By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Jeff Horn trained Wednesday right next to the MGM Grand sports book as part of a workout that was open to the public.
It was impossible for Horn not to notice just how little regard handicappers have for him. Horn is undefeated and the defending WBO welterweight champion, but he is a huge underdog on the big board.
MGM Grand lists Crawford as more than a 9-1 favorite over Horn (-950/+600) in advance of his second title defense Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena (ESPN+).
“Look, I’m surprised I’m as big of an underdog as I am for the fight,” Horn said during a press conference Thursday at MGM Grand. “I’m not surprised that I am the underdog. Terence is a great fighter.”
The 30-year-old Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) assumed his controversial victory over Manny Pacquiao would’ve afforded him more respect entering his 12-round, 147-pound title fight against Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs).
“I think the last time I looked I was about [a] 6-1 or 7-1 [underdog],” Horn said before the press conference began. “Look, I had it with Pacquiao, I guess. And I thought that I should’ve had a bit [better odds against Pacquiao], but I was completely unknown then. It is a surprise now that what I’ve done with Pacquiao that I’m still that far off.
“But it’s how highly people rank and look at Crawford. So he’s pound-for-pound for a reason and people don’t think I’m that good, so they think that he’s gonna win the fight. But I love surprises and I love giving ‘em.”
The Philippines’ Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) was about a 6-1 favorite when Horn upset him by unanimous decision 11 months ago in Brisbane, Australia, Horn’s hometown.
Some of Horn’s fans from Australia haven’t been shy about telling Horn that they’re expecting to win plenty of money from betting on him to defeat Crawford.
“I’ve had a lot of people say that they’ve got money on me,” Horn said. “I never like to know how much people have got on me because it’s a bit of pressure. [I say], ‘OK, don’t tell me. I don’t wanna lose your money, just in case.’ But yeah, it’s good, the support I’m getting back home.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.