By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Jeff Horn’s trainer, Glenn Rushton, mentioned again during a press conference Thursday that Horn’s team doesn’t think Terence Crawford was actually hurt when their fight was postponed March 14.
Dean Lonergan, Horn’s primary promoter, previously accused Crawford’s promoter, Bob Arum, of concocting a “fake injury” so that their welterweight title fight could be streamed live on the new ESPN+ app. The app officially launched April 12, two days before Crawford-Horn originally was supposed to take place April 14 at Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Offering fights live via ESPN’s streaming service is part of the exclusive content agreement Arum’s Top Rank Inc. has with ESPN. Three weeks after it was postponed, Crawford-Horn was rescheduled for Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Crawford told BoxingScene.com two months ago that their fight was postponed because he suffered a deep bone bruise on the top of his right hand while sparring in March. Crawford also said the deep bruise popped part of the cartilage in his hand out of place.
Rushton still doesn’t believe Crawford was injured.
“If we had something to say, I would say it,” Rushton said. “Simple as that. And we have no ill feeling towards the Crawford camp. That applies to whether it’s [trainer] Brian [McIntyre] or Terence themselves, or any of their handlers. But if something happens, obviously we were a bit annoyed with the date change. There was no evidence of any injury provided to us. We just heard of a bruised hand. As I said at the time, you know, if Jeff said we were pulling out or postponing the fight because we had a bruised hand, I would expect to have caught some flak for that. Because, as I said, Jeff gets a bruised hand every second day of the week.
“So we, naturally, had something to say. I think that was warranted and would expect a response of some kind. I think it was a valid response, to say that we’re disappointed, we’re prepared, we’ve trained hard for April 14th. So I don’t think there’s any real malice there. It’s just things happen. Obviously, we make a comment. The media expects us to make a comment. We make a comment which we believe was warranted. I think it was warranted. I stand by that now. And, as I said before, we’re looking forward to a great fight on Saturday night. This is a terrific bout. I think the people are in for an absolute brilliant night.”
Neither Arum nor Crawford responded during the press conference to Rushton’s comments regarding Crawford’s injury.
The 12-round, 147-pound championship match between Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs), of Brisbane, Australia, and Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs), of Omaha, Nebraska, will headline an eight-bout card Saturday night. The entire undercard will be streamed live via the ESPN+ app, beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.