We’ve got a really nice boxing weekend ahead of us, but the biggest fight is the showdown between Terence “Bud” Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) and Jeff “The Hornet” Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) on ESPN+ at 9:30 p.m. ET Saturday. The two face off for the WBO welterweight title that Horn won from Manny Pacquiao in July of 2017.
By Malik Smith
Arguably the best active American boxer — he ranks third behind Gennady Golovkin and Vasiliy Lomachenko in The Ring’s pound-for-pound rankings — Crawford is seeking a new challenge by moving up to the welterweight division.
Crawford cleaned out the junior-welterweight ranks in dramatic style with a third-round knockout of Julius Indongo last summer to become the first undisputed champion to hold four belts since Jermain Taylor in 2005.
Crawford is the type of guy who likes to make an impression on the big stage, and his power makes him dangerous against any opponent. His past 10 bouts have all been world title fights, and he’s 10-0 with seven stoppage wins. Five of his opponents over that span are current or former world champions, so he has seen the best competition at each level.
Defensively, he’s nearly impossible to hit lately. Crawford’s past three opponents each landed fewer than 20% of their punches against him.
By Michael Leboff
Horn is an interesting dude, and that’s also the best way to describe the judging in the biggest win of the Aussie’s career — a unanimous decision over Pacquiao 11 months ago.
In that fight, Horn was outclassed to the point that the ref came over to him in his corner and threatened to stop the fight if he didn’t show something soon. And yet, the judges gave him the nod. I’m sure that the fact that the fight took place in Horn’s hometown of Brisbane, Australia, had nothing to do with the corrupt scorecards.
Anywho, while we all tend to focus on the shady scoring, the 30-year-old did show some good things in that fight. Horn’s chin and durability shone noticeable, and he did come alive in the later rounds.
I came away from the Pacquiao fight impressed with Horn’s ability to hang in there, and that has opened up a betting opportunity.
Barring something crazy, Crawford should win this match going away, but I don’t think there’s any value on either fighter at their current market prices (Crawford -800/Horn +550). However, I think there is value in betting the Total Rounds.
As I said before, Horn’s beard is getting a lot of respect, but there’s more than one way to close the curtains on a fight. As Malik said, Crawford’s a nearly flawless defender, and I think that will frustrate and tire Horn to the point that he will be vulnerable to punishment and will likely be smothered by Crawford’s relentless attack.
He might not get put to sleep, but I don’t see Horn hanging around in this fight past the midway point of the 10th round. I like the under 9.5 rounds and would take it even if it drops to 8.5. — Michael Leboff
I agree that the value here is on the rounds, but I’m actually going over 9.5 for this one. Yes, Horn is overmatched against one of the best athletes in the sport, and, no, he hasn’t proven he can win at this level in his past two fights.
What he has shown, however, is that he can hang in there with a great fighter and muddy the waters when necessary. What he lacks in skill, he makes up for in grit. I think he makes it just tough enough on Crawford to push the fight to a decision, albeit a lopsided one. — Malik Smith