’t at his best
“I can’t say that. It was a great ending, but it didn’t start off well,” said Andre Ward when asked if this was the best performance of Crawford’s career. “You can argue that Brook won every round.
“I wouldn’t say it was the best performance of his career, but he did what he had to do. It’s tough to say, but he looked good,” Ward said when asked if Brook was in vintage form last night against Terence.
“I can’t say it was the best that he’s looked, but he looked good. He was in great shape; you saw that yesterday at the weigh-in; you saw that again tonight when he rehydrated.
“He [Brook] put himself in the best position to be successful. When you read the articles leading up to the fight, you hear that he left his family, and he’s been away from his family.
“He’s been just isolating himself for the last eight weeks, which lets you know that he put himself in the position to win.
“I don’t get caught up in that,” Ward said about Crawford stopping Brook a round earlier than Gennady Golovkin in 2016″ said Ward.
Based on the opposition that Crawford has fought throughout his career, he was as good as he could be in stepping up a level to face Brook.
You have to realize that the best opponent that Crawford has fought during his career is Viktor Postol, who would have lots of problems against a big welterweight like Kell Brook.
As shot as Brook looked last Saturday, Postol would probably beat him if they fought right now.
Things are going to get tougher for Crawford if he continues to step it up against better opposition. Matching Crawford against Brook and Amir Khan, Top Rank has cleaned out the best welterweights in the UK, but they’ve not matched him against the best at 147.
Brook is no longer in his prime, and there are many better fighters at welterweight than him. Top Rank needs to start matching Crawford against guys that can beat him.
They’re not going to fool the public by matching Crawford against fighters like Brook, Khan, and Egidijus Kavaliauskas and then argue that he deserves to be rated #1 pound-for-pound.
He doesn’t deserve that ranking based on his opponent’s level, and that’s a fact. If an NFL team only plays at teams with an 8-8 record, they don’t deserve to be viewed as the best.
Terence got the job done against Brook
“I don’t get caught up in that. ‘Spence did it in this round, Crawford did in that.’ It’s different styles, different fighters, different nights. That doesn’t mean anything to me,” said Ward.
Again, different styles,” Ward said in refusing to say that Crawford’s right hook that hurt Brook with was more powerful than the huge shots that Golovkin and Spence were hitting him with in 2016 and 2017.
“This is the only sport where people overanalyze how they got the job done. They don’t do it in baseball; they don’t do it in football. If a guy is a home run hitter, he’s a home run hitter.
“If a guy is a double or a triple hitter, then that’s what he is. Some guys hit for average, and some guys hit home runs. It is what it is. You understand what you’re looking at, and you respect all the styles.
“The big question is, did you get it done? Crawford got it done, and Spence got it done when he did [against Brook],” Ward said.
Crawford did get the job done in landing the right hand that hurt Brook, but unfortunately, the victory wasn’t good enough to give him the appreciation that he’s been craving.
If Crawford wants to be celebrated by the fans at the true #1 at 147, he’s going to have to break the habit of fighting the bottom-level fighters. The opposition that Crawford has been facing all share one thing in common, and that’s the fact they’re all fringe level.
It’s up to Crawford if he wants to continue to be matched against fighters like Khan, Brook, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, Jose Benavidez, and Jeff Horn. Those guys have eaten up the last two years of Crawford’s life, leaving him with not much to show for it.
Was this the last title shot for Kell Brook?
“I don’t know,” Ward said when asked why Crawford starts off in the right-handed orthodox stance when he gets most of his knockouts when he switches to southpaw.
“I read something interesting about Crawford that I didn’t really know. He said, ‘I don’t really come into a fight with a game plan.’ He said, ‘We figure it out as we go.’
“That’s why he starts slow because he is collecting data, and he is trying to figure out what stance works, what style he wants to fight in, and how to create the right range to get his shots through.
“He tried to do that tonight, but Brook fought a good fight. He probably fought the best three rounds that he could possibly fight. He stayed under his feet, and he was a lot quicker than I thought he was.
“And he wasn’t just landing jabs, and he was just missing some right hands. Brook can hit. You saw the swelling on the right eye of Crawford, so you got to be happy for Crawford that he did what he had to do.
“But you got to feel bad for a guy like Brook because you don’t know if he’s ever going to get a shot like this again. And once again, he did everything he had to do to win, but he just came up short,” said Ward.
It probably the last time Brook gets a crack at a world title. He’s about to turn 35, he rarely fights and hasn’t been facing quality opposition since his defeat to Errol Spence Jr.
You have to figure that Brook will continue to fight rarely and stick it out with the no-name guys he’s been padding his record with. As such, Brook won’t get pushed up the rankings, and the champions will subsequently ignore him and see him as a shot fighter.
Brook didn’t deserve the title shot he was given by Crawford last Saturday, but this is the type of opposition that Bud has been fighting.
It’s not surprising that Top Rank wanted Brook for Crawford to fight because he was a safe choice. Someone that wouldn’t be safe is Shawn Porter, Yordenis Ugas, and Keith Thurman. Hence, none of those guys have been given title shots against Crawford.