By Radio Rahim
Former two division world champion Paulie Malignaggi cautions that WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) is going to present a tough challenge for mandatory challenger Terence Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs).
Horn shocked Manny Pacquiao last July with an upset twelve round unanimous decision to capture the WBO world title. He retained the the title for the first time in December, with a stoppage victory over voluntary challenger Gary Corcoran of the UK.
Crawford, who previously held a world title at 135-pounds, unified the entire junior welterweight division in 2017 - and soon after announced a move to the welterweight limit of 147-pounds.
Crawford became the mandatory challenger when he officially made his move to 147.
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, who promotes Crawford and a remaining fight option on Horn, is making moves to stage the fight on April 14th at Madison Square Garden in New York City. ESPN would televise the card.
Malignaggi views Horn as the naturally bigger man, and the possibly the naturally stronger man - and disagrees with a lot of people who are already predicting a complete mismatch when the two boxers step in the ring.
Although Malignaggi admits that securing a victory over Crawford would be a huge mountain to climb for Horn.
"If Jeff Horn can upset Crawford, he's going to put himself in the picture. I know it's a big ask, but I think he's a naturally bigger guy with a very physical style against a former lightweight. It's not as easy of a fight for Crawford as people think. I think Crawford is legitimately the favorite in the fight, but you can not underestimate Horn," Malignaggi told BoxingScene.com.
"If Horn came and beat Crawford, after beating Pacquiao last year, he's already put himself in as the frontrunner for 'Fighter of The Year.' I'm not going to say that's my prediction, but what I'm saying is that you should at least open up your eyes to it."