Analyst Joe Tessitore has his say on the forthcoming Terence Crawford v Jeff Horn clash.
Tessitore will be joined by Tim Bradley and Mark Kriegel ringside at the MGM Grand for the fight on Saturday night.
“Timmy (Bradley) and I were down there ringside in Australia. My big takeaway with Jeff Horn — and then Mark and I had the pleasure of calling his title defense in December as well, but my big takeaway of being with him in person in Australia, covering his title fight in December is that this is a very sturdy, rugged, mauling kind of guy who is going to put forth a physical presence.
“He is going to always try to do things on his terms. I completely agree with the champ’s assessment as to what this fight is going to look like early.
“I will add on that although I think it’s easy to fall in line with the camp of saying Terence Crawford, too much skill, too much boxing IQ, too much raw athleticism, and elite status; that this is a guy in Jeff Horn who is very, very tricky and makes a fight out of a fight.
“When we were there ringside, and I know for those who watched back in the States, they felt a certain way about the outcome of that fight last summer, we didn’t have the same feeling sitting there ringside. We saw a mauling, physically imposing, very big welterweight who I almost questioned how he possibly gets to 147 pounds. And because of that, I think this is a fascinating fight, first and foremost. Because when I look at the records next to the two names, I see two zeros in the loss column.
“I don’t think it’s even close. I think Pacquiao in so many ways was the perfect storm for Jeff Horn with everything timing up just right, and that is not the case here in coming to the Vegas fight with Crawford.
“It doesn’t mean in any way I’m dismissing Jeff Horn as a live dog here, as much as I understand that this is the biggest mountain that he could possibly be asked to climb compared to what he just did last July.
“I didn’t get the name of the journeyman writer who just asked that question there, and we appreciate that question, because I think it exposes one of the deep veins that runs through this fight. That is that the Jeff Horn side still looking for and demanding respect, especially stateside.
“This is an undefeated, welterweight champion at the end of the day who conquered a living legend, defended his title, and now has a willingness to come to America and take on our best pound-for-pound fighter.
“That’s what Terence Crawford is. He is American-born, best pound-for-pound fighter, where you have Vasyl Lomachenko number one, as our network does, or whether you go with a guy that’s now a three-time Fighter of the Year between ESPN and the Boxing Writers of America in Terence Crawford.
“If Jeff Horn wins this fight, you know the thing that matters most in this sport? Results. He would have had two signature wins, including a victory over arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
“So, yes, he would be — he would have that respect, and he would be thought of in that way. Even though there will be critics that look at him and see commonplace, ordinary, straightforward, thudding, bullying, not prettiest, not the most athletic, he would be that because the results deem him that.
So, yes, he wins this weekend, that’s what we will say of him and that’s what he will be.
“I think there’s something also interesting with this fight in that we keep talking about how Jeff Horn wants to get the respect here stateside because of how the outcome was viewed by American fight fans.
“But let me tell you something about Jeff Horn, and we’re seeing it true already early on this week with now the promotion of this fight here in the U.S.
“Because last year when he fought on Saturday night and the shift in the business of boxing, the paradigm shift happened, and that fight was on ESPN pre-TV compared to being stuck in the corner of Pay-Per-View the way it normally would be for a decade and a half of Manny Pacquiao, so many mainstream sports fans experienced Jeff Horn’s Rocky Balboa moment.
“So there was buzz. All you have to say to somebody now is, hey, Jeff Horn, the guy who beat Pacquiao last summer is fighting Bud Crawford, they know instantly who Jeff Horn is. Respect, different story. Awareness, very high.”