The Terence Crawford v Jeff Horn scrap is days away, and the promotion has been reasonably even keeled, with pockets of spice erupting.
Horn’s trainer, Glen Rushton, has taken shots at Crawford’s trainer, Brian Mcintyre, who also functions as his manager. Rushton said that Mac is screwing up by demanding that Crawford not talk to Aussie press, because, he said, the trainer/manager thinks they will twist his words and offer fake news. Before that, Team Horn took aim at Crawford, insinuating that his hand injury which pushed this fight back was spurious.
The principals did a conference call to help hype the tango, which screens only on the ESPN app, ESPN+. Here are some tidbits from that:
—This event may be looked back upon as, more than anything, a jumbo step in a new direction of platform choice. “Many people think this should be on ESPN TV instead of the app – ESPN+. Looking back to the Pacquiao fight where millions watched,” a media member asked promoter Bob Arum. “What do you say to them?”
“Well, you can’t hold back the future and the future is direct to consumer,” Arum said. “The future is ESPN+, where I believe in the next 10 to 20 years everyone will be watching their entertainment on direct to consumer platforms. Like Netflix in entertainment, ESPN+ will be the place for sports in abundance. To fans now in the United States and around the world, it is the future. Get used to it. Jeff Horn and Terence Crawford will go down in history as the two fighters who are the first to fight in this direct to consumer sports entertainment space.
—Promoter Arum seems like he’s putting Jose Benavidez front and center to fight the winner. “There is a guy that you should be looking at also who will be on the card. He is recovering from this incident where he was shot in the knee and he is coming along really strong – Jose Benavidez – and he may be ready to fight the winner, which we will see,” Arum said.
—“Bob, you didn’t even mention Pacquiao,” a media member noted, when Arum spoke of prominent welters. “There is Manny Pacquiao (laughing), well, he is more of a politician, but he is a fighter, I guess.”
—Arum compared Crawford to an all-time all-star. “He is in my mind like one of the throwback fighters to the 80s. We compare him to the great Sugar Ray Leonard,” the dealmaker stated.
—Not typically too chatty on such calls, Crawford did offer up a for-him lengthy answer when asked about this fight running only on the app, not on ESPN proper.
How does fighting on ESPN+ affect you?
“ESPN has faith in me being the next big star,” the 30 year old Nebraskan said. “They are putting me in this big platform that’s going to take off here. What better way to kick ESPN+ off than by putting one of the top pound-for-pound fighters on there? I am delighted to be in this predicament right now. I’m just ready to go out there and fight.”
—A new atmosphere in camp could have us seeing an even more dialed in Crawford.
Tell us about living in Colorado Springs, he was asked. “It’s real special having training camp in Colorado Springs,” the 32-0 hitter said. “The atmosphere and the people and the oxygen level. The whole thing around Colorado is good. The people around there are so sweet and generous. I have family in Denver. It is peaceful – I don’t have a lot of people running up to me or bothering me. I don’t have to worry about any distractions. I bought a house out there this year. I should have bought a house out there before, but I was being arrogant. It’s a spot where I will take my kids when I’m not even in training and go on a vacation just to get away.
—Crawford isn’t setting up an under-promise, over-deliver scenario…What can the fans expect to see from you at 147 that may be different than at 140, he was asked. “I am going to be stronger,” Crawford told callers. “I am going to be faster. My boxing ability and my IQ are already there. I’m going to be a lot stronger. Will he be ready is a key factor. My speed is still there. My power is better. I am only going to keep getting stronger and stronger. I am going to be ready, and come Saturday, I will answer all of the questions.”
— Rushton isn’t in the camp of those thinking Horn…
..can be a big bully Saturday. “I think Terence will come in here a lot bigger than a lot of people think so there will not be an incredible size advantage. And Jeff is incredibly strong.”
—His peeps have high confidence in their guy. “I knew Jeff would win that (Pacquiao) fight after all the people complaining about the decision,” Rushton said, when asked about a possible rematch with Pacman. “On the other hand, I felt for Manny Pacquiao and he is a legend, and if I was Pacquiao’s trainer, I would tell him not to fight Jeff Horn again. Jeff will be bigger, stronger, younger and better – you can’t beat him.”
Me and you think you can…but Horn has been in the position before, eh? Crawford is a primed athlete and Manny a part timer and aging, though. You think Horn sees the final bell, as Viktor Postol did? I think he may well…Talk to me, readers.