By Radio Rahim
According to Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, he tried to warn everyone about the talent level of WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs).
Earlier this month, Horn pulled of a major upset when he won a twelve round unanimous decision over eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao, who was an overwhelming favorite coming into the fight.
The contest took place before a loud crowd of over 51,000 fans at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia. Horn picked up the WBO title with the win.
There has been a lot of controversy over the scorecards in the Horn's biggest win, with scores handed down of 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113.
Arum does not see the controversy in the outcome. He felt it was a close fight that could have gone either way.
"Horn was relatively unknown because nobody would listen to me, but I saw him fight last year on the Parker-Ruiz card, and I told everybody that he was a big, strong welterweight who would give Manny Pacquiao or any other welterweight trouble. I saw him with my own eyes fighting an African kid [Ali] Funeka, and Horn took him to the limit and knocked him out, so I knew Horn was good," Arum explained to BoxingScene.com.
"I thought the fight [between Horn and Pacquiao] was very, very close. I had it scored six rounds to six, and I thought Manny should have got a 10-8 round in the ninth round. I had Manny winning by one point. So if the judges have Horn winning seven rounds to five, you can't argue with that. I had Manny winning the eleventh round and the judges had Horn winning the eleventh round, and that was the difference."
There is a rematch clause in the contract, but there is no guarantee that the 38-year-old Pacquiao will face Horn for a second time. He might retire or go in another direction.
If Pacquiao takes a pass on the rematch, Horn has mentioned two possible names he'd like to face - Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Terence Crawford.
Mayweather, 40, is returning to the ring next month against UFC superstar Conor McGregor and has no intention of fighting beyond that August bout. For Crawford, he will also return next month when he faces Julius Indongo in an IBF, IBO, WBA, WBC, WBO junior welterweight unification.
If Pacquiao passes on the rematch, and Crawford wins next month and moves up to 147, then Arum could certainly see the possibility of a Horn-Crawford bout coming together.
And Arum already warns that Horn would be a very tough opponent for Crawford - and everyone else at the welterweight limit.
"I think Jeff Horn is competitive with anybody. As far as Mayweather is concerned, he announced that he's not fighting anymore after the McGregor thing, and I believe him. As far as Crawford is concerned, we'll see. He has a tough fight with Indongo. That's a great fight in Nebraska on August 19th. Crawford will fight at least one more time this year. If Jeff Horn does not fight Manny Pacquiao in a rematch, Jeff Horn will fight anybody he said, and that could possibly be Crawford," Arum said.
"Do I think Crawford is better than Horn? Probably. I think Crawford is one of the best fighters in the world, but you can't count out a kid like Horn. He is a tough, tough kid and he is probably strongest welterweight in the world. If it was just an alley fight, I would pick Horn against any welterweight out there. Obviously these are not alley fights, but Manny Pacquiao has never fought a fighter as strong, physically, as Horn."