As first announced, I was not excited about the fight at all. Crawford, so slick, so skilled, going in with a past his best, even disinterested Brook, would win with ease, was my thinking (along with a good number of other people, some feeling Brook was “cashing out” with this fight).
But things have changed.
Firstly, Brook is as interested in this fight, in winning this fight, as could possibly be imagined. Brook, 39-2(27) has put in all the work in his long training camp (he says it’s the best he’s ever had), and just one look at the man lets you know this.
Brook has never before looked like he looks right now. Massive for the weight but on weight (at the first attempt), chiseled, muscular, and looking, as he says himself, like a beast, Brook looks to be in terrifyingly good shape. Even his face looks different, leaner, his cheekbones more pronounced.
Of course, looks do not win fights; not that Crawford, 36-0(27) doesn’t look magnificent himself, if leaner and slimmer than Brook. What does win fights, though, is determination.
At least determination can win fights, along with heart, a willingness to go through whatever needs to be gone through, along with skill and strength, both mental and physical. Brook has all these things with him going into tonight’s fight.
For years now, we’ve wanted to see Crawford tested to his limits, made to dig so very deep so that we can see his true greatness. I think this will come tonight. Brook is willing to lay it all on the line, he is super-motivated, and he believes he will be the stronger man in the ring.
Brook will, in my opinion, come out fast, he will put real heat on Crawford, he will knock the classy switch-hitter out of his game. Brook will, at times, rough Crawford up, and at other times he will box and time the champion.
Crawford is used to winning, and of course, he expects to win tonight. Brook, on the other hand, expects to go through hell and come out the other side. No way is Crawford as pumped up, as fired up, and as motivated as his challenger.
Brook will make it his fight. Crawford will respond as the special fighters do. It will be part war, part classic boxing match, part survival of who wants it more. It will be a candidate for Fight of The Year.
Brook, having bossed the first half of the fight, will dig deep, and he will fight through facial injury and fatigue to win a round or two during the fight’s second half, and he will hold on to win a very close, very hard-fought battle.
Brook will win on points, in an upset win that ranks right up there with Lloyd Honeyghan’s triumph over Donald Curry. A lot of people will owe Brook one big apology after this fight is over. Crawford will be calling for a rematch.