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Jeff Horn says he’ll prove critics wrong by beating Crawford

By Chris Williams: Jeff Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) has started sparring to get ready for his title defense of his WBO welterweight belt against mandatory Terence Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) in their Top Rank promoted card on April 14 on ESPN pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Horn, 29, says he’s going to prove the critics wrong just like he did in beating 39-year-old Manny Pacquiao last July in Brisbane, Australia. The difference is Crawford isn’t old and over-the-hill like Pacquiao, so he’s not going to get tired the way he did. Moreover, the Crawford vs. Horn fight is taking place in the U.S, not Australia. That means no hometown advantage for Horn like he had with Pacquiao.

Top Rank was OK with Pacquiao fighting Horn in his hometown. They’re not having Crawford fight Horn in Australia. I guess the rationale for that is Crawford has a lot more to lose than Pacquiao if he gets beaten by Horn, because he’s got a lot of years left in his career. As such, Top Rank didn’t do the same deal with Crawford like they did with Pacquiao in having him fight in Australia. Had Pacquiao fought Horn in the U.S, he probably would have won the fight, and Horn vs. Crawford wouldn’t be happening now.

Horn is sparring with the following fighters to get ready for Crawford:

• Liam Paro

• Cameron Hammond

• Paul Fleming

• Dennis Hogan

• Nathan Webber

“Liam’s a really slick boxer, very clever,” Horn said to The Courier Mail. ”He’s an awkward southpaw and Crawford fights a lot from a southpaw stance so I’m preparing against both left-handed and right-handed fighters. Crawford is a very good boxer, obviously, but I think there are a lot of fighters with similar speed and talent to him, so I’m certainly not overawed. It will be good to prove the critics wrong just like I did against Pacquiao.”

What Horn isn’t stating is that a lot of boxing fans thought he was a gift decision over Pacquiao. They don’t think Horn deserved the win. A lot of fans wonder why Horn wasn’t penalized for roughing Pacquiao for 12 rounds with his head-butting, shoving and head-locks that he was using in the fight. Even with the questionable scores handed in, Horn would have lost had the referee stepped in to take off points for the rough stuff.

Horn proving the critics wrong is going to be next to impossible given how poor he looked against Pacquiao and in his first defense of his WBO 147 lb. title against fringe contender Gary Corcoran last December. Horn looked barely better than Corcoran in that fight. It looked like to bottom dweller contenders going at it instead of a world welterweight champion defending his WBO title against a contender.

If Horn loses to Crawford, he’ll likely be matched against Top Rank fighter Konstantin Ponomarev after that. That seems like a natural fight for Top Rank to make after Horn loses. It would pit two of their fighters against each other. I wouldn’t be surprised if Horn loses to Ponomarev as well. If Horn can’t rough him up for 12 rounds, I think he’ll lose.

Pacquiao will be fighting on the undercard of Crawford-Horn against Mike Alvarado. It’s a sad way for a star to end his career as an undercard fight for 2 guys that will likely never be pay-per-view attractions in their own right, but it’s what happens when you stick around for too long in boxing.

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