After a slow start, Terence Crawford exploded into life in the fourth round to drop and stop a shellshocked Kell Brook in the ‘Bubble’ at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas, on Saturday night.

Crawford (37-0, 28 KOs), one of the best finishers in boxing, saw an opening and closed the show with brutal efficiency.

Courtesy of a sharp jab, Brook (39-3, 27 KOs) led on two judges’ cards entering the fourth before a lightning right hook sent him into the ropes, which kept him up.

Referee Tony Weeks rightly administered an official count before Crawford tore in and finished the fight with a rapid blur of punches with a bemused Brook still on his feet but not firing back.

Brook (right) posed early problems before a clinical Crawford took him out.
Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images.

It was Crawford’s eighth straight win inside the distance at the highest level.

“Kell is a tremendous talent. I can’t take nothing away from him,” said Crawford. “He came and he tried, but I took my time. He was in shape, made the weight, so there was no excuses [he brought] to the table. He just came off of three wins, not coming off of a loss, so he had his confidence up. And he lost to a better man tonight.”

Crawford was at his destructive best.
Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images.

Brook added: “Never in my career, nobody has ever done that to me in sparring or anything. It was one of them… I got caught with a shot I didn’t see. I’m gutted because nobody could’ve gotten me in better condition. I was bang on the limit. Maybe I could’ve been a bit more relaxed and loose and let the shots go.”

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum said: “Terence Crawford showed, once again, why he is the best welterweight in the world. It was a dominating performance over a very good fighter in Kell Brook. Terence ranks up there with all the great welterweights I’ve promoted.”

High praise indeed.

Main image and all photos: Mikey Williams/Top Rank via Getty Images.