“He fight's like he's horny.”
I've just read David Phillips' sublime “My Day With Muhammad Ali,” an ensemble of stoic grace written with a rugged elegance.
There's a bottle of Horny Goat Weed on the kitchen counter and I wonder if WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn (18-0-1, 12KOs) swallows a whole fucking bottle before fights. I really do.
I dial into the international media conference call on Tuesday to hype his showdown with former undisputed super lightweight champion and pound-for-pound star Terence Crawford (32-0, 23KOs) on Saturday, June 9 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and decide to bluntly ask “The Hornet” if he smokes “Bud.” He passes it around.
“His flaws are minor compared to his strengths, but he's a man and he bleeds,” blowed Horn trainer Glenn Rushton, a real badass ruffian type with a master mind. “At the end of the day he's just a man. I've done all of the analysis in great detail and I believe I've got the plan to beat Terence Crawford.”
He wasn't buying Bud's hand injury, either; the one that delayed the fight and robbed spring for the summer. Fresh off finishing a “Club Soda” and chasing it with a shot of ring bourbon, brand spanking new NY Fights aficionado Abraham Gonzalez was selling a decision.
“Will it be a coming out party at 147 for Terence Crawford or will Jeff Horn demand some “Respek on my name”? I think it's both and Horn goes the distance,” said kinda honest Abe.
“Horn will try to make things as uncomfortable as possible– which may lead to some head butting here and there early in the fight. As the fight moves on though I see Crawford making adjustments and stinging Jeff Horn mentally and physically. Will it be enough for a stoppage? I don't think it will, however, it will lead to a unanimous decision and the crowning of a new champion at 147.”
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There are those who feel a few judges for Horn's MMA-style split decision win over Manny Pacquiao were smoking ‘some good shit' as they say in da hood. At least as good as whatever Cleveland Cavalier J.R. Smith apparently smokes near the end of NBA Finals games with the Golden State Warriors (of all teams). I'm thinking of things to throw in the bag for Vegas and catch e-mails from a few other NY Fights.com scribblers: my boy Colin Morrison holding things down for us in Scotland and the esteemed Kelsey McCarson, who's married to @rachel_mccarson and somewhat steamed about this fight.
“Jeff Horn has no business being in the ring with Terence Crawford, and I can't decide if I love that or hate it,” said Kelsey, before going in on boxing.”Horn is only in this position because boxing is openly crooked in various ways. The most obvious crookedness to this fight is that Horn didn't really beat Manny Pacquiao last year. He did fight bravely and with a substantial amount of grit and determination, but in a fair and honest world, Pacquiao deserved to win the fight. In the boxing world, Horn did just enough to make the screw-job palatable.”
Which, of course, is why we have Jeff Horn Vs. Terence Crawford, because Jeff Horn Vs. Manny Pacquiao happened. If this fight goes according to that script, the winner will just so happen to be a little more popular because of the loser. If that loser is Horn, he'll still win if he loses well– just as Crawford will lose if he wins badly.
“I consider Terence Crawford the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing. He's already won two lineal championships per the TBRB at lightweight and junior welterweight, and now he's facing probably the biggest opponent he's ever seen inside a boxing ring,' Kelsey continued.
“Crawford will win the fight, but Horn will be as rough, awkward and as dirty as he was when he fought Pacquiao. That will bring out my very favorite thing about Crawford. Yes, he's gifted, two-fisted and super skilled, but the part I most like about him is that he's one of the meanest SOBs I've ever seen on fight night. All in all, it seems like a pretty fun little scrap. It's just a shame it's on that new ESPN+ app and not regular TV. Being about the only relevant professional prizefighter ever to fight out of Nebraska, he's probably already used to having to do things the hard way.”
Kelsey's complaint about the ESPN+ app was echoed during the conference call and bounced into the ears of Top Rank boss Bob Arum, who sent back a few simple sound waves of his own. “You can't hold back the future. The future is in direct to consumer platforms. Jeff Horn and Terence Crawford will go down as pioneers for a new era of programming,” said Arum.
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About an hour before writing this, I'm on a podcast with Doc Stanley and a cool panel and I actually can't wait to listen to it. I feel totally rehydrated after barely making weight. I've been busy with a city council campaign in my hometown of Plainfield, NJ and working on other projects that's had me on hiatus for a few weeks. I'm feeling like Colin was when I spoke to him earlier about this fight. “I'm interested in this bout, as we'll get to see how Terence Crawford deals with the physical, rough-house style of Jeff Horn,” The Colinizer offers with fan enthusiasm.
“Horn believes he will be too big and strong for the man moving up from the 140lb division, but I believe his menacing style will work against him the longer the contest goes. If Horn was fighting anyone else moving up I would give consideration to him winning, but the problem he has here is, he's facing one of the best fighters in the world.
Crawford will be able to land at will against the aggressive Aussie and as the fight unfolds this is going to have a cumulative effect. A steady diet of hard, accurate shots to the head and body will enable Crawford to win by ninth round stoppage.”
FLOYD MAYWEATHER VS RICKY HATTON II
I don't know Jeff smokes Bud at all, but if he does, it's not the kind nicknamed Terence Crawford. I like Jeff Horn, he's grown on me… he speaks very well, and has a diplomatic cockiness about himself that's as forward and in-your-face as his ring demeanor is. But he's a really good, hard-working fighter of blind ambition about to fully witness the makings of an all-time great. This should be nasty firefight and a modern remake of Mayweather's true debut as “Money.” In many ways, it is Crawford's too, and will probably force people to start buying a lot of Bud. Stylistically it has the makings of an instant classic.
Whereas Mayweather brought a smaller and similarly skilled version of Horn (in Hatton) up to 147 to exacerbate a speed and size advantage, Crawford is coming up to exploit a speed advantage while minimizing a disadvantage in size. His task will be harder than that of Mayweather against Hatton, because Horn has already proven to be a very highly effective aggressor as a big welterweight on an elite stage. It's probably something like Floyd Mayweather going up to face the risk of Kostya Tszyu on acid.
Horn will most likely strike Crawford far more frequently than Hatton did Floyd, but this also means Horn will get nailed at the same rate that Pacquiao struck Ricky Hatton at his natural weight. You saw what happened there, as “Wapakman” damn near killed him. Hell, Senator Pacquiao almost got Jeff Horn out of there late, and if you believe Pac's legendary former trainer Freddie Roach, who told me at the Wild Card Gym last year that a super lightweight Crawford was really “a big welterweight” then a Horn gets honked. Hard. He'll get smoked by fresh Bud in five and become a permanent spokesperson for the merits of medical marijuana.