By: Oliver McManus
Tottenham’s Jeff Ofori is set for a career-defining twelve months with MTK’s Golden Contract hotting up nicely. The format will crown a winner, in three weight divisions, before the end of the year and, with it, a lucrative multi-fight contract with “a world leading promoter”. Ahead of the semi-finals, on the 21st at York Hall, Ofori began by reflecting on the year just gone:
“It was a slopey up and down year. The first half was frustrating because I was meant to defend my [Southern Area] title twice (against Lucas Ballingall) and then that got put off twice. A lot of people told me that it wasn’t going to happen but I was sticking to it. I think I learned a lot in that year so I’ve decided to just let things be.
“I (look back and) see it as things working out for a reason. If I did fight Lucas Ballingall then perhaps I’d never be in the situation I am now. I’ve just got to go with the flow and everything will happen if it’s supposed to: the opportunities will still be there if it’s meant to be.”
When the 29 year old was able to defend his belt, held at lightweight, his opponent was a distinguished amateur in the form of Alfie Price. On the night Price, snapped up by Queensbury Promotions, executed his game-plan from the off. It wasn’t to be for the defending Champion but Ofori was able to reflect on the bout with real pragmatism.
“It wasn’t the sort of fight I was expecting it to be because I was thinking it would be a rough, tough bout. In the end it was more hype than the fight turned out to be and I learned that is sometimes how it is in boxing: not everything will be the best fight of your life. I feel as though I was too nice in that fight and didn’t take things into my own hands when I should have done. Sometimes you’re going to have to box in ways that won’t be pretty.”
Seven weeks later and Ofori was refusing to sit and mope. “I wasn’t going to cry”, he told me, and was eager to return at a similar level: no more six rounders against Aleksandrs Birkenbergs. This was the start of an MTK Global love-affair with the Londoner brought to Liverpool for a fight with, unbeaten, Ged Carroll.
“After the title fight it didn’t take much out of me. It was my second ten rounder and, to be honest, I just didn’t feel as though it had happened. In my first one (against Jumaane Camero) I knew I’d be in a ten rounder for a good couple days after but I was back in the gym on Monday this time. I was feeling ready and I got the call “do you want to fight in Liverpool?” and I was thinking ‘I get to go away, I get another, I get the TV experience, of course I’m saying yes’.”
Ofori found himself billed in the away corner for the first time in his career but boxed as he always has done. “Rough, ready, and raring to go”, Jeffy picked up a 79-75 win over eight rounds to return to winning rounds. A well-earned victory that served as the highlight of a thoroughly enjoyable weekend for the Londoner.
“It was beautiful (Liverpool) and I’d never been to Liverpool before but everything was there. Everything I’d ever want was right there. We were bang in the city centre and all the people were lovely and I just felt calm and relaxed. I definitely plan on going back up there, in my own time, it was a great place. I got a good four, five days out of it.”
“I was pushing for the stoppage but the guy was tough” he continued, “even though I felt, after six rounds, I was winning this I really wanted to stop him. When they gave me the decision I was thinking “okay, what’s next?”
Luckily for Ofori he didn’t have to think for too long. Just five days later and his phone was ringing again. Once more it was MTK Global on the other end after Lewis Benson was forced to withdraw from the opening Golden Contract quarter-finals. Having been caught up in the bubble of Liverpool, Ofori confessed to “not really knowing” what the format was but he was keen to put ink to paper once hearing of his fellow competitors.
“Again I got a call telling me what was next and I’m saying “for real, hell yeah.” If they thought I was going to go in there as a soft touch then I don’t know what was on their mind. When they called me I thought they were pulling my leg: they rang me on the Wednesday night after my manager had offered me a slot on the undercard. At that point I wasn’t really going for it because I’d obviously only just had a fight but as soon as they mentioned a tournament there was no need to think about it.”
Ofori stepped up to super lightweight for the competition and fought to a split draw with, Welshman, Kieran Gething over ten rounds; Ofori progressed in the tournament courtesy of the referee’s scorecard. The former super featherweight highlighted the strains of making weight in those early days as standing him in good stead for the 140lbs division.
“Getting down to super feather was good for me mentally because it made me aware of the diet. I’ve learned all these things about nutrition because I had to make those weights in the past so now, even when I’m fighting at super lightweight, I’m aware of the process and it makes it so much easier. Mentally it’s made me stronger, too.
That’s where I feel things clicked with the (Gething) fight. In my mind because it was all last minute I didn’t have time to think about things and overthink what I was going to do. I got in there and I fought the fight, largely, on instinct.”
With that win, the always likeable, Ofori continued his run of feel-good results. A semi-final awaits and, for a fighter who was never meant to be in the competition, every opportunity really is a golden one. Last year Ofori did a sponsored sky-dive in aid of Ringside Rest and Care and it was noticeable his first thoughts were with that charity when discussing the ramifications of winning the competition. “There’s a lot riding on it because I want to win big for the guys at the care home”, he revealed.
When poked to talk about himself Ofori began to open up on his experiences as a perennial underdog. Five years ago his goal was to become a professional boxer and people were sceptical; two years he wanted the Southern Area title but had to remain patient. This most recent opportunity may have arrived in part to good fortune but Ofori is determined to show the world just why it was him that got the call.
“Winning this competition would be a big statement for me. If you do win it then obviously there’s a contract waiting and things can sort of take care of themselves, you don’t have to force opportunities any more. I need to prove (that I deserve to be there) and I want to keep proving it.
When we first spoke I was all about being Southern Area champion and I’ve done that but I’m now hungry for the next goal. There will always be someone that’s there to give you a challenge and that keeps me going. Even when you’ve set yourself a goal and achieved you don’t sit back and say “job done”, you set yourself a new goal.”
By: Ste Rowen
Horn Makes Easy Work of Mundine.
Former WBO welterweight world champion, Jeff Horn took less than two minutes to swat away fellow Australian, Anthony Mundine in Horn’s first fight at middleweight in the pro ranks.
Inside a packed-out Suncorp Stadium, the younger man immediately jumped on the front foot and with just less than half of round 1 to go, threw a powerful right to the body, followed up by two left hands to which Mundine didn’t appear to see coming. It sent the 43-year-old falling back onto the canvas and with zero chance of regaining his senses in time to beat the count.
‘The Hornet’ was coming off the back of a brutal stoppage to Terence Crawford in nine rounds, in which he also lost his world title as well as his ‘0’, but his bouts with two future hall of famers in Pacquiao and Crawford, set this fight up nicely for him to prove he’s currently levels above Mundine.
Anthony headed into tonight with a 48-9 (28KOs) record and having fought just once this year in a 2nd round knockout of Tommy Brown. This was just his third fight in three years. And it showed.
Now 19-1-1 (13KOs), Horn spoke post-fight,
‘‘It was easier than I expected it to be. I’m happy to have done it so quickly… I learnt that from my last fight, I was a little too stationary and I was getting a few of those straight shots to the body. I got him with that first one and I knew it was just a matter of time.
He’s an extreme athlete, I’ve got to give him that. He’s done some great things and I’ve only got respect for the guy.’’
The former welterweight champion seems to now be keeping his options open about what he does next but, whether it’s back down to 147, sticking it out at 160 or the in between of 154lb, Horn will almost definitely make his next fight an entertaining watch.
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
Despite concerns that Anthony Mundine would miss the agreed catchweight for the “River City Rumble”, he bizarrely weighed in lighter than Jeff Horn.
Weighing in at 70.25 Kilos compared to Horn’s 70.5, Mundine must now ensure that he does not weigh any more than 75 kilos on fight night.
It was an impressive weight cut for a man who’s 43 years old and looks every bit of it.
Whether he will be able to recover and perform remains to be seen, but perhaps we should also be concerned about his opponent.
Horn has never fought at this weight and the fact that he was heavier than Mundine suggests that he may be in less than optimal condition.
If Horn has indeed blown up well past his fighting weight, it could make things interesting if “The Man” can take the Queenslander into the later rounds.
So what’s at stake tomorrow night,
Well, the WBO Oriental and WBA Oceania Middleweight titles are on the line, but you get the impression neither of these former world champions would be too impressed by that.
Despite the criticisms about this matchup, the outcome could have serious implications on both fighters’ legacies.
It should be a straight forward victory for Horn, who gains very little from this fight if he wins, other than a sweet pay-cheque.
But what if the unthinkable happens?
It’s no secret that Horn has copped criticism for his contentious victory over Pacquaio. Many fans were eager to see him fall to prove that he was a fraud.
There’s no shame in losing to a prodigious talent like Terence Crawford, but if Horn was to lose to a 43 year old Mundine, his legacy would be permanently tarnished.
All of a sudden he would be that guy who robbed Pacquaio, lost the belt in his first title defence and lost to a 43 year old who even in his prime, was an accomplished but never truly elite boxer.
Few Australian boxers have a scalp like Pacquaio on their resume, but there are plenty who have beaten a younger, better version of Mundine.
