Former two-division king Terence Crawford looks to dominate at welterweight

 

On July 9, former two-division king Terence “Bud” Crawford goes up against WBO 147-pound champion Jeff “The Hornet” Horn. Crawford will attempt to relieve Horn of the WBO strap he took from Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao, last summer. The two will tangle at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, in Las Vegas, Nevada (ESPN+, 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).

 

Save for a draw five years ago in his fourth bout, Horn remains undefeated and comes in at 18-0-1 (12). Nebraska’s Crawford has been perfect since turning pro 10 years ago and will enter the ring undefeated in 32 fights with 23 of his opponents not hearing the final bell.

 

With perhaps only one name on his resume familiar to North American fight fans, that being former two-division titlist Randall Bailey, a largely unknown Horn looked across the ring at Manny Pacquiao in July of 2017.

 

After 23 years in the sport, with 67 bouts in the bank, Pacquiao’s speed and timing, understandably, aren’t what they once were. However he would enter the ring as a favorite against the unbeaten 29-year-old Horn before a crowd of 51,000, at the Suncorp Stadium, in Brisbane, Australia.

 

Pacquiao appeared to land the cleaner and more damaging shots but an awkward, very active and overachieving Horn was awarded the unanimous decision after 12 rounds.

 

While many observers felt Pacquiao deserved the nod against Horn, the fact is he didn’t get the decision. Horn left the ring as a world champion and a new star in Australian boxing.

 

Horn would return five months later to stop England’s Jeff Corcoran, successfully defending his title for the first time.

 

Meanwhile in the summer of 2017, Crawford was busy hoovering up the last available belt at 140 pounds with a stoppage of IBF/WBA champion Julius Indongo, last August, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

 

Having dominated at lightweight and junior welterweight, Crawford decided it was time to move up to the welterweight division and it was champion Horn he immediately set his sights on.

 

If the fight carries any of the sting of some of the pre-fight comments that have gone back and forth between the two camps, then there should be some fireworks in this one.

 

While Crawford and his team are not ones to back down from a war of words, they are typically cordial and respectful of their opposition. However recent comments coming from the Horn camp certainly caught their attention.

 

After the initial April fight date had to be postponed, due to a hand injury attained in sparring by Crawford, Horn and his team were quick on the attack.

 

Horn’s promoter Dean Lonergan came out swinging, saying, “It just goes to show you that these Yanks are nowhere near as tough as they make out. The one good thing is that it means a lot more Queenslanders will now be able to go to the fight in Vegas, as the Commonwealth Games will be over.”

 

Added Horn trainer Glenn Rushton, “It’s incredibly disappointing that a slight hand injury would stop a multimillion-dollar production. If it was us in the same position, I know that Jeff would definitely fight. For Terence to stall the fight like this is really soft. Terence will get a slapping but it will come a few weeks later than we thought.”

 

Crawford, generally a quiet man, and certainly sportsman-like toward his opposition, clearly didn’t like the insinuations from Horn’s team and immediately took to social media to let his feelings be known.

 

“I am going to show you a little princess come fight night. You just keep training and keeping my belt warm because I’m fucking you up, come fight night. You, me and everyone knows it,” said a clearly agitated Crawford.

 

This fight should heat up to a boil by first bell and, certainly, the days leading up to the event during fight week in Vegas could be interesting.

 

Clearly Horn feels he upset the applecart once and he plans to do it again.

 

“I’m the bigger guy,” Horn said, “and I’ve got the style to beat him. I’m not scared of this guy. I’ve worked harder for this fight than I ever have. I’ll be pushing hard, pressuring him throughout the fight.”

 

But don’t try telling that to Nebraska’s favorite son. who has yet to taste defeat. Crawford, who is one of the best counterpunchers and boxers in the game, clearly has no problem taking it to the street, if that is where Horn wants to go.

 

“He’s rough. He doesn’t come to lay down. He comes to win. I like that,” Crawford said. “When I beat him, it’s going to be more telling for me that I beat someone who was game and didn’t come to get a payday. I can get dirty too and I’ll tell you like this: I’m bigger than Pacquiao and stronger than Pacquiao.”

 

Pacquiao is scheduled to fight Lucas Matthyse on July 9, so don’t be surprised to see the winner of Horn-Crawford face the winner of Matthysse-Pacquiao.

 

Horn, who is enjoying his new superstar status in Australian boxing, looks to prove the Pacquiao win was no upset.

 

Meanwhile Crawford hopes to eliminate Horn from any unification opportunities, or a Pacquiao rematch, as he plans to leave the ring as a world champion in his third weight class.

 

 

Dig the details…

 

– Crawford is looking to become a three-division world champion, having won titles at 135 and 140.

– Horn is making his first appearance in the United States.

– This will be Horn’s third world title bout and Crawford’s 11th.

– Crawford has stopped seven of his last 10 opponents, all in world title fights.

– Horn has stopped seven of his last 10 opponents; two of the 10 were world title fights.

– Horn has been a champion for 11 months.

– Crawford has been a champion for a total of three years, five months.

 

 

Prediction…

 

As stated earlier, Horn is an overachiever, is gutsy and is game. However Crawford is one of the most skilled boxers in the game and is also iron-tough. Try as he might, I can’t see Horn’s crude, swarming style giving master-boxer Crawford a lot of trouble. Look for Bud to work off a counterpunching clinic and stop Horn in the middle rounds.

 

 

 

Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca and you can follow him at twitter.com/tibbs_bill.

 

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