WBO welterweight titleholder and pound-for-pound elite Terence “Bud” Crawford will make his first in-ring appearance of 2020 on Saturday, as he’s set to defend against former welterweight champ Kell “Special K” Brook. The fight will be headlining a Top Rank card from the MGM Conference Center in Las Vegas.
Crawford (36-0, 27 KO)—who’s won world titles in three different weight classes—has been near the top of many pound-for-pound lists for several years now, but is currently lacking a signature fight at 147 pounds. Since taking the WBO strap from Jeff Horn in 2018, Crawford has defended against Jose Benavidez Jr., Amir Khan and Egis Kavaliauskas. While those fighters are talented, none of them currently carry the same drawing power as WBC/IBF titleholder Errol Spence.
And while many boxing fans weren’t necessarily clamoring for Crawford to fight Brook on Saturday, it’s still the closest thing to a marquee matchup that he’s had in the welterweight division so far. In Brook, Crawford faces a strong, sturdy welterweight with hand speed, boxing craft and punching power.
Brook (41-2, 39 KO) outpointed Shawn Porter to win a welterweight title in 2014, and after two defenses, moved up to middleweight to challenge then unified champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in 2016. After being stopped in the fifth round of that fight, Brook then moved back down to 147 pounds to defend his belt against Errol Spence Jr. in 2017. Although he performed much better in the fight with Spence, he was stopped in that fight as well during the 11th round.
Since then, Brook has won three fights, each at 154 pounds. And while he did come pretty close to a title opportunity in that weight class as well, he was offered the fight against Crawford and decided to go that route instead. Saturday night will be Brook’s first fight at welterweight since 2017.
Crawford is likely a heavy favorite to win against Brook, and if he does, fans will be anticipating a future showdown with Spence, who will be defending his titles in December against Danny Garcia. But if Brook is able to pull off an upset, it would unquestionably be considered the biggest achievement in his career, and could set him up for big paydays later down the line.
In the co-main event, WBA “regular” super flyweight titleholder Joshua “El Profesor” Franco will make the first defense of his belt in a rematch against Andrew “The Monster” Moloney.
Franco (17-1-2, 8 KO) first met Moloney in June, winning a unanimous decision to lift the secondary WBA title. After 12 rounds, the judges’ scorecards read 115-112 and 114-113 (2X), all in favor of Franco. The 25-year-old San Antonio native is also looking to earn his third consecutive victory on Saturday after fighting to a draw with Oscar Negrete in 2019.
Moloney (21-1, 14 KO) was an unbeaten fighter before his first meeting with Franco back in June, and was riding a four-fight TKO streak prior to that fight as well. If he regains the title on the 14th, he can once again say that he’s beaten every man he’s ever faced.
Given that super flyweight has champions like Juan Francisco Estrada, Roman “Chocolatitio” Gonzalez and Jerwin Ancajas, the winner of the Franco-Moloney rematch could have some big fights ahead of them in the near future.