In short, Horn would be ruined.
Mundine, on the other hand, comes into the fight as a massive underdog.
To say little is expected of him would be an understatement. Three losses in his last five bouts to Joshua Clottey, Charles Hatley and Danny Green, tell the story.
He has looked a shadow of his former self, for some time.
That said, Mundine has had an extraordinary career when you consider that he switched to boxing midway through a successful NRL career.
A three weight world champion with a record of 48-8, and wins over (an albeit diminished version of) Shane Mosley and Daniel Geale, he is without doubt one of the most talented athletes Australia has ever produced.
But he could never shake the perception that he always took the softer option throughout his career, particularly when he was a clear pay-per-view attraction.
Mundine never fought a truly elite fighter in his prime and despite winning multiple world titles, few pundits ever considered him the best in his weight division.
A win over another former world champion- in his prime no less- would provide him with the fairy tale ending he has been craving.
It might even silence those naysayers, at least for a little while.
If Mundine wins, there are huge implications for both fighters, while a Horn win would change very little.
Both men will be paid handsomely regardless.
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
Less than a year ago, Jeff Horn’s camp dismissed the idea of fighting Anthony Mundine as a meaningless money grab that would do little for his legacy.
We’re now less than a week away from a catchweight bout between the two at Suncorp Stadium.
So what’s changed, you ask? Well, maybe a risk-free money fight isn’t such a bad idea after all.
As Fox Sports’ Paul Upham said after Horn’s devastating loss to Terence Crawford, the Queenslander could make more money fighting Mundine than any world-class opponent out there. Not to mention the fact that on paper, it’s probably the easiest fight available.
“It’s nothing against Anthony’s skill, I just don’t think he should be fighting at 42,” Upham said.
“The tougher route is going through America, there’s some really good guys and you’ll have to take less of a payday. So the question is what is most important [to Horn]? His career record and trying to get the welterweight world title back or a big payday against Anthony Mundine?”
Mundine is now 43 and that coveted payday has almost arrived. Love him or hate him, “The Man’s” numbers speak for themselves.
All of his professional bouts have been televised on pay per view. Four of them are in Australia’s Top 10 pay per views ever.
It’s been estimated that his 2006 fight with bitter rival, Danny Green, did around 200,000 pay per view buys- the highest grossing pay per view fight in the world (per capita) for some time. It even outsold Mayweather vs Pacquaio in Australia.
Horn’s been no slouch either, his fight with Manny Pacquaio was one of Australia’s highest selling pay per views, and was staged in front of a sellout crowd of 80,000 at Suncorp Stadium, and a worldwide television audience of 4.4 million people.
Put these two Aussie World Champions in a ring together and you’ve surely got a mega-fight on your hands.
But ticket sales must be stalling if promoter Dean Lonergan’s desperate attempts to grab the headlines, are anything to go by.
In a bid to unsettle and publicly shame Mundine, Lonergan announced that “ring cards” would be displayed by not only women, but also gay and transgender people, at the “River City Rumble”.
Mundine deservedly copped criticism last year when he suggested that same-sex relationships are unnatural and “confusing to society.”
“I always tell my gay friend, you’ve got to find a lady … God will judge you, not me,” he said.
He has since stated that he will not speak about the issue anymore, instead focusing on boxing.
It’s an approach Lonergan would be wise to follow, but he instead attempted to reignite the issue, saying “Anthony has said that he’s not into racial or homophobic slurs anymore and my sense is he will be fully supportive of this,” Lonergan said.
“If he doesn’t it will show he is still a bigot and if he does it shows anyone can change.’’
Shortly after, a series of provocative tweets were sent from Jeff Horn’s social media accounts, challenging Mundine to be a “champion of equality.”
Either Lonergan has become a staunch human rights activist overnight, or it was an insincere attempt to capitalise on an extremely divisive issue, furthering the tiresome hero vs villain narrative.
In the Fight Promo, Horn’s trainer, Glen Rushton, loosely compared his man’s fight with Mundine to his battle with bullies in school.
He’s had fights like this all of his life, according to Rushton, and “Anthony’s a bigger, stronger, more vocal opponent. Jeff just has to overcome all of that and just show that no one’s going to push him around.”
So whose side are you on? The humble schoolteacher who overcame bullying and embraces people of all genders, cultures and sexual preferences? Or the brash, apparently bigoted, loud-mouth?
If the cheap publicity stunt was also intended to get under Mundine’s skin, it surely had the opposite effect.
Horn admitted himself that a loss to the veteran could spell the end of his career and Rushton highlighted that “The Man” comes into his final fight with nothing to lose.
Australian Boxing’s most divisive star must surely feel that Horn’s camp is now feeling the pressure.
Not that Mundine hasn’t stirred up controversy himself, recently stating that Horn epitomises “white man privilege” and that the bout is a fight for “equality and justice.”
He is adamant that he will not stand for the Australian National Anthem on the night as he feels it’s a song that celebrates “white supremacy.”
But we’ve certainly reached a new low with this reckless attempt to force Australians to a pick a side in this sporting contest, for purely political reasons.
Horn has distanced himself from these promotional tactics, confirming that it was his team, not him, who were responsible for the controversial posts on his social media accounts.
“I think the lines were crossed … the promoters have put these things up making it look like I’ve said them and it is damaging to my reputation.”
Horn warned that he “would be tempted to walk away if they were to continue that way.”
With the greatest of respect to the social and political issues highlighted, those who tune in to this fight are only interested in seeing which guy can punch the other in the face more.
Building it up as anything more than that is simply dishonest.
He’s sure to make a decent pay cheque on the night, but one wonders whether this fight will do lasting damage to Horn’s brand in the long-term.
By: Oliver McManus
At the top level of the game there are plenty of great fights taking place with Britain blessed to have world champion after world champion but take a step backwards to appreciate the full scene and you’ll find a whole host of tasty match-ups happening at levels of the game –
Jason Welborn vs Tommy Langford
Welborn vs Langford has all the ingredients for a scintillating rematch as the “Battle of the Baggies” moves onto round two (well, technically, rounds 13-24) in Birmingham on September 8th.
First time round in Walsall, Jason Welborn took to the centre of the ring right from the off with an incredible work-rate, targeting the body of Langford whilst the champion, Langford, looked to establish what he believed was his technical superiority.
Both fighters were fast on their feet and willing to trade punches with neither afraid of taking a shot in order to land a flurry of their own and even though Welborn came into the fight the, large, betting underdog, he showed no signs of relenting as went into the championship rounds, staying busy and landing an accumulation of punches.
The fight was up for grabs and in a genuine domestic thriller, Welborn emerged the victor via a narrow split decision (114-113, 114-113, 113-115) and claimed the British Middleweight championship from his rival.
This time round on the undercard of Khan-Vargas, Welborn will be looking to go one step even further than he manged in May and stop Langford within the distance – let’s not forget that Langford was counted in the 2nd round after the ropes had held him up –, enhancing his position as a genuine contender in the packed middleweight scene.
Tommy, on the other hand, will be looking for redemption and bounce back from his second loss in the space of 13 months – the first, a fifth round TKO loss to Avtandil Khurtsidze – with a dedicated, technical performance that, prior to these potential hiccups, had seen him being targeted for an all-British showdown with Billy Joe Saunders.
Indeed Langford wasn’t on his A Game when the first fight occurred, not that we should take any credit away from Welborn, and you could argue that he adapted a little too much to the game-plan of his challenger – stick to the basics, work the jab and that’s when Langford really hits his stride.
Jeff Ofori vs Jumaane Camero
Has this fight been mentioned enough recently? Spot the sarcasm because this fight is, put simply, A FIGHT. One better than that, it’s a fight that you genuinely cannot pick a winner from.
It’s a fight that you don’t want to HAVE to pick a winner from, either, both of these guys are genuine, humble people who haven’t forgotten where they come from. Ultimately, though, on September 15th one of these lightweights will emerge as the Southern Area champion – Camero having defended it successfully or Ofori having mounted a victorious challenge.
Stylistically the two are vastly different with Camero having, typically, been the more patient and measured boxer who likes to control the fight at his own tempo and has quite a unique style but, make no mistake, is capable of packing a whack so you do not want to be on the end of one of those big punches.
As Jumaane says, himself, he is “freakishly long limbed” and possess a style that makes dealing with him incredibly awkward – Ofori, on the other hand, is much more of your typical aggressor, seeking to take each and every fight with a high-tempo, guns-blazing style of boxing.
At the end of June, Ofori faced a tough journeyman, Luke Fash, in full knowledge that this Southern Area fight was to follow and Jeff looked imperious, cutting off the ring really well and attacking the body of Fash with vim and vigour – speaking to Ofori afterwards, however, he said he wanted more rounds to get used to the longer distances, as opposed to his fourth round knockout.
