By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – The last time Jeff Horn encountered a southpaw, the then-unknown Australian pulled off one of boxing’s biggest upsets of 2017.
Unlike Manny Pacquiao, Terence Crawford technically isn’t a southpaw. Crawford is, however, a rare ambidextrous boxer who’s completely comfortable fighting out of right-handed and left-handed stances for extended stretches during fights.
That unique ability has helped the undefeated Crawford become one of the best boxers in the world.
That diversity also will make Horn’s mandatory challenger an extremely complex opponent to figure out in their 12-round, 147-pound championship match Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena (ESPN+).
“It is a challenge because you have to kind of fight pretty much two different people in there, that do two completely opposite things,” Horn told BoxingScene.com before a press conference Thursday at MGM Grand. “But I do the exact same thing, so he’s gonna have the same pleasure coming back at him.”
Horn doesn’t switch stances throughout bouts, but the WBO welterweight champion competes in an unconventional, awkward way that hasn’t exactly earned him style points from fans and media.
Horn admits there are times he’s not even sure what he’ll do during a fight. The unbeaten Horn isn’t certain what to expect from Crawford, either, in terms of how much Crawford will fight right-handed and left-handed.
“He’ll do whatever works for him,” Horn said. “I think whatever he feels I’m not doing well against, he’s gonna use that style because he can switch. He can chose which one he’s gonna fight from.
“I’ve never fought someone that could go back and forth. I’ve fought plenty of different southpaws and orthodox fighters, but never someone that can switch as smoothly as Terence Crawford can.”
Though respectful of Crawford’s capabilities, Horn is confident he’ll record another upset against Crawford.
Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) was a 6-1 favorite over Horn when Horn roughed up the Filipino legend en route to a controversial, unanimous-decision victory over him July 2 in Brisbane, Australia, Horn’s hometown. The 30-year-old Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs), of Omaha, Nebraska, is listed as more than a 9-1 favorite against Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) at the MGM Grand sports book.
“Look, I’ve done very well against southpaws in the past,” Horn said. “I’ve got a great record against them and if he wants to fight southpaw, I’m comfortable with that. And if he wants to fight orthodox, I’m used to that as well.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.