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Jeff Horn – Terence Crawford agree to Apr.21 fight

Terence Crawford

By Chris Williams: Jeff Horn’s team have a deal in place for him to defend his WBO welterweight title against #1 mandatory Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) on April 21. The deal isn’t complete yet, as Crawford and Horn’s promoter Bob Arum is looking over the final details before a contract is signed by the 2 fighters. The Horn vs. Crawford fight is likely to take place in Horn’s home country in Brisbane, Australia. Horn brings in a lot of money for his fights in Australia.

Horn is pleased with the purse that he’ll be receiving for the fight with the 30-year-old Crawford. It’s a good situation for Horn. Even if he loses to Crawford, he’ll likely get a rematch against him at some point, as they’re both with Top Rank and the boss of that company enjoys putting together lots of rematches between his stable fighters. It wouldn’t be surprising if Horn and Crawford wind up facing each other 3 at least, as long as the fights are competitive. If the April 21 fight is a wipeout for Crawford, then that will likely limit Arum to putting together just 1 rematch stead of having them fight each other 3 to 4 times.

”As far as we’re concerned, it’s pretty much a deal,” Rushton said to APP. “But no deals done until it’s done, so we just have to cross t’s, dot i’s and actually get this thing locked down.”

Horn, 29, has made one successful defense of his WBO 147 lb. title in defeating Gary Corcoran by an 11th round knockout last month on December 13. It was a good fight for Horn. He took it easy by facing Corcoran rather than one of the higher ranked contenders like #3 WBO Bradley Skeete or #2 WBO Lucas Matthysse.

Horn wanted to face #1 WBO former welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao in a rematch in December, but the Filipino star couldn’t get free from his senatorial job in the Philippines. Horn beat Pacquiao by a 12 round unanimous decision last year on July 2. The outcome of that fight left a lot of boxing fans angry and feeling like Horn won an old fashioned hometown decision. It was a fight that could have gone either way. The area where you can criticize the fight is with the fouling that Horn got away with. He really roughed Pacquiao up badly, head-butting him, shoving him around, and putting him in head-locks all night long. The referee, for whatever reason, never stepped in to penalize Horn. If Horn had lost points for his fouling, the outcome could have been different. At the very least, Horn would have stopped roughing Pacquiao up and the fight would have been an easier one for him. Until this fight, Pacquiao hadn’t faced a lot of guys that roughed him up the way Horn did.

Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) had talked about possibly facing 42-year-old former super middleweight champion Anthony Mundine. However, it was unclear whether the money would be there for Horn to take the fight with the Australian Mundine. There were also additional risks involved as far as Mundine needing to win his interim fight, and make it through training camp without suffering an injury that would postpone the Horn fight. In the end, it was too much uncertainty for Horn to take the fight.

Crawford is making his first fight at welterweight after dominating the light welterweight division for the past 2 years. Crawford recently unified the 140 lb. division by capturing all 4 of the titles in that weight class. However, given the lack of big names for Crawford to fight at light welterweight, he’s decided to move up to 147 to go after the more popular fighters in that weight class.

It remains to be seen whether Crawford’s promoter Arum is able to make deals with the promoters for the other fighter. In the recent past, Arum has tended to setup a lot of fights involving his own Top Rank fighters rather than him working with other promoters. In the past of Arum’s once popular fighter Manny Pacquiao, he matched him mostly against his own fighters rather than putting him in against other guys outside of his company. Arum can’t do that with Crawford, because he’s not popular enough for him to be built into a star by only being matched against his Top Rank stable fighters. Arum clearly needs the best fighters from outside of his Top Rank company to agree to fight Crawford. That means he likely needs these fighters to agree to face Crawford: Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr., Shawn Porter, Amir Khan, Kell Brook, Adrien Broner and Danny Garcia. I don’t know if any of those fighters will ever agree to face Crawford, because he’s with Arum. Moreover, Crawford has a negative style of fighting that make shim difficult to fight with the way he changes stances constantly, moves around the ring, showboats, holds, and counter punches. It’s bad enough that Crawford is a counter puncher. A lot of fighters don’t like facing counter punchers. But when you add the fact that Crawford changes his stance constantly, holds and moves around the ring a lot, it makes him a less than desirable fighter to face. The top boxers would likely overlook all those negatives if Crawford was a huge PPV fighter, but he’s not and it’s unclear if he ever will be. It takes the right mix of qualities in a fighter to make a PPV guy in boxing. Middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport, and he’s not a PPV guy. Crawford is arguably far behind Golovkin in terms of entertainment value, so it’s hard to see him making the leap to PPV anytime soon, especially if Arum is unable to match him against the popular non-Top Rank fighters like Thurman, Spence, Broner, Khan, Brook, Porter and Danny Garcia.

“We have certainly agreed on all the key terms and from our side, it’s a go,” said Rushton. ”Now Bob (Arum)’s got to tidy up some loose ends. We have total confidence in Bob and Top Rank that he’ll get this all locked up and we’ll have a contract in our hands by the end of next week.”

Horn is a straight ahead type of brawler. He’s the perfect type of fighter for a counter puncher like Crawford. However, we don’t know how well Crawford will deal with a guy the size and the strength of Horn. One of the things that have made Crawford so good at 140 is his huge size for the weight class. Crawford would drain down from 157 to make weight at 140 for his fights at light welterweight. Once Crawford rehydrated, he was bigger than his opponents. At welterweight, it’s going to be a different story. Crawford won’t be bigger than everyone he faces. He’ll be just as big as most of the guys he faces, but he’ll be lighter than many of the fighters. Horn is more like a junior middleweight than a welterweight. Unless Crawford bulks up for the welterweight division, he’ll be giving away a lot of size to Horn on April 21. It’ll be interesting to see how well Crawford’s power carries up to the welterweight division against the bigger fighters that are essentially junior middleweights and middleweights. Thurman and Spence are both guys that drain down from the low 170s to fight at 147. They’re basically the same weight as middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. Crawford is going to have to prove that he can handle fighters that big, because if he can’t, he won’t be a factor in the welterweight division.

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