This will be Ofori’s first ten round bout but with both men talking as though they expect it not to last the scheduled distance there is no doubt that September 15th will see fireworks aplenty – Ofori needs to keep up his aggression, work the short uppercut when he’s on the ropes whilst Camero should look to use his awkward style and height advantage to the best of his ability, the styles will mesh and produce a sumptuous bout so all that’s left to do is buy the tickets because you do not want to miss this.
Cello Renda vs Luke Cowcroft
Cello Renda is a man who, for a long time now, has always promised much and whilst he has achieved one hell of a lot – current Southern Area champion, challenged for the English and British belts – there’s been a distinct feeling that, actually, he could be coming into the best years of his fighting career.
A win against Leon McKenzie, last year, re-established himself on the map and look at his record, you’ll see he’s fought Liam Conroy, Jack Arnfield, Sam Horton, Martin Murray, Danny Butler, Tom Doran, Paul Smith and these are not names to be sniffed at by any stretch of the imagination.
But, as mentioned, it was that fight against McKenzie that really seemed to, on paper, ignite something within him as he demonstrated his power, precision and sheer toughness to an absolute tee – Renda was in a war and he came out on top. Since then he’s been targeting the English title that Darryll Williams holds and this fight against Cowcroft is serving as an eliminator for that belt.
Cowcroft, on the other hand, is taking a huge step in quality but Stefy Bull clearly thinks he’s talented enough to carry off an upset and the mood around the Doncaster light-heavyweight is distinctly upbeat and it’s clear to see that he’s improved significantly in the three years that he’s been out of the ring.
Not so much of a power puncher as Renda, Cowcroft has an absolute engine within him and will be looking to out-work Cello, tiring the Southern Area champion, before mounting a late surging attack as he, to boot, looks to prove any doubters wrong.
This fight has all the makings of an absolute classic, Cello Renda looked the best he’s ever looked up against Leon McKenzie, punch-perfect stoppage, and Luke Cowcroft is constantly developing, constantly learning and not just in training but in the ring, too, up against Renda he will need to have learnt an awful lot but if anyone can secure such an upset, surely, it’s the man from Doncaster.
Jazza Dickens vs Martin Ward
A rematch for the vacant British super-bantamweight title, made possible by Thomas Patrick Ward withdrawing from the scheduled fight and opting to fight for the IBF European belt instead.
Jazza Dickens has had a frustrating last couple years following his loss to Guillermo Rigondeaux, a fight that resulted in a broken jaw for Dickens, and was unfortunate last year to suffer a cut above the left eye against Patrick Ward that forced the contest to go the scorecards early – Dickens was trailing but had momentum and the fight was shaping up to be a real pick ‘em with everything likely coming down to the final three rounds.
Since then the Liverpool fighter has looked crisp in training, arguably in the shape of his life, and against Martin Ward, on July 27th, there’s every expectation of a better, more convincing performance than the last time they fought (in 2015).
Three years ago this duo fought the full 12 rounds before a split decision rendered Dickens the winner and, in turn, the British champion – Dickens was the fighter pressing the case and working the angles but a split decision was probably accurate.
With Dickens there is little doubt just how talented a fighter he is and the southpaw possess all the technical traits that could see him go all the way, on top of that he has a brilliant energy, work-rate and stamina that marks him out as a complete fighter just waiting to get tested.
Martin Ward, former British and Commonwealth Champion, is not to be underestimated and the experienced fighter relies on a patient game-plan, looking to take the fight at a constant, comfortable pace, often fighting at distance.
Past performances would suggest that Ward has peaked at around the British level with his previous step up to European level resulting in a second round knockout loss to Abigail Medina – not the greatest of opponent but no-one to discredit – and this fight in Houghton Le Spring will be seen as the 30 year old’s golden opportunity to really propel his name back into the talking.
Dickens would, you assume, prevail in this contest especially if he is to reach the heights he is expected but, as happens time and time again, you can never assume anything in boxing and the winner of this contest, Dickens or Ward, will have a couple of cracking clashes in the offing.
Kyle Yousaf vs Tommy Frank
Stefy Bull has been announcing some really good fights as of late – Atif Shafiq vs Andy Townend, Robbie Barrett vs Matty Fagan – and Kyle Yousaf vs Tommy Frank is part of the stellar card taking place in Barnsley on October 5th.
An application has been made to the BBBofC for this bout to be for the English belt and when you look at the domestic shake-up then there can be no qualms about the fight having such status.
Having the poisoned chalice of competing in the lower weight divisions, Yousaf and Frank have had a criminally small amount of media attention throughout their careers despite them both being absolutely phenomenal fighters.
Yousaf, the more experienced with 13 fights, beholds an impressive fighting brain with his ability to pick punches marking him out at an early stage of his career. Not many fighters, when they first turn pro, are mature enough to identify periods of the bout when they don’t need to come out swinging but Yousaf, still only 25, has frequently shown incredible maturity during the ring.
Against Gyula Dodu there was a punch-perfect display from the Golden Kid as he used his left jab repeatedly to keep on top of his opponent before dropping down to the body with some telling right hands to the body. A superb right to the head of Dodu, launched with exquisite timing and precision, finished off the fight and even though the bout lasted 118 seconds, the talent on show was mouthwatering.
Tommy ‘Super Frank’ is the current Central Area Super Flyweight champion and against Craig Derbyshire, in Frank’s seventh fight, the Yorkshire boxer impressed with his fight pace, going 10 rounds but looking comfortable throughout, and his commanding presence at the centre of the ring enables him to cut space off for his opponent, shortening the distance and letting Frank work the inside of his opponent – something he does particularly well.
When the hands get loose, they don’t half pack a punch and with a strong preference for targeting the body, he knows to pressure the opposition onto the ropes before unleashing with a series of alternating shots to the body.
In terms of power Yousaf probably has the upper hand, that should be evident from his superior knockout rate, but this is a fight you don’t see getting stopped early, it’s an enthralling battle between two young, hungry, undefeated fighters and it has all the ingredients of being an absolute barnstormer.
By: Gary Todd
In boxing actions speak louder than words. Once again, this was the case on Saturday night in Las Vegas, when Terence Crawford [ 33 -0 ] out classed, out boxed, out muscled, and took the Australian school teacher, back to school, with a dazzling display of skill, speed, and power, and dominance , that made the WBO champion look like a boxing novice.
It was always going to be a real challenge for the Australian scrapper and this was apparent from the opening bell. Crawford was so dominant, from the 3rd round onwards, using his fast hands, and feet, ducking, weaving, switching , and exploding on to Horn, that left the champion with no answer, and it was clear from there, that we would have a new champion at welterweight.
Every trainer, and promoter talks up their fighter, but I have to say , the talk from Jeff Horn’s trainer, Glenn Rushton , and promoter, Dean Lonergan were nothing more than absolute nonsense. I’m all for supporting, and boosting, even inspiring your fighter, and push him to be the best fighter he can be , but there is a limit to what you can tell him, to what the fighter knows already. Jeff Horn knows what he can do . Every man has their limitations.
Comments from Rushton, like, “ I don’t want you to be a champion, I want you to be a legend “ Like I said, every man has their limitations. Horn’s promoter, Lonergan, a former rugby player for New Zealand, has said many things, before the fight, but his comments after the fight showed that this guy knows nothing about boxing, with his comments like, “ the fight was stopped too early, as Jeff would have come back , and who knows what would have happened in the 10th, 11th or 12th round” Lonergan is a fool. We all know what would have happened, had the referee , Robert Byrd, not stepped in to save Horn . There was still over 2 minutes to go in round 9 . Both Rushton and Lonergan talked way too much and are both delusional. Horn didn’t win a single round, never looked like troubling Crawford , and was out on his feet before the stoppage. Rushton is not too far behind Lonergan with comments like “ the stoppage was too quick. He got hurt more against Manny Pacquiao, and many of the rounds were very close” The guy knows nothing about boxing, or is delusional.
Jeff Horn had been elevated up the welterweight ladder , fighting hand picked guys in Australia, like Randall Bailey, Rico Mueller, and Ali Funeka, to win and get the chance of glory , and a crack at Manny Pacquiao’s WBO world title. Horn showed tremendous heart in a tough hard fight, and overcame the 9th round, to fight back , after the referee had told him that he thought he had taken enough punishment. Horn fought on, and won a very controversial result in his hometown of Brisbane. I have watched the fight 5 times, and Pacquiao was hard done by not to keep his belt.
As Jeff Horn sat there with ice packs to his eyes, and his ear, and his wife nursing, and consoling him, there was already talk of a rematch by Lonergan, and Rushton. For these two fools, I will explain, a rematch is when a fight is so good, and thrilling for the fans, or it’s so close, and there is merit for the 2 fighters to get another chance of a clear victory. Gatti v Ward, Corrales v Castillo, Ali v Frazier, Holyfield v Bowe, Leonard v Hearns, and Marquez v Vasquez.
Horn v Crawford should not be included . This fight was so one sided, that it put Horn back so far , that I hope he retires from the sport, or he will get damaged.
