Welterweight champ Crawford set to face Brook

Boxing

One of boxing’s top fighters will be back in the ring next month.

Welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford will square off against former titleholder Kell Brook, Top Rank chairman Bob Arum confirmed Wednesday. The fight is scheduled for Nov. 14 at a location that is yet to be determined, a source told ESPN.

Crawford (36-0, 27 KOs) is the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in ESPN’s rankings and the current WBO champion in the 147-pound division. Brook (39-2, 27 KOs) is a former welterweight titleholder who is coming off a knockout win in February.

Arum said the bout will be on a linear ESPN platform. The Top Rank executive opted against having Crawford fight on pay-per-view because of the financial strains caused by COVID-19.

“These networks have to understand how people are hurting, how many people in this country and in the U.K. are out of work because of this pandemic,” Arum said. “I think it’s really immoral to require people to spend [more] money watching their favorite sport every week, every other week.”

Crawford-Brook is the second major fight that will air on a linear ESPN platform. Arum’s comments Wednesday came during a news conference featuring Vasiliy Lomachenko. Lomachenko (14-1, 10 KOs), ESPN’s top pound-for-pound fighter, will face Teofimo Lopez (15-0, 12 KOs) in a lightweight unification fight on Oct. 17 on the network.

A location for Crawford-Brook is yet to be finalized, with sites in Las Vegas and Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska, as potential options. Arum said the Lomachenko-Lopez fight, which will feature 250 spectators inside the Top Rank “bubble” at the MGM Grand Convention Center, will be a trial run for future fights that potentially could have fans.

That could have implications for Crawford-Brook. Arum noted Top Rank has explored a scenario that could have up to 15,000 fans inside Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium, which could be fitted for 75,000 fans for a boxing event.

“We hope this will lead to events where we can have paying spectators [at a] safe distance and [on] a limited basis,” Arum said.

Crawford has made three successful defenses of his WBO belt and won his past seven fights by stoppage. The 33-year-old has not fought in 2020. The last time he was in the ring, he defeated Egidijus Kavaliauskas via technical knockout in December 2019.

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