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Jeff Horn interested in Anthony Mundine fight, not Crawford

By Chris Williams: By Chris Williams: Jeff Horn could be facing former super middleweight champion Anthony Mundine next in a fight that would generate good money in Australia rather than a title defense of his WBO welterweight title against mandatory challenger Terence Crawford.

Not surprisingly, Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) is interested in fighting the 42-year-old Mundine next rather than Crawford, as it’ll give him a bigger payday of possibly $2 million. Horn might make only $1 million to defend against Crawford, and that’s a risky fight due to his counter punching ability.

Horn vs. Mundine (47-8, 27 KOs) would take place at 154 rather than 147. Mundine fights at junior middleweight, and that’s not his true weight class. Mundine spent most of his career at 168, where he twice captured WBA super middleweight titles. Mundine moved down to 154 in 2011, hoping to get a fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was a world champion in that weight class at the time.

Things haven’t gone well for Mundine in the last 4 years with him losing to Daniel Geale, Joshua Clottey, Charles Haley and Danny Green. Mundine has lost 3 out of his last 4 fights. Never the less, Mundine is still a recognizable name in Australia and a fight between him and Horn would definitely sell over that country.

Horn’s promoter Dean Lonergan doubts Crawford’s ability to sell a fight between him and Horn. Lonergan sees Crawford as not good with the media with his communication skills. He lacks the charisma needed to build a big fight at this time.

“Terence Crawford is pound-for-pound the world’s toughest fighter but he is the worst of all worlds, a really tough fight but not a big money fight,” said Lonergan to ”The reason is he’s absolutely poor in the media; he’s not a great communicator. As a result he doesn’t have a great following, doesn’t sell a lot of tickets, and doesn’t do a lot of pay-per-views,” said Lonergan.

Crawford doesn’t do any PPVs nowadays. I think he had one PPV fight and that was his disaster against Viktor Postol, which reportedly brought in just 50,000 buys in July of 2016. That was a card that was loaded with 3 of Top Rank’s top young fighters in Oscar Valdez, Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Ryota Murata. The fight card still didn’t sell.

“I’ve watched his interviews; he needs a lot of help to get right, because Conor McGregor he ain’t. So start talking it up, Terence. Say something interesting,” said Lonergan.

At this point, I think Crawford needs a full time public relations wizard that would coach what he says to the media, how he says it, and have him dressing and acting out the part. It’s going to take some acting classes for Crawford to get the most out of his outside of the ring presentation to the media. The goal would be to turn Crawford into a charismatic type athlete like Conor McGregor.

If Crawford can be turned into that kind of guy outside of the ring, he’d be one of the biggest stars in boxing. He needs to lighten up, joke, smile and have some routines down. Look at the late comedian Bob Hope. The guy had written jokes with him every time he was out in public. Crawford needs to have something planned each time he’s out. McGregor is like an actor when he’s with the media, and it’s not all spontaneous. He acts like he’s thought the stuff out ahead of time, and it works well for him. That’s what Crawford needs. It’s obviously too late for Crawford to attract enough interest to get Horn to want to fight him next rather than Mundine. The time for Crawford to have been working on his image was years ago, not just now. It’s not too late for Crawford to increase his star power, but it’s probably too late for him to get the fight against Horn next.

Horn will have to face Crawford at some point in 2018, but it sounds like it’s not going to happen next.

Crawford’s promoter Bob Arum won’t be pleased at all if Horn takes the Mundine fight next. Arum is hoping to turn Crawford into a star once he wins the WBO welterweight title that is currently in the possession of Horn. Arum co-promotes Horn, but he seems to have high interest in Crawford, which is understandable, as he promotes him fully. If Crawford has to wait on the Horn fight, it likely won’t make Arum happy.

Arum wants Crawford to be able to fight Horn straightaway in early 2018. If Crawford has to wait for the title shot, it’ll upset Arum’s grand plans. Crawford is already 30-years-old. He’s not getting any younger, and he’s still not a PPV fighter. Arum was standing right behind Horn inside the ring following his stoppage win over #10 WBO fringe contender Gary Corcoran earlier this week on December 13 in Brisbane, Australia. Horn stopped Corcoran in the 11th round.

Arum had a big smile on his face after the fight when Horn was talking about him potentially fighting Crawford next. Horn sounded VERY reluctant in talking about the Crawford fight, as if it was an ordeal that he was not looking forward to. The way that Horn was talking, I had a pretty good idea that he was going to fight someone else next instead of Crawford. If WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith Thurman were available, I would bet that Horn would take that fight. Thurman can talk and sell a fight with his trash talking. Thurman is coming off an elbow injury, and he wants to take a warm-up fight in his first match in 2018, so that rules out a unification fight against Horn.

Getting a $2 million payday fighting Mundine is an ideal situation for Horn. It’s unclear how much of that $2 million Horn will have left after taxes, but it sounds a lot better than getting $1 million to fight Crawford.

If Top Rank with the help of ESPN can come up with more money to top what Horn can make fighting Mundine, then they might be able to out-bid him. It just depends on how badly Top Rank and ESPN wants to see Horn and Crawford face each other in early 2018. It’s hard to imagine them coming up with more money than what Horn can make fighting Mundine.

“There’s plenty of fighters out there, there’s plenty of options,” said Horn. ”There’s other guys out there. There’s the Mundines, there’s the Amir Khans, there’s heaps of them. There’s heaps of options.”

Does that sound like a fighter that wants to face Crawford next? I think it’s academic at this point that Horn is going to go in a different direction for his next fight rather than facing Crawford. Horn could make Arum happy if he fought Crawford next, but why do it if the money isn’t the same as what he could make against someone else. With the high risk that a fight like Crawford would be bringing to Horn, you can understand why he’s not eager to take the fight. It’s a high risk, low reward fight for Horn to take on Crawford. Horn is going to have to take that fight sooner or later, but until the fight is ordered, you can’t blame Horn for wanting to go in another direction.

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