Where does he go from here? I will say Horn will come back, and his team of Lonergan and Rushton will try and find their fighter an opponent that will assure him a win , just to get him back in the mix. The only problem with that is, who does he fight after that? Any of the top contenders, or world champions, Errol Spence Jnr, Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, and Shawn Porter, will beat Jeff Horn.
This was Horn’s first fight outside Australia, and he will be remembered for two things, which is losing badly to Crawford, and getting a hometown gift against Pacquiao. Fighting in America, at a world championship level, would be a challenge for him and his team. If Pacquiao gets past Lucas Matthysse in a couple of weeks, maybe Manny wants the rematch ? Horn failed on first attempt to make the championship weight, and there was more talk from his camp that he struggles to make 147, and he might move up. At 30 years of age, and not the fastest boxer at welterweight, moving up would be a mistake . Horn would be facing a long list of good fighters, in a very strong division, with champions like, Jamie Munguia, Jarrett Hurd, and Jermell Charlo.
Actions do speak louder than words, but in this case, the writing is on the wall.
Gary Todd is the proud author of his books on world champions and their workouts, “Workouts From Boxings Greatest Champs, volumes 1 and 2. “ he has been involved in all aspects in the sport of boxing for over 30 years .
By: Sean Crose
The Jeff Horn-Terence Crawford card on ESPN+ began at 9:30 PM Eastern Standard Time live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Saturday night as the 23-1-0 Jose Pedraza faced the 23-2 Antonio Moran for the WBO Latino Lightweight Title. The first few rounds of the bout made for an exciting, see-saw affair, as both men fought energetically and with aggresion. Yet Moran got his nose busted, a war wound that got to look quite ugly as the fight wore on.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
There ended up being no stoppage. There wasn’t a knockdown to be found throughout the bout, either. It proved to be an entertaining match, though. Moran never gave up. Pedraza was simply stronger and was able to put his puches together better. Ultimately, Pedraza also proved to be the more energetic fighter as the bout wore on. The Puerto Rican ended up with the unanimous decision win and WBO Latino Lightweight Strap.
It was time for the main event. The 32-0 Crawford stepped into the ring favored to beat the 18-0-1 Horn, even though Horn was the WBO World Welterweight Champion and had won that title by besting the great Manny Pacquiao – albeit by a highly controversial decision. For Crawford entered the weekend widely regarded as one of the best practitioners in the entire sport. He might have been moving up in weight to face Horn, but it was Crawford who boxing’s writers and analysts expected to walk away with the victory.
Crawford tagged his man early in the first. Yet Horn tagged Crawford clean a moment later. Crawford, however, landed the cleaner, more effective punches throughout. Crawford landed a hard left to the body in the second and then started to pick up the pace. Horn, however, was tough and kept moving forward. Crawford began the third landing clean, though Horn was able to land clean himself. Crawford, however, was landing the better shots more frequently. The man from Nebraska was really starting to go to work.
Horn kept being a warrior in the fourth, but it appeared that he was being outclassed as the first third of the bout ended. The man did, however, have a good moment in the fifth, when he got Crawford against the ropes. Horn tried to play rough and got a warning from referee Robert Byrd. Crawford then physically rough housed Horn. It had become a one sided affair. By the midway point of the fight, Crawford was continuing to beat his man up.
One thing had to be said for Horn – the man was as rough and as brave as they came. At no point through the first seven rounds (which must have been gruelling for the man) did the champion give up or cease to fight with incredible heart. It simply didn’t matter, though. Crawford was simply far too skilled. And still, Horn kept fighting on, trying to land, trying to muscle his man around. It was to little avail. Crawford kept dominating.
Crawford exploded late in the eighth, causing his man to stumble. In fact, Horn came very close to hitting the canvas. The brutality continued through the ninth – where Horn finally went down. The champion got back up, but Crawford went right back to work and referee Robert Byrd steped in and stopped the fight.
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
American boxing fans are yet to embrace Jeff Horn, mainly because they feel that he was gifted a unanimous decision over Manny Pacquaio.
ESPN commentator, Teddy Atlas, nearly lost his mind when Horn’s hand was raised in Brisbane, arguing that he had been rewarded “for trying hard” despite Pacquaio landing “the cleaner punches”. He was so incensed that he even asked Horn himself if he believed that the judges had made the right decision.
Most of his colleagues at ESPN shared his disgust, but former world champion Timothy Bradley thought the fight was a lot closer than Atlas’ 116-111 scorecard suggested.
It’s worth noting that both Atlas and co-analyst Stephen A Smith gave Horn absolutely no chance of de-throning Pacquaio in the pre-fight build-up. In fact, they were borderline disrespectful.
“I’ve got to admit, I don’t have much on this dude,” Smith stated.
Surely that’s a key part of his job as a boxing analyst?
After admitting that he hadn’t done any background research on Horn, he then questioned whether he even deserved a title shot.
Smith scoffed at Horn’s previous opponents, declaring that they “give new meaning to the term no-names. I mean, come on, we don’t know these people.”
Perhaps someone should have informed him that two of the fighters he listed- Randall Bailey and Ali Funeka- were former world champions.
In fact, Bailey was a two-weight world champion. Not bad for a no-name.
Were these fighters past their prime when they faced Horn? Yes. Had Horn faced particularly stiff opposition up to this point? No.
But they might have mentioned that he only had 16 professional fights under his belt.
Their ringside coverage followed a similar trend. Even when Horn had his moments, the ESPN commentators barely acknowledged them. Atlas was particularly dismissive, arguing that Horn wasn’t really landing anything when he had Pacquaio on the back foot. In contrast, he erupted when Pacquaio landed even glancing blows.
It’s fair to say that the coverage was biased. Horn did a hell of a lot better than expected and Pacquaio looked genuinely puzzled by his awkward style. How could that happen? Just an hour earlier, we were told that this fight was a joke.
It seems a little convenient that the same pundits who sneered at his chances prior to the fight described it as a robbery in the aftermath.
Perhaps they were trying to save face? After all, running with the robbery narrative meant they wouldn’t have to address their complete under-estimation of Horn. This way they could argue that they were right about Horn, it’s just that the judges were so corrupt.
In order to objectively assess the fight, we need to turn to other experts. The CompuBox punch stats don’t do Horn any favours. They show that Pacquaio landed 182 punches to Horn’s 92.
However, if you browse through the scorecards of various boxing writers and analysts, you will find that a number of them thought Horn was a deserved winner.
Britain’s foremost boxing writer, Steve Bunce, scored the bout 115-113 in favour of Horn and said “at the final bell Pacquiao looked like a beaten man and he was… Horn deserved his win, Pacquiao looked utterly dreadful for six rounds and hopefully the Australian will get the recognition he deserves — after everybody stops screaming hysterics about a robbery.”
Boxing Monthly’s Andrew Harrison said Horn won 116-113, while Sherdog’s Gary Randall (116-112) and Mike Fridley (115-112) said he won comfortably.
Irish boxing legend Barry McGuigan and Tom Gray of Ring magazine also felt Horn won the fight by a “wide” margin.
Even popular sports personality and die-hard Pacquaio fan, Skip Bayliss, gave the fight to Horn 115-113.
Then there were those who thought it was a draw. Quite a few, as it turns out.
– Brian Campbell- 114-114
– Brian Mazique- 114-114
– Bob Sheridan- 114-114
– Eric Raskin- 114-114
– Graham Houston- 114-114
It has to be said that the majority of the experts believed Pacquaio won the fight, some by a significant margin:
– Behind the Gloves 117-110
– Ryan Phillips 116-110
– Mike Sloan 116-111
– Dan Rafael 117-111
But many felt it was extremely close.
Kevin Iole scored the fight 115-113 in Pacquaio’s favour, but said “it was a 7-5 fight either way… you can’t complain about the [judges’] call.”
He wasn’t alone. Look how many boxing aficianados felt Pacquaio won by two rounds or less:
– Bad Left Hook, 115-113 Pacquaio
– Doug Fischer- 115-113 Pacquaio
– Boxing News- 115-113- Pacquaio
– Nigel Collins- 114-113 Pacquaio
– Gareth Davies- 115-113 Pacquaio
– Marcos Villegas- Pacquaio 114-113
With so many scores like the above, can we really call Pacquaio vs Horn a robbery? As Iole puts it, fights that only have a couple of rounds in them could really go either way. Especially when almost every round was so competitive.
Given how close it was, two of the ringside judges’ scorecards of 115-113 (Horn) are justifiable.
The majority of the experts think Pacquiao did enough to win the fight, but it could also be argued that he didn’t do enough to ensure victory.
Whether you think Horn won or not, the decision could hardly be described as daylight robbery and he certainly doesn’t deserve to be labelled a paper champ.
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
Few pundits are giving WBO Welterweight champion Jeff Horn a chance against the highly-rated Terence Crawford. There’s no doubt the gritty Aussie has a tough fight ahead of him, but should we really be counting him out?
