On Tuesday afternoon, ESPN boxing commentators and analysts Joe Tessitore, Mark Kriegel and Tim Bradley discussed the June 9 fight between Terence Crawford, testing the waters in the shark-laden welterweight division, and Jeff Horn, who insists he is full-on Jaws quality.
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.
Bradley was right off the bat asked how he sees Crawford vs Horn playing out. It’s fair to say everyone outside of Team Horn likes the Nebraskan, uniformly seen as a pound for pound No. 1, 2 or 3, to get the W. Does the ex hitter, who supplanted his tutor, Teddy Atlas, as the No. 1 color man in the ESPN booth?
“I see the fight starting off kind of rough, honestly,” said Bradley, who hung up the mitts last year. “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.”
Does Tessitore see it similarly as Bradley, his partner in Australia last summer when Horn (18-0-1) pulled off the massive albeit controversial upset of the fighting Senator, Manny Pacquiao?
“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,” Tess said on the call. “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.”
Wordsmith Mark Kriegel offered a specific punch to watch out for. “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,” Kriegel said. “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.”
More from the trio…
Bradley said he thought Crawford (age 30; 32-0) would be harder for Horn than Manny. Makes sense, Manny is long in that tooth and Crawford is at his physical apex.
Th ex hitter humbly shared a bit of trivia about Crawford, that he came to spar Bradley before he was a “name.” ‘Beats me up in front of my own people — beats me up, comes back the next day.’
All three figure Bud gets the W, but seemed to indicate it won’t necessarily be easy work for the up-from-140 pugilist.
Any of you out there thinking the 30 year old Aussie, holder for now of the WBO 147 pound crown, ruins Crawford’s first foray at welter?