TWO undefeated world champions are set to square off and according to the oddsmakers this fight shouldn’t be competitive. Have they got it wrong for once? Is Jeff Horn being disrespected and overlooked? Or is Terence Crawford really that special and the next pound-for-pound king? The showdown on Saturday June 9 should go a long way towards answering these questions.
Crawford comes into this fight rightly touted as one of the best fighters in the sport today. A switch-hitting virtuoso who has so far become the kingpin in two weight divisions, he has set his sights on a third. In this era of multiple belts per weight class, Crawford won the lineal title at lightweight, then moved up to light-welterweight and did the same there before unifying and becoming the undisputed champion (he claimed every notable belt in the weight class). To say what Crawford did is rare and should be heralded is an understatement. Terence Crawford thus far in his career has shown great adaptability, great boxing skills and a vicious mean streak when required. I cannot shake the feeling when watching Crawford that I am witnessing a modern-day Marvin Hagler (as a huge Hagler fan this is the ultimate compliment). Should Crawford claim a significant title in his third weight class he will set up lucrative, mouth-watering fights with the likes of Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr and Danny Garcia. The carrot is well and truly being dangled in this fight.
Jeff Horn burst into boxing consciousness amid controversy. Most boxing fans let out a collective groan when the unheralded Horn was selected as an opponent for first ballot Hall of Famer Manny Pacquiao. Horn went on to use his awkward rhythm, ruggedness, size and strength to pull off a shock decision against Pacquiao, one which most boxing fans felt he didn’t deserve. Terms were apparently agreed for a rematch until Pacquiao did a U-turn, leaving Horn without a dance partner. Horn then made a defence against Britain’s own Gary Corcoran and while despite Gary putting forth a brave effort, Horn proved the jump to world class was one too far. In that defence Jeff Horn showed some underrated boxing skills, speed and defence. People forgot but Horn was a former Olympian, his pedigree is high. As it stands Horn feels overlooked by not only Crawford but the boxing fraternity and is focused on earning the respect that has eluded him.
The fact this fight is deemed as a mismatch according to the oddsmakers baffles me. This contest has all the ingredients a fantastic clash of styles. On the surface we have Crawford, the slick, smooth switch-hitter vs Horn, the rugged, durable brawler. Look a bit deeper and we can see so many more layers to each combatant. Crawford, aggressive and resilient with a violent mean streak. Horn, underrated speed, skills and Olympic boxing pedigree. This fight is far from a forgone conclusion.
Many are expecting the uncrowned pound-for-pound king to blow Horn away with ease. I on the other hand expect a much tougher assignment. One in which Horn once again uses his awkward rhythm to frustrate and drag a fighter into deep waters. This time however, I think Horn is up against a fighter who can adapt, fight fire with fire and wade through those deep waters.
I predict a gruelling, entertaining fight. A fight which I think adds to Terrence Crawford’s greatness as he meets Jeff Horn and beats him at his own game. Terrence Crawford to win a unanimous decision 117-113.