By Keith Idec
Terence Crawford doesn’t think Jeff Horn’s epic upset of Manny Pacquiao was all that controversial.
Crawford considers Horn-Pacquiao a closely contested fight either boxer could’ve won. Pacquiao, then 38, was about a 6-1 favorite before Horn beat him by unanimous decision to win the WBO welterweight title from the Filipino icon July 2 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, Horn’s hometown.
“I thought it could’ve went either way because Horn was winning a lot of the early rounds and he finished the fight very strong,” Crawford told BoxingScene.com. “Pacquiao, in the ninth round, he could’ve finished Jeff Horn, but he was tired just from being pushed around the whole fight. He didn’t have enough in him to do it.
“So I think it could’ve went either way, but if I had to pick [a winner], I probably would’ve picked – that’s kind of hard. Jeff Horn was kind of rough in there. I think he deserved the win, being that he took the fight to Pacquiao and he just looked like he wanted it more.”
The 30-year-old Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) will make his second defense of the WBO 147-pound championship against Crawford on June 9 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs), a former WBO lightweight and undisputed super lightweight champion from Omaha, Nebraska, is the mandatory challenger for Horn’s title.
Crawford, also 30, had hoped to face Pacquiao prior to the aged southpaw’s setback against Horn.
Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) came close to stopping Horn in the ninth round, but a resilient Horn recovered, finished their fight strong and pulled off one of boxing’s biggest upsets of 2017. The then-unknown Horn defeated Pacquiao on all three scorecards (117-111, 115-113, 115-113).
Crawford doesn’t believe Pacquiao overlooked Horn, despite the lopsided odds entering their 12-round fight last summer.
“I don’t think he underestimated him,” Crawford said. “I think he didn’t expect him to last the way that he lasted, taking the punches that he took. I think Pacquiao trained hard for the fight. I just think he didn’t think Jeff Horn was gonna be so strong and aggressive.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.