It’s not his fault that WBO Welterweight champion, Jeff Horn, finds himself completely written off, all but an afterthought in the days leading up to his second title defense, against perennial pound for pounder Terence Crawford. It’s conspired to make Horn and his team antagonistic, feeling slighted, defensive and borderline paranoid. They haven’t held their tongues nor shown restraint, voicing displeasure with everything from the palpable level of indifference he’s generated in the United States, to Crawford’s punch resistance, to allegations of Top Rank and promoter Bob Arum sabotaging the Aussie’s chances of winning. Fortunately, what matters most is the affair will commence Saturday, June 9th, from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV. Airing live on the ESPN+ app at 8:30pm CST, in what will most assuredly be Horn’s career defining fight; his moment of truth.
If last Summer’s title winning effort over Manny Pacquiao put Jeff Horn (18-0-1, 12 KO’s) on the map, Saturday versus Terence Crawford (32-0, 23 KO’s) is a guaranteed, one-way path to the consideration and legitimacy that currently escapes him. Horn fought very well against the Filipino legend, yet most thought he drew with Pacquiao that night, at best. A stay-busy first defense did nothing to enhance Horn’s reputation either, but Crawford offers the promise of unconditional acceptance in Boxing circles worldwide, should the “Hornet” sting the oddsmakers, coming out victorious.
Anything can happen when world class combatants share a squared ring, but “anything” would be one of the bigger upsets in recent memory, should Horn maintain possession of WBO 147-pound bragging rights. Crawford’s arguably the very best in the world, regardless of weight class, and ranks no lower than 3-5 on any pound for pound list worth sharing. This is “Bud’s” debut at welter, having claimed a championship at 135 and completely unifying at ’40. His tool-box is as deep as any in the game currently, evidenced by how he switches stances, jabs effectively with either lead hand and hooks just as well with either power hand never, ever, neglecting the body, all the while.
Jeff Horn’s as gritty as they come. He’s big for the weight, aggressive, strong, feints well, has an awkward, herky-jerky rhythm and good athleticism. It’ll take more than that to beat Terence Crawford however. Horn will certainly make a referee enforce the rules as well, but the feeling is Crawford will be armed and ready for whatever he attempts. If nothing else the Pacquiao fight revealed Horn isn’t as effective off his back foot, yet if he spends too much time on the front one, Crawford will tee off, cut, hurt and eventually stop the proud Australian. Horn will go out on his shield for sure, but the safe pick is Terence Crawford in 6 or less in Horn’s moment of truth.