By: Sean Crose
If there’s one thing that can be said of Terence Crawford it’s that the man is a consummate professional. Unlike some athletes, particularly in boxing, Crawford is a man who takes his life’s work seriously. He trains hard, watches his weight, and always appears to be mentally on point. In this author’s opinion, it’s Crawford’s focus that’s his greatest gift. Not that the highly adaptable Nebraskan doesn’t have an enormously impressive skill set. It’s just that impressive skill sets are second to the kind of focus Crawford employs. When the man is on, it’s hard to imagine anyone truly besting him – and that includes fellow welterweight titlist Errol Spence.
How, then, can former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook expect to compete with Crawford when the two meet this Saturday night in front of ESPN cameras inside the bubble at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas? Brook, after all has lost big. That’s lost big. Twice. What’s more, he’s been injured seriously both in and out of the ring. The consensus is that, with his best days behind him, Brook’s name and the memory of his former achievements are the only reason to tune into this weekend’s WBO welterweight title bout. That, my friends, is a mistake. For starters, unless a big name is putting himself in immediate danger or is so far past his prime that getting in the ring is useless, people should be happy to see that big name in a notable fight.
Brook may not be who he was, but no one is saying he’s guaranteed to suffer serious physical harm should things not pan out against Crawford. What’s more, fighters DO have second acts. How many times have we seen boxers be finished, only to return? Never mind the most historical of examples, like the case of George Foreman. Evander Holyfield, Roberto Duran and others have come back from the figurative dead to once again make their mark on the fight world.
If Brook is going to be able to stun the boxing universe, however, he’s going to have to do it with the best tools in his arsenal. For it’s strength and straight punching which has led Brook to wins over the likes of Shawn Porter and to impressively competitive fights with Gennady Golovkin and the aforementioned Spence. Should he be able to use his tools to get Crawford off his game the way he did Porter when he first won the IBF title back in 2014, Brook may actually have a chance of success on Saturday.
It’s worth remembering that this is Crawford Brook is fighting, however, a man who can pretty much adapt to circumstances better than anyone currently in the fight game. Unlike Brook, Crawford is also arguably in his prime. It’s no surprise the Omaha native is expected to win handily. This is boxing, though, and stranger things have certainly happened. And, as his resume attests, Brook is a man willing to put himself into situations where glory can be attained.