The Friday Faceup

Photo courtesy of Mikey Williams/Top Rank

So far, British welterweight Kell Brook can be considered a ‘special’ fighter. Anyone who compiles a record of 39-2 (27 KO’s), has fought in six world title fights, winning a version in the other guys backyard and, at 34 years old, is about to share the ring with the #3 pound-for-pound fighter in the world has to be special.

But, how special will be determined in the MGM Grand ‘Bubble’ in Las Vegas on Saturday night. If the man from Sheffield, England can defeat American Terence Crawford (36-0, 27 KO’s) in this Top Rank Inc. promotion then he will move up the pantheon of ‘special’ fighters that the British Isles has produced.

The slick Brook has fought in elite company for much of his late career. His standout victory was back in 2014 when he ‘toughed out’ a decision in a fantastic fight against American Shawn Porter to take his IBF world welterweight title. That victory looked even better year on year as Porter went on to win other world titles.

Brook would eventually lose that title in 2017 in his hometown to Errol Spence Jnr, after moving up to middleweight to lose to Gennadiy Golovkin, and coming back down to 147lbs. Those two names underline the company he’s fought in and although both losses he was extremely competitive until fractured orbital sockets resulted in his retirement.

Nebraskan WBO world welterweight champion Crawford is one of the best in the world. Quite simply he is the ‘creme de la creme’. A switch-hitter with outstanding skills and respectable power who’s won world titles in three weight categories. Only a year younger than Brook he is a fighter who still strives for ‘greatness’ and will see the Sheffield man as a stepping stone, albeit a dangerous one.

The fight televised in the UK on the Premier Sports subscription channel in the early hours of Sunday morning will be an excellent contest between two elite fighters. Both have quality boxing skills and outstanding CV’s. The smart money is on Crawford defeating Brook by stoppage or a wide points margin. This won’t make Crawford ‘special’, but, if the result is the other way around then, it certainly will for the Brit. Catch it if you can.

There are two significant promotions in the UK this weekend. First up tonight (13th) is the quickly arranged rematch between Mark Heffron (25-1-1, 19 KO’s) and Denzel Bentley (13-0-1, 11 KO’s) for the vacant British middleweight title. In September they fought an exciting draw over 10 rounds in a final eliminator, but tonight the title is up for grabs. It promises to be another ‘pick-ems’ fight with an entertaining clash of styles. The Queensberry Promotion will be shown on BT Sport 1 from 19:30 GMT.

Following hot on its heels tomorrow is the Matchroom Boxing promotion featuring undisputed female lightweight champion Katie Taylor against her mandatory challenger Spaniard Miriam Gutierrez.

The 34 year old Taylor (16-0, 6 KO’s) is one of the biggest stars in female boxing and a fistic icon. In Gutierrez (13-0, 5 KO’s) she faces an opponent who comes to fight, is solid, but unlikely to take the Irish champion’s multiple world titles. The fight and full card is televised on Sky Sports and available on DAZN worldwide.

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