By Keith Idec
Jeff Horn seemingly needs to box better than ever to upset an opponent typically considered one of the top two boxers in the sport.
If the Australian champion can produce that type of superb performance Saturday night, he is confident judges will give him the credit he deserves against an American opponent. Horn will make his debut in the United States against Terence Crawford, a former two-division champion from Omaha, Nebraska, who has fought in Las Vegas six times in 10 years as a pro.
Dean Lonergan, Horn’s primary promoter, made sure Horn got at least one Australian judge approved to work their fight at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas (ESPN+). The Nevada State Athletic Commission assigned Australia’s Adam Height, Nevada’s Burt Clements and Italy’s Guido Cavalleri to judge the 12-round bout between Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) and Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) for Horn’s WBO welterweight title.
“I feel I should be able to win a decision in America,” Horn said during a conference call Tuesday. “If they’re judging fairly, and I’m throwing more punches and landing more punches, I guess the judges should be saying that and scoring me the rounds. So I expect it to be fairly scored. Hopefully the judges aren’t watching just Terence Crawford, and they’re watching me as well, because that can be the tricky part with judging.
“If you’re trying to watch two guys, it’s nearly impossible. You normally always have got your eye on one guy and seeing what he’s doing. So hopefully they’re changing between me and Crawford, and who they’re watching.”
In his last big fight, Horn recorded a unanimous-decision victory over heavily favored Manny Pacquiao to win the WBO welterweight title. Horn’s win was widely considered controversial, but each of the three judges – New York’s Waleska Roldan (117-111), Argentina’s Ramon Cerdan (115-113) and Arizona’s Chris Flores (115-113) – scored their fight for Horn on July 2 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, Horn’s hometown.
Horn and his handlers didn’t hesitate to make this transpacific trip to Las Vegas because they’re certain he can defeat the diverse, skillful Crawford if their 147-pound championship match goes the distance.
“I believe that we can get the decision,” said Glenn Rushton, Horn’s trainer and manager. “I don’t think that’s gonna be a problem. And I do believe that the judges all around the world are very good. I think the judges that we’ve got for the bout are incredibly competent. And I think they are very fair and they do their very best to arrive at an accurate decision, round by round. So we certainly don’t go into the fight expecting any problems with any of the officials.
“I do hope that [referee] Mr. [Robert] Byrd lets the fight flow. The people wanna see a great entertainment spectacle here. We don’t want the fight being stopped every second, just because the fighters are in close. We’d like to see the fight flow freely. And I think if so, it’s gonna be an incredible spectacle on the night. That’s all we hope for, but we certainly are not expecting any problems whatsoever from any of the officials.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.