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Top Rank on ESPN Preview: Crawford vs. Horn

By: Sean Crose

Terence Crawford is gunning to become a three division world champion on Saturday when he faces WBO world welterweight titlist Jeff Horn at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The bout will be aired live on ESPNs new streaming service, ESPN+. Horn (18-0-1) will be defending his title for the second time since stunning Manny Pacquiao for the Filipino icon’s WBO strap in Horn’s home country of Australia in the summer of 2017. Many feel the decision awarded to Horn that night was the product of home cooking. Still, Crawford (32-0) is determined to take his man seriously, even if Horn is the decided underdog leading into Saturday’s bout.

Photo Credit: Top Rank/Mikey Williams

“Preparation’s been A1,” said Crawford on a conference call earlier this week. “We had a tough training camp. We didn’t take any shortcuts.” Horn is showing himself to be extremely focused as well in the leadup to what will be the second fight in as many years where the Australian arguably finds himself the prohibitive underdog. “I’ve been working very hard in the preparation for this fight,” Horn stated on Tuesday. Although few expect him to win, Horn argued that he was happy to come to America for the first time to face Crawford in Crawford’s own country. “The money was right,” Horn said. “We were always thinking we were going to America anyway.”

The contrast in both size and styles may make for an interesting bout. Coming up in weight after unifying the junior welterweight division, Crawford will enter Satruday’s matchup the smaller of the two fighters. Yet Crawford is arguably the more skilled of the two. Known to switch stances throughout the course of a bout, Crawford has developed a reputation for being able to adapt to any situation. “That’s the plan, to keep changing things up,” Horn’s trainer, Glenn Rushton, has said. “I’m hoping he can’t figure me out throughout this whole fight,” stated Horn.

Horn is expected to use his strength and roughhouse tactics to his advantage. Horn’s style has caused a bit of controversy leading up to this weekend, as some feel they cross the line into cheating. It’s even been argued that Horn was allowed to break the rules throughout the Pacquiao fight. Team Horn has responded to accusations of rule breaking with vocal hopes that Horn will be able to engage in his preferred kind of fight on Saturday. “We’d like to see the fight flow freely,” said Rushton. Crawford has expressed his own thoughts on the matter. “I’m just tired,” he said this week, “of hearing their little excuses on gloves, on the referee…I’m just ready to go out there and shut them up.”

There’s a degree of bad blood leading up to this match, which will undoubtedly serve to make things more interesting to fans heading into Saturday evening. The fight was supposed to have gone down in March, but a Crawford hand injury postponed matters. Team Horn has questioned the validity of that injury in public. Saturday’s fight broadcast will begin at 9:30 PM Eastern Standard Time on ESPN+. The undercard will begin at 6:30 Eastern Standard Time.

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