There’s a new sheriff in town at 147 pounds: Terence Crawford
Former lightweight and junior welterweight boss Terence “Bud” Crawford, 33-0 (24), stepped up to welterweight and dethroned WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn, 18-1-1 (12), via ninth round TKO, on Saturday night, at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Sitting beside my UCNLive.com colleague Mike Baca II, it became clear, very quickly, that there are indeed levels to boxing and Crawford, the pride of Omaha, Nebraska, was on a whole different level from his gutsy, game Aussie counterpart.
Horn, who picked up the title last July by dethroning superstar Manny Pacquiao, in a controversial unanimous decision, looked to use an aggressive attack to try and throw Crawford off of his game. However it became readilly apparent that it takes more than heart and will to land any serious offense on a fighter as skilled as Crawford.
Once Bud had his timing down, he started to execute a counterpunching clinic that saw him rapidly sap Horn’s strength, as he repeatedly caught him with vicious body and head shots.
Crawford hurt Horn in round nine and was peppering him with clean, damaging shots, by round’s end. Crawford dropped Horn with a left hook, and moved in to finish him shortly after the brave Australian rose from the canvas. Crawford closed the show with a flourish, launching a nonstop attack that trapped Horn against the ropes. To the roars of the loud, raucous crowd, referee Robert Byrd jumped in to save the overachieving but overmatched Australian at 2:33 of round nine.
With the victory, Crawford has slotted himself in the mix for some potential high-profile welterweight bouts with champions like IBF beltholder Errol Spence Jr. and WBA titlist Keith Thurman.
At the post-fight presser, Crawford made it clear that he was pleased with how things went and now looks forward to bigger and better things in the division.
“About the second or third round, I knew I was the stronger guy,” said Crawford “I knew (Horn’s) punches couldn’t hurt me. I hit him with a right hook that really hurt him and I knew then it was just a matter of time. He did everything we expected him to do. We knew how he was going to come.
“There’s only so much you can change when you fight one style and one style only, so we knew how the fight was going to go,” continued Crawford. “He came in there with the intention of roughing me up and getting aggressive but the thing he didn’t understand was how strong I was, so I think they underestimated that aspect. We knew what we were up against. We dealt with bigger, stronger, faster sparring partners, in training camp, that were relentless and didn’t back up, which helped me prepare for tonight. I feel like this is a great division for me. I feel like I’m stronger and more energized at 147.”
The Final Round
* In a welterweight title eliminator, undefeated Jose Benavidez Jr., 27-0 (18), KO’d previously undefeated Frank Rojas, 22-1 (21), in the first round. It was the second win in a row for the comebacking Benavidez, who returned last February, following a layoff after being shot in the leg. With the win, Benavidez puts himself in the mix for a shot at Crawford. It’s a fight Benavidez would like, as he has said many times that he would welcome a fight with Crawford. Bud and Benavidez could do boffo biz in Omaha, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see this fight happen.
* From the “Jeff, don’t hold your breath department,” despite losing every round against Crawford, Horn stated he would love a rematch against the new champion. Um…yeah…I’m sure you would! (I assume losing every round, and getting stopped, isn’t the best negotiating tool to get a return gig but, hey, what do I know?) One stipulation: Crawford has to be willing to come to Australia. A rematch would do huge numbers over there and, maybe if there are enough zeroes on Bud’s paycheck, he could be convinced to head Down Under. If they do a rematch, it will be the same thing all over again; only this time, Crawford has the blueprint, so the stoppage might come sooner.