By Keith Idec
Like most boxing observers, Keith Thurman thinks Terence Crawford will win the WBO welterweight title from Jeff Horn.
Thurman’s not sure, however, just what beating Australia’s Horn should do for the heavily favored Crawford’s standing within the welterweight division. The unbeaten WBA/WBC welterweight champ doesn’t think much of Horn, despite his upset of Manny Pacquiao seven months ago.
“The thing about Crawford is, you can put him in the top five [among welterweights],” Thurman told Yahoo! Sports’ Kevin Iole during a video interview posted Tuesday. “But you don’t know where he belongs. You can just put him at No. 3. Keith Thurman, Errol Spence and then Terence Crawford. You can do that if you want. But a lot of people, I believe, in the welterweight division believe Crawford’s gonna have to prove himself.”
Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC) considers himself and Spence (23-0, 20 KOs), the IBF champ, to be the No. 1 and No. 2 fighters in the welterweight division, in that order. Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs), of Omaha, Nebraska, is regularly ranked among the top three fighters on pound-for-pound lists, but Thurman won’t give him too much credit for defeating Horn (18-0-1, 11 KOs) on April 14.
“Jeff Horn is gonna be a nice welcoming party for him at 147,” Thurman said. “But I don’t think a lot of Americans are thinking too highly of that kid right now anyways. He’s still just unexperienced, you know? Manny Pacquiao was old and Manny Pacquiao was a small guy.
“Jeff Horn just had good size, fought hard, fought in his own country and he got the ‘W.’ Some people say he lucked out, but it doesn’t matter how you win. What matters is what the end result is and he’s champion. He should be proud. He worked hard for it. I don’t wanna take nothing away from the kid.”
Crawford, the undisputed 140-pound champion prior to moving up seven pounds last year, might have to wait quite some time before getting a shot at Thurman or Spence. Thurman has made it clear he won’t fight Spence until sometime next year and Spence has repeatedly stated that he intends to face Thurman before Crawford.
“Obviously, we favor Crawford in the fight [against Horn] and we look forward to, you know, Crawford mixing it up at 147,” Thurman said. “But there’s a lot of great welterweights that Crawford could be fighting outside of the top welterweights, which is Keith Thurman and Errol Spence. There is a lot of action at 147 and a lot of great action for all of us. A lot of young, hungry dogs out there.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.