LAS VEGAS – Terence Crawford is confident he reiterated his point by quickly knocking out Kell Brook, that he is the best boxer, pound-for-pound, in the world.
Crawford stopped Brook faster Saturday night than Gennadiy Golovkin beat Brook in September 2016 and earlier than Errol Spence Jr. knocked out Brook in May 2017. The 33-year-old Crawford isn’t interested in comparing performances, but he doesn’t think there is any debate about where he ranks among boxing’s best.
“You know, I showed why I’m considered the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world,” Crawford said. “You know, given my size, me moving up two weight classes, from 135, and stopping every opponent that I stepped in the ring with at welterweight, you know, that tells a lot.”
The skillful, versatile Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs) has beaten all five of his opponents by technical knockout since he moved up to the welterweight division from junior welterweight 2½ years ago. The Omaha, Nebraska, native has won world titles in three weight classes and became boxing’s undisputed 140-pound champion before he moved up to 147 pounds.
Crawford has drawn criticism, however, for not facing other elite welterweights since he moved up from the 140-pound division. He has beaten Jeff Horn, Jose Benavidez Jr., Amir Khan, mandatory challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas and Brook in his welterweight bouts.
Nevertheless, Crawford is at or near the top of most mythical pound-for-pound lists, along with four-division champion Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) and unbeaten IBF/WBA bantamweight champ Naoya Inoue (20-0, 17 KOs). Spence, the IBF/WBC welterweight champ, also is listed among the top five in many pound-for-pound rankings.
The 30-year-old Spence (26-0, 21 KOs) knocked out Brook (39-3, 27 KOs) in the 11th round of their fight at Bramall Lane, an outdoor soccer stadium in Sheffield, England, Brook’s hometown.
Crawford demolished him much quicker than that at MGM Grand Conference Center, but detractors contend that Brook’s knockout defeats to Golovkin and Spence physically diminished him. Brook suffered fractured orbital bones in each of his losses to Golovkin (right) and Spence (left), both of which required surgery.
“I don’t compare my fight and Spence fight the same,” Crawford said. “You know, I don’t compare ‘em. Styles make fights. We’re different fighters. You know, that’s like comparing my fight with Shawn Porter [against Brook] and the other, Triple-G [against Brook]. I’m not gonna do it. I think the message is you can’t judge a book by its cover.”
Brook beat Porter (31-3-1, 17 KOs), who was undefeated at that time, by majority decision in their 12-rounder in August 2014 to win the IBF 147-pound crown he eventually lost to Spence.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.