TERENCE CRAWFORD knocked out Kell Brook in round four to retain his WBO welterweight world title.
The American pound-for-pound star – returning after a year out – started slow in Las Vegas’ empty MGM Grand.
But in round four, after a counter right hand, Brook was sent rocking back and handed a standing count.
Despite fighting on, lethal finisher Crawford swarmed the challenger with a barrage of shots causing the fight to be stopped.
After his 37 career win, he said: “I was trying to gauge the distance. He had good distance.
“I was trying to find my rhythm in between getting my distance together. That’s why it was so competitive at first. I couldn’t get my shots off.
“Kell is a tremendous talent. He came and he tried to take my title. He was in shape.
“He made the weight. There were no excuses to be put on the table. He came off of three wins.
“He lost to the better man.”
Brook, fighting at welterweight for the first time since 2017, made a bright start and bossed the first two rounds with an expertly timed jab.
He even threatened with straight right hands, as Crawford went in the southpaw stance to change up his game plan.
By round three, the champion began to find his range and rhythm better, but Brook’s jab was still causing him a problem.
The fight then suddenly turned on its head a minute into the fourth as Crawford landed a perfectly timed right hand in the southpaw stance.
Brook was sent reeling backwards and took punishment on the ropes before a standing eight-count was called.
He was given the chance to fight on but was still dazed as Crawford – who came into the fight with a 75 per cent finish rate – sensed blood.
The Nebraskan landed another right hook over the top and after a string of left hands, Brook was saved by the referee.
Following the loss, he said: “This is boxing. I got caught with shot I didn’t see.
“The referee waved it off and that’s never happened to me before.
“I’d rather lose out my shield. The better man won.”
Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum revealed he will attempt to put the WBO champion in the ring with Errol Spence Jr.
But Arum fears Spence – who fights Danny Garcia on December 5 – will try and avoid the unification.
He said: “Errol Spence will try to avoid Crawford for as long as he can.
“You saw the performance tonight. He’ll take out Spence in the same number of rounds as he did Kell Brook.”
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.