His fighting style may not be easy on the eye, but Horn is no pushover. Just ask Manny Pacquaio.
Whether you agreed with the judges’ decision or not, no one can deny that the unheralded Aussie gave Pacquaio a much tougher fight than expected.
“The Hornet’s” unorthodox movement and his ability to throw punches from unusual angles made him an extremely awkward opponent.
It was widely predicted that the Filipino’s speed, power and relentless flurries would overwhelm Horn. In fact, several experts predicted that he’d be lucky to make it out of the first round.
“Pacman” landed plenty of punches, but it wasn’t the dominant performance we anticipated. We’ve seen him completely overpower some of the best fighters of his generation, but he landed surprisingly few power shots, often settling for glancing one-punch counters.
Against Horn, he looked slow and surprisingly reluctant to let his hands go. Many blamed father time, highlighting that Pacquaio is every bit of 38 years of age, sustaining a lot of damage throughout a lengthy career.
It’s hard to argue with that, but Horn also deserves a lot of credit for Pacquaio’s underwhelming performance.
It wasn’t just that Pacquaio has lost some speed, power and stamina. Horn made the legendary fighter look average at times by nullifying some of his biggest weapons.
Pacquaio found it difficult to deal with Horn’s size and reach advantage. The Aussie kept him at range extremely well, punishing the Filipino when he burst forward with some solid shots from unexpected angles.
Pacquaio looked confused, frustrated and genuinely surprised by Horn’s ability, speed and composure.
Horn isn’t renowned as a big puncher, but his power also helped him to keep Pacquaio at bay. How many times have we seen the Filipino stand toe to toe with his opponents, daring them to hit him because he knew that he would come out on top in most of the exchanges.
The final punch statistics certainly favoured Pacquaio, but Horn landed some telling blows that backed him up and gave him something to think about. His relatively cautious tactics throughout the fight show that he respected the Aussie’s strength and power.
Pacquaio’s hesitation also demonstrates Horn’s deceptive speed. He might not look particularly quick, but his reactions were impressive and he caught Pacquaio where other fighters have failed to in the past.
He roughed Pacquaio up too. Critics will tell you that Horn fought dirty and they may have a point. But the head clashes did not appear to be intentional. These things happen in fights and it’s unlikely that there would have been such an outcry if Pacquaio used similar tactics. Horn did what he had to.
When Pacquaio did manage to work his way inside, Horn used his physical advantages to great effect- smothering him, leaning on him and making him feel every bit of his weight.
Few fighters in the world can box their opponents effectively from range and close quarters. Most fighters favour one approach over the other. Horn managed to do both against an all-time great.
People have criticised his style, but any fighter that can pull this off is extremely skilled.
All of these things are well and good, but we have to acknowledge that Horn was almost stopped in the 9th round. If an older Pacquaio almost finished him, he surely has no chance against Crawford, right?
Maybe. But anyone who can absorb such a vicious attack from Pacquaio is clearly a tough nut to crack. How many people have taken that many shots from Pacquaio and stayed on their feet?
Sure, Pacman’s lost some of his legendary power, but he still had enough to floor two world class fighters in his previous fights- Jesse Vargas and Timothy Bradley.
Horn didn’t just take that punishment and survive. He won the last few rounds. It’s clearly going to take something special to put him away.
Let’s also not forget that Horn came to boxing late (aged 16). With just 19 fights under his belt, he is still relatively inexperienced and has shown improvement in every fight. He will only get better.
Look at the other world champions in Horn’s division. How many of them fought someone of Pacquiao’s calibre in just their 18th professional fight? None.
– Keith Thurman became interim WBA champion with a win over Diego Chaves in his 22nd fight.
– Errol Spence beat Kell Brook to become the IBF champion in his 22nd fight.
– Lucas Matthysse took a whopping 35 fights to become the WBC champion, defeating Mike Dallas Jr.
Even Crawford became the WBO Lightweight Champion in his 23rd fight, a unanimous decision against Ricky Burns.
Did Horn lose to Pacquaio? Possibly. But many experts felt it was a lot closer than Teddy Atlas’ scorecard. Plenty also felt that the Hornet did enough to get his hand raised.
Don’t let the robbery narrative fool you, the man can fight. Expect to see an even better version of Horn this weekend.
Many people feel Crawford is taking an easy path to a world title by facing Horn, but he may not have it all his own way.
If you think Horn’s an easy fight, you haven’t been paying attention. Crawford will need to be at his best to put him away.
Regardless of the result, Horn deserves far more respect than he has received thus far.
This afternoon, ESPN boxing commentators and analysts Joe Tessitore, Mark Kriegel and Tim Bradley discussed the June 9 super fight between Terence Crawford and Jeff Horn.
Crawford vs. Horn and José Pedraza vs. Antonio Moran will stream live exclusively on ESPN+ (in the United States) this Saturday, June 9 beginning at 9:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. PT.
The entire undercard, including Shakur Stevenson, Steve Nelson, Jose Benavidez, and Gabe Flores Jr. will stream on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 pm. PT.
For more details on ESPN+’s coverage for the Crawdford vs. Horn fight, click here.
Below is the transcript from the call.
THE MODERATOR: Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining our conference call with ESPN boxing commentators and analysts Joe Tessitore, Mark Kriegel, and Tim Bradley to discuss this Saturday’s super fight between Terence Crawford and Jeff Horn.
Crawford and Horn will battle for the WBO Welterweight World Title streamed live on ESPN+ in the United States along with the entire undercard, which includes Jose Pedraza, Antonio Moran beginning at 9:30 p.m. Eastern. Following will be Shakur Stevenson, Aelio Mesquita, Jose Benavidez, Frank Rojas, and other undercard bouts beginning at — on ESPN starting at 6:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN+. With that, I’ll go ahead and open it up for questions.
Q. Tim, (indiscernible) how do you think it will pan out?
TIM BRADLEY: How do I think the fight will pan out?
TIM BRADLEY: What’s that the question? How I think the main event’s going to pan out?
Q. The main event, yeah.
TIM BRADLEY: Yeah, how do I see the fight. Yeah, I’m trying to understand. I’m waiting on a response. But anyway, how do I see the fight going? Well, I see the fight starting off kind of rough, honestly. I think Horn, being a bigger guy, likes to move in quick, likes to get inside early, likes to work the pace and dictate the pace.
I think he’s going to try to close the gap on Terence really early and show him that, hey, this is a different weight class, this isn’t 140 pounds now, this is a different weight class and different type of weight. I think he’s going to try to push Terence back. Honestly, I think he is.
I think Terence is going to struggle in the beginning only until he finds his rhythm. Once Terence finds his rhythm, meaning Horn’s rhythm, then I think things will open up and Terence can control the distance from the outside and time Horn as he comes in.
At the end of the match, I think it’s going to be Terence Crawford with his hands raised. I think that Horn will put up a good fight, but I think Terence Crawford has too much precision, too much boxing IQ. He’s a great counterpuncher. He can punch in between shots. There are just so many dimensions to him as opposed to a guy like Jeff Horn.
Q. (Indiscernible) were you impressed with him?
JOE TESSITORE: I was. I’ll tell you, Timmy and I were down there ringside in Australia. My big takeaway with Jeff Horn — and then Mark and I had the pleasure of calling his title defense in December as well, but my big takeaway of being with him in person in Australia, covering his title fight in December is that this is a very sturdy, rugged, mauling kind of guy who is going to put forth a physical presence.
He is going to always try to do things on his terms. I completely agree with the champ’s assessment as to what this fight is going to look like early.
I will add on that although I think it’s easy to fall in line with the camp of saying Terence Crawford, too much skill, too much boxing IQ, too much raw athleticism, and elite status; that this is a guy in Jeff Horn who is very, very tricky and makes a fight out of a fight.
When we were there ringside, and I know for those who watched back in the States, they felt a certain way about the outcome of that fight last summer, we didn’t have the same feeling sitting there ringside. We saw a mauling, physically imposing, very big welterweight who I almost questioned how he possibly gets to 147 pounds. And because of that, I think this is a fascinating fight, first and foremost. Because when I look at the records next to the two names, I see two zeros in the loss column.
MARK KRIEGEL: We said much the same a year ago about Horn versus Pacquiao. I think that in terms of the disparity of size, experience, skill level — experience and skill level, that at the end of the day I think that it was Horn who made us aware that Manny was coming up against the limits of his size and his age.
All that being said, in regard to Tim’s point, and I’ve watched Crawford now spar with big guys, 178-pounders, I think that once he does find his rhythm and the timing, the punch that will cause the great damage to Horn will be the right hook. Almost like a check hook when he’s on his way in. But that’s the one shot that I’ve seen him sparring bigger guys with.
Q. In regards to Jeff Horn, do you think that Terence Crawford fight is going to be a tougher fight than the Pacquiao fight?
