Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford is set to make his way to the ring for the first—and only—time in 2020.
The unbeaten three-division and reigning welterweight titlist has agreed on his side to terms for a voluntary title defense versus England’s Kell Brook, three sources with intimate knowledge of such discussions informed BoxingScene.com on Thursday. Minor details remain unresolved, though nothing that will hold up plans for the two to fight on November 14 at a venue to be determined.
Las Vegas remains the frontrunner to land the event which will air live on ESPN, with Top Rank—Crawford’s promoter—having run shows from The Bubble at MGM Grand since June 9 and every weekend since August 22. There are also talks of the bout landing in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska or taking the fight overseas to the United Kingdom.
The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger was the first to report the development, which advances from the previously revealed status of talks moving in the right direction.
"We're having advanced conversations with Brook," Todd DuBoef, president of Top Rank revealed in an earlier interview with Sky Sports. "It makes sense for both fighters. We're eyeing a November date if it can get done. November 14 is earmarked as the date.
"The location, as of now, is Las Vegas in a studio-type environment. There was talk of going to Omaha, where Crawford is from, in an intimate setting with some fans.
"We're weighing it up. First we've got to see if we can put the match together. Then the venue."
Step one appears to be done.
Rumors of such a pairing have swirled for nearly the duration of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, even if it’s a fight upon which Crawford (36-0, 27KOs) was never too keen. The switching-hitting longtime pound-for-pound entrant has been adamant about facing the elite of the welterweight division—fellow titlists Errol Spence (26-0, 21KOs) and legendary Manny Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39KOs)—or even former titlists such as Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman in lieu of a clash with Brook, also a former titlist but whom has seen his best days.
It has also been years since Brook has seen the welterweight division, having not fought at the weight since his near three-year title reign came to a close in an 11th round knockout loss to Spence in May 2017.
Brook won the title in a 12-round unanimous decision over Porter in August 2014, making three successful defenses before suffering the lone two defeats of his career. The fighting pride of Sheffield, England moved up two divisions in a failed middleweight title bid, suffering a 6th round knockout at the hands of Gennadiy Golovkin in September 2016. Eight months later came his return to welterweight, where he conceded the belt to Spence and has since campaigned in the 154-pound division.
Three wins have followed for Brook, who at one point was being steered towards a long-awaited showdown with countryman and former 140-pound titlist Amir Khan. Ironically, the two were on course for a fight in 2019, only for Khan to bail from talks in favor of his own shot at Crawford whom stopped Great Britain’s 2004 Olympic Silver medalist in six rounds last April at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Brook has fought once in 2020, scoring a one-sided 7th round stoppage over Mark DeLuca this past February in his Sheffield hometown. The bout was one of the last this year to take place in front of a venue filled with fans, with the ongoing global health crisis shutting down the sport in mid-March and still playing to crowdless locations even upon its worldwide return earlier this summer.
Crawford has been out of the ring since a 9th round knockout of then-unbeaten mandatory challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas last December at MSG. The bout marked the third successful defense of the 147-pound title Crawford claimed in a one-sided rout of undefeated titlist Jeff Horn in June 2018.
Efforts to unify the title or even face more desirable opposition have proven problematic, leaving Crawford to settle for opportunities such as this. Sources have informed BoxingScene.com that the supremely talented 33-year old put ink to paper for all terms, while finer points remain on Brook’s side before the fight can be formally announced.
Once finalized, the bout will take place one week prior to Spence’s unified welterweight title defense versus former two-division champ Danny Garcia, which headlines a Fox Sports Pay-Per-View event on November 21 at a location to be determined. For those holding out hope for a Spence-Crawford superfight, this latest development at least keeps the two on the same general timeline to at least entertain talks for a 2021 showdown.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox