By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – There wasn’t a significant size difference between Terence Crawford and Jeff Horn as they stood face-to-face Friday afternoon at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The 5-feet-9 Horn stands one inch taller than Crawford, but they officially weighed in one pound apart. Crawford stepped on the Nevada State Athletic Commission’s scale at a career-high 146½ pounds for his welterweight debut, half-a-pound less than Horn, who officially weighed 147 pounds.
Horn first got on the scale at 148 pounds, one full pound above the welterweight limit. He stripped naked, yet still was half-a-pound heavy when he stepped on it again.
The defending WBO welterweight champion returned to the scale again, less than the allotted one hour later, and weighed in right at the division’s limit of 147 pounds.
If Horn hadn’t made weight, he would’ve been stripped of his title and paid financial penalties to Crawford and the NSAC to move forward with their fight. Crawford could’ve won that title even if Horn didn’t meet his contractual obligation because Crawford made weight.
One of the most interesting things about their 12-round, 147-pound fight is how the heavily favored Crawford will handle his move up from 140 pounds to the welterweight division.
Australia’s Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) is a natural welterweight who has fought at or near the welterweight limit since he turned pro in March 2013. He could have a noteworthy weight advantage once their fight starts Saturday night, but Crawford has declined to speculate about how much weight he thinks he’ll add by rehydrating between Friday’s weigh-in and the opening bell.
Horn’s size and strength were important components to his upset of Manny Pacquiao 11 months ago in Horn’s hometown of Brisbane, Australia. Horn manhandled Pacquiao at times in their 12-rounder on his way to winning a controversial unanimous decision July 2 at Suncorp Stadium.
Horn’s handlers believe his size and strength advantages will help him overcome Crawford’s diverse skill set and intelligence when they square off.
Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs), the mandatory challenger for Horn’s title, is a former WBO lightweight and ex-IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC/WBO 140-pound champion. He’ll fight for the first time Saturday night since he knocked out Namibia’s Julius Indongo (22-2, 11 KOs) with a body shot in the third round of their super lightweight title unification fight August 19 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The 30-year-old Crawford, of Omaha, Nebraska, and Horn, also 30, were supposed to fight April 14 at Mandalay Bay Events Center. Crawford suffered a hand injury in sparring, though, and their bout was postponed to Saturday night and moved to nearby MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Crawford is listed as nearly a 10-1 favorite over Horn at the MGM Grand’s sports book (-950/+600).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.