JOE TESSITORE: Yes, is this fight going to be tougher than Pacquiao is the question?
TIM BRADLEY: For Horn? I agree. I believe that this fight will be a tougher fight than Manny Pacquiao because there is so much more dimensions to Terence Crawford than to Manny Pacquiao. You know what you’re going to get when you fight a guy like Manny Pacquiao. He’s coming to get you. Terence, on the other hand, is multi-dimensional. So he can make adjustments on the fly without his corner even telling him to make adjustments.
I’ve had the opportunity to have two training camps with Terence Crawford before Terence Crawford became — before anybody knew who he was. One of the things that I took from him during that training camp was that this is a kid that flew down here by himself to my hometown, came (indiscernible) without a coach, without a trainer, getting fed a little bit of information about myself, gets in the ring, basically puts on a show. Beats me up in front of my own people — beats me up, comes back the next day.
I come back with a plan. He comes back and completely — he comes back and he’s a completely different fighter than he was the day before. And he kept making adjustments, and he kept making adjustments on the fly.
So this guy, Terence Crawford, is going to be tough, a tougher fight, in my opinion, than Manny Pacquiao.
MARK KRIEGEL: Another thing to bear in mind is that Pacquiao has seen better days. He’s not — he’s at the far end of his prime, and Crawford is just entering his. I don’t think we’ve seen close to what the best Terence Crawford we can get.
JOE TESSITORE: I don’t think it’s even close. I think Pacquiao in so many ways was the perfect storm for Jeff Horn with everything timing up just right, and that is not the case here in coming to the Vegas fight with Crawford. It doesn’t mean in any way I’m dismissing Jeff Horn as a live dog here, as much as I understand that this is the biggest mountain that he could possibly be asked to climb compared to what he just did last July.
TIM BRADLEY: I mean, completely two different styles. I’ll give Horn the benefit of the doubt, because what he was able to do Against Manny Pacquiao, I haven’t seen anybody be able to dominate him and bully him the way he did. And when I say dominate, I just mean in the physical form. You know, he pushed him back. He was grinding there, and he was very dirty at times. He had Pacquiao’s back against the ropes and he was working him.
I haven’t seen that — a guy do that Against Manny Pacquiao at all, and he was able to do that. With that being said, this is a completely different guy. Styles make fights. Terence can fight from the forward and backing up. Terence can switch left-handed and he can go right-handed. He can knock you out with his left hand and his right hand. This is a kid that can make adjustments on the fly. He has a high IQ. If you watch the replay with him and Indongo, you will see Terence punch in between punches.
If Horn comes rushing in with wide shots, I’ve sparred him, it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous for Horn. It’s danger. That’s all I’m going to say.
Q. Tim, if he does pull the upset, what’s that mean for Jeff Horn? Does he go down as one of the greatest fighters in the world right now?
TIM BRADLEY: If he beats Terence Crawford would he go down as the greatest fighter in the world? I don’t know. He’ll be a top guy, yeah, absolutely. He’d be top three. Top three or four, top five. I know he’d be pound-for-pound then, absolutely. Because in order to be pound-for-pound, you’ve got to beat a great fighter.
Terence Crawford, however you put him, number one, number three, he’s in the top five pound-for-pound in the world. If you beat a top pound-for-pound fighter in the world, guess what? You’re top pound-for-pound now.
JOE TESSITORE: I didn’t get the name of the journeyman writer who just asked that question there, and we appreciate that question, because I think it exposes one of the deep veins that runs through this fight. That is that the Jeff Horn side still looking for and demanding respect, especially stateside. This is an undefeated, welterweight champion at the end of the day who conquered a living legend, defended his title, and now has a willingness to come to America and take on our best pound-for-pound fighter.
That’s what Terence Crawford is. He is American-born, best pound-for-pound fighter, where you have Vasyl Lomachenko number one, as our network does, or whether you go with a guy that’s now a three-time Fighter of the Year between ESPN and the Boxing Writers of America in Terence Crawford.
If Jeff Horn wins this fight, you know the thing that matters most in this sport? Results. He would have had two signature wins, including a victory over arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. So, yes, he would be — he would have that respect, and he would be thought of in that way. Even though there will be critics that look at him and see commonplace, ordinary, straightforward, thudding, bullying, not prettiest, not the most athletic, he would be that because the results deem him that.
So, yes, he wins this weekend, that’s what we will say of him and that’s what he will be.
Q. Bradley, I followed your career for a very long time. Thought you had a very wonderful career as a boxer and now commentator. In terms of for Jeff Horn, you know, you’ve kind of been in a similar situation with Manny Pacquiao how you had to prove that you belonged in the ring with him. Obviously you got that win in the first one and obviously had to prove that again with the next fight. Do you feel that Jeff Horn is going to be in a similar position even though he’s the champ, he’s going to have to show that he deserves respect? Because a lot of people thought that first Manny Pacquiao fight was controversial. Do you feel that he is in the same situation as you?
TIM BRADLEY: Absolutely. He’s in the same situation as I was similar. A lot of people felt that I didn’t win the first fight against Pacquiao, but I felt I did win the fight and everyone around me thought I won the fight.
But at the same time, Jeff Horn, he’s pretty new to me, in my opinion, to America. You know what I mean? Very known in Australia and everything and what he’s done by beating Manny Pacquiao, but he still has a lot to prove. He’s taken his step up fighting against like Tess said, the best American, number one, pound-for-pound in the game.
Now, he beats a guy like Terence Crawford, I mean, you know, this is a guy that needs to be respected. So, yes, he still needs to gain everyone’s respect by him coming to America to defend his title in Las Vegas, it shows you that he wants to be great. It shows you that he’s willing to take that challenge and that step up and wanting to be great.
So, absolutely. He needs to continue to prove himself. Just one fight doesn’t justify your career. It’s all the other fights in between as well. It’s the fight after he won the championship Against Manny Pacquiao, you know? It’s the next fight after this one, you know what I mean? That’s what defines your career. Not one fight.
MARK KRIEGEL: If Horn takes it as personally as Tim did, the lack of respect he got from beating Pacquiao, we’re in for a hell of a fight. If you look at how Tim reacts and how personal and the desperation with which he came out, not from winning but from not getting his respect, if Horn brings something like that, we’re in for a hell of a night.
JOE TESSITORE: I think there’s something also interesting with this fight in that we keep talking about how Jeff Horn wants to get the respect here stateside because of how the outcome was viewed by American fight fans. But let me tell you something about Jeff Horn, and we’re seeing it true already early on this week with now the promotion of this fight here in the U.S., as, Mark, I’m thrilled to see your feature piece, excellent feature pieces, leading off ESPN.com, and I’m sure will be read by so many mainstream sports fans, not just the endemic boxing fan. It’s an excellent piece I would recommend, especially our Australian friends, to get your hands on on ESPN.com, Mark Kriegel’s feature piece on Bud Crawford. But Jeff Horn, as much as he has not earned the respect of American fight fans, they are very aware of him. He’s notable. In fact, you could make a strong argument that more mainstream sports fans, non-boxing fans know exactly who Jeff Horn is than know many of the pound-for-pound best fighters in the world, including American fighters like Errol Spence or Keith Thurman.
Because last year when he fought on Saturday night and the shift in the business of boxing, the paradigm shift happened, and that fight was on ESPN pre-TV compared to being stuck in the corner of Pay-Per-View the way it normally would be for a decade and a half of Manny Pacquiao, so many mainstream sports fans experienced Jeff Horn’s Rocky Balboa moment.
So there was buzz. All you have to say to somebody now is, hey, Jeff Horn, the guy who beat Pacquiao last summer is fighting Bud Crawford, they know instantly who Jeff Horn is. Respect, different story. Awareness, very high.
By: Sean Crose
“I’m just sitting back,” Terence Crawford said during a Tuesday conference call, “waiting for my moment come Saturday.” This weekend, of course, is when Crawford will face Jeff Horn in Las Vegas for Horn’s WBO welterweight title. “I’m more relaxed and focused than anything,” Crawford said. That doesn’t mean Crawford doesn’t have a point to prove. Horn’s camp has done its part to poke a stick in a hornets’ nest in the leadup to the match. “I’m just tired,” Crawford claimed, “of hearing their little excuses on gloves, on the referee…I’m just ready to go out there and shut them up.”
Photo Credit: Top Rank Boxing Twitter Account
Horn’s team has made it clear that they want their man to be able to engage in a rough type of fighting many would consider dirty. “I just laugh at it,” Crawford said of team Horn’s statements. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the type of tactics he uses in the ring.” Did this mean Crawford was willing to fight fire with fire? “He’ll find out,” said Crawford, in reference to Horn. Part of Crawford’s confidence clearly stems from the fact that he’s been willing to learn from his mistakes. For instance, the man made it clear Tuesday that he could have been better mentally prepared for former opponent Yuriorkis Gamboa. “I was a little arrogant in that fight,” Crawford said, “and he made me respect it.”
For this fight, however, Crawford isn’t going to let himself underestimate his foe. “Preparation’s been A1,” Crawford said on the call. “We had a tough training camp. We didn’t take any shortcuts.” I asked the fighter if his camps have been easier now that he’s been steadily moving up in weight. “It’s always the same,” he replied. “Camp ain’t always easy …if camp is easy, your trainer’s doing something wrong…camp should never be easy.” Crawford also made it clear that Saturday’s bout is particularly important to him. Horn, after all, won his title (albeit controversially) against the great Manny Pacquiao.
“It means a lot,” Crawford said of Saturday. “I’m going to beat the man who beat Pacquiao.”
Horn, of course, has other ideas. “I’ve been working very hard in the preparation for this fight,” the Australian said during his portion of the call, adding that he was now “starting to taper down for the fight” itself. Saturday will be Horn’s first fight in America, something that some may consider a surprise, considering Horn’s level of competition this weekend. “The money was right,” Horn said simply of the decision to fight stateside. “We were always thinking we were going to America anyway.” I asked the WBO champion if he was prepared for the famed adjustments Crawford is known to make in the ring. Horn replied that he was planning on spending the match staying one step ahead of his foe. “I’m hoping he can’t figure me out throughout this whole fight,” he added. “That’s the plan, to keep changing things up.” Horn’s trainer, Glenn Rushton, expressed his wish that team Horn be allowed to engage in the kind of fight they want to. “We’d like to see the fight flow freely,” the corner man said.
Promoter Bob Arum made it clear early on in the call that Horn was coming to win. “He’s not coming to just make an appearance,” he said to reporters.
By Eric Lunger
On paper, this June 9th clash from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas is a good fight. Jeff Horn is a confident and undefeated world champion making his second title defense. Confounding all doubters, he dethroned the fearsome hall-of-fame legend Manny Pacquiao in July of last year by resolutely sticking to his blue-collar game plan. Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) is bulldog tough and has never been stopped.
Terence “Bud” Crawford is a two-division world champion with an impressive professional resume, and he is looking to win a third championship in the always fascinating welterweight division. Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) is a formidable talent who moves brilliantly, lands punches accurately from all angles, and is as crafty and smart as they come.
Despite the matchup on paper, however, Jeff Horn has a big – perhaps impossible – bridge to cross. Here, in decreasing likelihood, are three scenarios for the fight, as I see it.
First, Crawford simply outclasses the Australian champ, opens a cut and we have a TKO in the fourth or fifth round. In this scenario, Crawford takes one round to figure out his range and his opponent’s movement, then he starts to set his traps and lure Horn in, and Horn does like to be the aggressive pressure fighter. This will play into Crawford’s strengths, which are hand speed, accuracy, and overall ring savvy. Once he has Horn hurt or cut, Crawford’s killer instinct will end the bout. Or, Horn will walk into something, à la Julius Indongo in Crawford’s last outing.
In our second scenario, Crawford wins on points by boxing from range, switching hands, and overall technical proficiency. The looping punches and hay-makers that Horn threw in the Corcoran fight will not be productive. Crawford is too slick defensively to be caught like that, and he is quick to punish mistakes. Horn has never faced anyone with Crawford’s movement, especially his in-and-out distance control. Horn will spend the night trying to establish his inside game, but Crawford’s footwork won’t let him. If Crawford can land punches from range, he will score points and most likely goad the proud Australian into opening up.
Third and least likely, Horn uses his size to bully and muscle Crawford, making it an ugly, phonebooth fight. The WBO champ can be formidable when he bulls forward with his chin tucked to his chest and throws blind hooks. Horn can also be reckless with his head, to be put it politely. But Crawford is no rookie, and he won’t fight inside unless on his terms. Even in this scenario, I don’t see Horn winning on points in front of a panel of American judges. He is going to have to do something special to break down and defeat a fighter of Terrence Crawford’s caliber. Unfortunately for Horn, the man from Omaha, Nebraska, is bridge too far.
Which of these scenarios, if any, will come true? We will see next Saturday night, live on ESPN+. How do you see the fight turning out? Please leave your comments below or continue the conversation on Twitter (@lungee77).
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
Teddy Atlas will not be commentating Jeff Horn’s upcoming world title defence against Terrence Crawford if his team has its way, but the legendary analyst still doesn’t regret telling the Aussie star that he “lost” to Pacquaio in an awkward post-fight interview.
Atlas stands by his comments and told Fight Hub that it’s important that people with his influence in the sport speak out against unfair decisions.
“I believe when something’s wrong, somebody should say it’s wrong and not just let it go. I have a responsibility to say things that sometimes will cause people to get mad at me,” he says.
“If I truly, honestly believe it, from my judgement and my experience in the game of 40 years, I feel that I should do that,” says Atlas.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, Horn’s promoter, Dean Lonergan, said that Atlas is the primary reason that Americans view Horn’s upset victory over Pacquaio as a “robbery”.
Lonergan criticised Atlas’ “biased” commentary of the fight and said “I will do everything in my power to make sure Teddy Atlas is banned from the commentary team. And if that doesn’t work, I will lobby the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton not to allow Teddy Atlas through our border.”
Atlas says he is aware that Horn’s camp was furious with his comments, but feels it was important to be honest with the Queenslander rather than pretending that he agreed with the decision in their post-fight interview.
“I wanted to be consistent with what I feel and tell him. I didn’t want to say behind his back what I just said, that he lost, and then in front of him say hey buddy, you did great and I thought you won,” he says.
“I thought that’s phony and that’s not what I want to do. I know a lot of guys on tv and radio don’t do that, they destroy somebody and then they interview them face to face and say hey buddy you’re the best,” Atlas says.
He says his intention was to stand up for Pacquaio and denounce a poor decision by the judges rather than personally attack Horn.
In fact, Atlas was impressed with Horn’s performance even though he feels that Pacquaio landed the cleaner punches.
“Listen, Horn fought a tough, gritty, game, determined fight in front of his countrymen. There’s no way you can take anything away from that,” according to Atlas.
“I never denied that, I said he behaved like a champion and congratulations on behaving like a champion and fighting like one,” he says.
“But I wanted to do it graciously, like a gentleman and say I thought you lost. It’s not like I stomped him with it. It’s not like I was being mean-spirited about it or over the top, I just wanted to get out there what I had just said that he wasn’t privy to,” says Atlas.
Although Horn showed terrific heart and gave Pacquaio a much tougher fight than expected, Atlas says there’s no point in shying away from the fact that he felt he lost.
“Like I said, you don’t get credit just for throwing, you’ve got to land. Manny landed the cleaner punches in that fight. He should’ve got that fight,” he says.
Whether you think Horn won or not, Atlas says dodgy decisions have plagued boxing for decades and he feels that it his duty to call out incorrect decisions, corruption and incompetent judges.
“I thought it was just another injustice of scoring that we see too often in boxing. It just burns me, it really does. It’s like we get numb to it after a while and say ok that’s boxing,” he says.
“No it’s not ok, it’s wrong. Unfortunately we see a lot of wrong things in boxing sometimes. The sport is great, I love it. The administrators of the sport, sometimes they stink,” says Atlas.
Given his strong views on Horn’s famous victory, it’s no surprise that Atlas doesn’t see him beating the highly-rated Crawford on the 9th of June.
ESPN, meanwhile, has given no indication that it plans to remove Atlas from its commentary team for the fight.
By: Ciaran O’Mahony
Jeff Horn will need to produce the performance of his career to beat highly-rated American Terrence Crawford on the 9th of June, but he is far from a “paper champion”, according to top Australian trainers.
Although he is a hero to Australian boxing fans, Horn is regularly criticised by American pundits, who have labelled his upset victory over Manny Pacquaio a “robbery” and dismissed his chances of competing with the best in the Welterweight division.
One of Australia’s finest trainers, Gerry Murphy, says he can’t understand the negative press Horn has received overseas or the controversy surrounding the fight.
“I didn’t think it was controversial at all. Jeff won that fight 100%,” he says.
Murphy has been involved in the sport since 1973 and his self-named “Murphy’s Boxing Gym” has produced some of Australian boxing’s biggest names, including Commonwealth Games Gold medallist Brad Pitt and two-time Presidents Cup Bronze medallist Trent Rawlins.
Murphy says he knows a bad decision when he sees one because his current star, WBA (Oceania) Middleweight Champion Tej Singh, has been on the wrong side of a few.
“He has four losses on his record and every single one of them, he has won. So people underestimated him and didn’t realise how good he was,” according to Murphy.
WBA Oceania Middleweight Champion Tej Singh (middle) in sparring action with Gerry Murphy (right) watching on.
He feels that Pacquaio can have few complaints about the result as Horn boxed a smart fight, using his size and tenacity to wear the Filipino down.
He questioned Pacquaio’s conditioning, pointing out that he could have stopped Horn, but didn’t have enough in the tank to put him away.
“I don’t think Pacquaio rated Horn and I don’t think he trained for that fight,” Murphy says.
Predrag Galic, who has produced state and national champions in Boxing, Kick-boxing and Muay Thai out of “Prestige Gym” in Melbourne, agrees that complacency was Pacquaio’s greatest enemy.
“The guy was not prepared. From what I understand he did not train as hard as he should have,” he says.
Galic acknowledges that it can be difficult to get a close decision against a home-town fighter, but says the reality is “against a guy on home soil you must do more to win.”
Predrag Galic, owner of Prestige Gym, Melbourne, Australia
He says peoples’ judgement of the fight has been skewed by the damage he took in the 9th round, when Pacquaio hurt him several times with a barrage of lethal combinations.
“I think a bit of the controversy came from the fact that he was nearly stopped. He got hurt late in the fight, but you can’t score a fight on one or two rounds,” he says.
Whether you feel that Horn deserved the decision or not, Galic says no one could deny that he put on a fantastic performance against one of the best fighters of his generation.
“Controversy aside the guy stood there and fought,” he says.
“Regardless of the decision, for Horn to perform so well against a fighter like that and a southpaw, which would have been uncomfortable for him, I give him a lot of credit,” Galic says.
Although Pacquaio was a huge scalp for Horn, both trainers feel that Crawford represents the biggest challenge of his career.
Murphy has some inside knowledge on the former light-welterweight champion as his fighters watched Crawford spar at a training camp in Colorado.
“The whole Australian team watched him spar at a camp in Colorado and they said he was phenomenal. They said he was almost magical to watch,” he says.
“I think they’re making a bit of a mistake in fighting Crawford now. I would’ve given him a couple of more winnable fights first,” Murphy says.
“They said Crawford’s up there with Lomachenko. I don’t think Jeff can beat him,” says Murphy.
Galic says Crawford’s physical attributes could cause Horn some problems, explaining that “looking at those 2 fighters, Horn is definitely the bigger guy, but Crawford has a longer reach and this is something not many people realise.”
“Crawford’s a little bit shorter but he has a reach advantage. He is a very swift counter-puncher who covers 180 degrees, whereas Jeff Horn covers slightly past 90,” he says.
“Crawford is a volume puncher with a longer reach and a 70% knockout ratio. He’s very dangerous,” Galic says.
“I hope Jeff Horn’s team have looked at that and addressed it in training, otherwise they could be surprised,” according to Galic.
Regardless of the outcome in Las Vegas, Murphy and Galic believe Horn is a great example for young athletes around the world.
Murphy has met Horn at a few national events and says “he’s genuinely one of the nicest guys in boxing.”
He says that Horn doesn’t receive as much attention as he should, partly because “he doesn’t talk shit about his opponents.”
However, he admires the way the Queenslander carries himself and says “he’s a really genuinely nice person.”
Galic tells a similar story, recalling how Horn was so pleasant with all of his fans at a Golden Gloves event and that his newfound fame doesn’t seem to have gone to his head.
“if he really was lucky against Pacquaio, the next few fights will show it,” he says.
Horn will get the chance to prove his doubters wrong again in just a few weeks.
By: Ken Hissner
Former Philadelphia WBA World Bantamweight Champion “Joltin” Jeff Chandler was 13-0-1 with 4 knockouts after his first 14 fights. His fourteenth fight was his first 10 rounder.
In comparison Philadelphia’s 21 year-old Christian Carto is 14-0 with 11 knockouts and a former 2014 and 2015 National Golden Gloves Champion. He’s also been the main event boxer on three shows. Starting August 11th, September 29th and March 2nd.
Photo Credit: Darryl Cobb, Jr.
On April 28th he will be fighting for the same promoter Chandler had who is IBHOF promoter J Russell Peltz of Peltz Boxing. The bout will take place at the Liacouras Center in North Philadelphia which is the home base for the Temple University Owls basketball team. It is also where both Peltz and his assistant matchmaker Brittany Rodgers graduated from.
Peltz is known to give the fans what they want and put’s on very competitive fights. Carto’s opponent will not be an exception in Edwin “Puto” Rodriguez, 9-4 (5), of Puerto Rico. He is coming off a win over Juan Carlos Camacho then 6-0 (4) in August by majority decision in Complejo Ferial, Ponce, PR, over 6 rounds. In his previous loss he lost a split decision over 10 rounds to Jose Alfredo Rodriguez, then 31-4 (19), at the ABC Sports Complex in Springfield, VA, to win the UBF All America Super Flyweight title. He has a knockout win over Puerto Rico’s Carlos Rodriguez who was 12-1 at the time for the WBA Fedecentro Super Flyweight title.
Carto is trained by former PA Golden Gloves Champion Mickey Rosati. He trains above Rosati’s Auto Repair Shop in South Philadelphia. Carto’s manager is his brother Frankie Jr. who was a PA Novice champion. In this writer’s conversations with Frankie it’s like talking to an old time manager. For someone so young and inexperienced you would never guess this. Rosati is one of the best young trainers in the business and having his boxing career in Philadelphia following his father’s career has really been a blessing. At the gym today I found out PAB HOF Mickey Sr. fell and fractured his pelvis and broke a hand. He is in the Methodist Hospital in South Philly and “fighting to get back home” with every doctor he encounters.
Carto turned professional on July 2, 2016 stopping Rahkeam Parker at the Santander Arena in Reading, PA. Just 20 days later he was stopping Christopher Nelson who was making his debut at the Claridge Hotel & Casino, in Atlantic City, NJ.
Carto would win 4 more fights in 2016 with 3 at the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia and 2 at the Liacouras Center where his next bout will be held. He would have a total of 7 fights at the SugarHouse Casino, 1 each at the Fillmore and 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Tropicana Hotel & Casino as well as the previously mentioned Claridge making it 2 in Atlantic City.
Carto’s last 3 wins have be 8 round decisions over Mexico’s Alonso Melendez, 14-1, Mexico’s Luis Fernando Saavedra, 7-3 and James Smith 12-1 of Detroit, MI. It wasn’t until his last fight against Smith that one of the judges had an opponent winning a round.
KEN HISSNER: Do you know anything about your next opponent Edwin Rodriguez?
CHRISTIAN CARTO & MICKEY ROSATI: We’ve seen several films on him. He looks more like a boxer than a slugger.
FRANKIE CARTO: We have seen enough films on Rodriguez to know that he will be a tough test for Christian even though he is coming up a couple of pounds from his usual weight.
KEN HISSNER: Do you feel you have learned more from winning your last 3 fights by 8 round decisions than your first 11 bouts by stoppages all within 5 rounds?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: I believe I am learning and improving with each fight.
MICKEY ROSATI: We work on new stuff and he adjusts so good it’s amazing how quick he picks things up.
KEN HISSNER: This will be your third time fighting at Temple University’s the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. Is there much difference than fighting in smaller venues?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: I don’t notice the crowd so the size of the facility or crowd doesn’t matter to me.
KEN HISSNER: You have fought for promoters Hard Hitting Promotions, King’s Promotions and now Peltz Boxing in association with Top Rank Boxing. Do you and your brother Frankie feel it’s good so that you can evaluate them?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: My brother Frankie takes care of all of this.
FRANKIE CARTO: We evaluate them and all have helped Christian’s career which is important in a young career. This keeps him in the gym. He will be having his fifteenth fight next month in twenty-two months since turning professional in July of 2016.
KEN HISSNER: What is the weight set at for the fight with Edwin Rodridguez knowing he is a super flyweight?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: The weight is set at 118 give or take a pound.
KEN HISSNER: Who was your amateur trainer?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: Tony Brisani who also trained Mickey (Rosati) in the beginning. Then Mickey came in from that point and for all my professional fights.
KEN HISSNER: Would you say sparring with Manny Folly also out of Philly who is 10-0 has been as tough as any of your opponents?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: Manny gives me the best sparring I could get and he is as good as my opponents have been.
KEN HISSNER: Who have you sparred with in preparing you for this upcoming fight?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: I just finished sparring with Stephen “Scooter” Felton (12-0 Philly Featherweight).
KEN HISSNER: Have you signed a promotional contract as of yet?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: No.
KEN HISSNER: In your last bout you had your first main event fight. In the one coming up you will be on a card with a world title bout, a pair of 10 rounder’s and be one of the four 8 rounder’s but on a much larger stage and on ESPN. Can you compare the two without yet experiencing it?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: It is exciting on the same card with some good people.
KEN HISSNER: I believe I have covered all your 14 bouts and have to say you are probably the most exciting to watch because you come with the “full package” of boxing skills and punching power. Do you feel the fans expect a knockout since your first eleven fights ended that way?
CHRISTIAN CARTO: I feel I am getting better with each fight. I know it’s a learning process going from the amateurs to the professionals.
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule preparing for your upcoming fight on April 28th.
CHRISTIAN CARTO: Anytime.