By Chris Williams: Bob Arum says he’s planning on staging the Jeff Horn vs. Terence Crawford fight for April 21 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) will be defending his WBO welterweight title against mandatory challenger Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs).
Arum will be meeting with Crawford this weekend in Atlanta. They’ll obviously talk about the Horn fight. Manny Pacquiao is expected to face the winner of the Horn-Crawford fight. It’s not official that Pacquiao will be taking the winner of the match-up, but it’s extremely likely that’s what he’ll end up with. Pacquiao is rumored to be facing 37-year-old Mike Alvarado in April in a tune-up fight. Alvarado is also signed with Top Rank, like Pacquiao.
Horn, 29, had recently been making noises about fighting Anthony Mundine in a big money fight in Australia, but it looks like Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has him set to face his #1 WBO Crawford next. Arum promotes Crawford and Horn. Arum said that this is a contractual thing, which makes me wonder whether Horn has a choice or not. If Arum already has Horn locked into the Crawford fight without any wiggle room, then that might limit his options. However, it’s hard to believe Horn wouldn’t have known that he had to face Crawford next. He should have known that.
“I promote [Crawford], I don’t own him,” Arum said to the latimes.com. “We still have to discuss the terms.”
It’s unclear whether Horn would be better off vacating the WBO welterweight title and taking on Mundine instead. If Horn can make more money fighting Mundine, he would do well to vacate his WBO trinket to avoid losing the fight to Crawford for possibly less money. Once Horn loses to the 30-year-old Crawford, it’s doubtful that a fight against Mundine will be worth much. It would seem like the smarter thing for Horn to do would be to give up the WBO strap, and then face Mundine.
If Horn wins that fight, then he can always face Crawford as a challenger. The money wouldn’t be quite as good unless his management did a good job negotiating for him. However, with Arum as Horn’s promoter, I don’t know if this is possible. Arum clearly wants Horn to face Crawford next. I don’t know if Arum would be too happy to see Horn vacate and steer around the Crawford fight. You can argue that Crawford needs Horn’s scalp to increase his popularity to turn him into a PPV star for Top Rank. Since Top Rank has been unable to match Crawford against the bigger names in boxing, Horn will have to do. If Horn chooses not to fight Crawford, then would leave Arum without a guy that can take the Nebraska native to the next level. Arum isn’t going to turn Crawford into a PPV star by matching him against his Top Rank stable fighters Konstantin Ponomarev and Mike Alvarado. The U.S boxing fans will totally ignore Crawford fighting those guys. Even Crawford facing 39-year-old, past his prime Pacquiao probably won’t do the job of turning him into a star. The Filipino star has lost a lot of his popularity due to his losses to Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Jeff Horn. The stale match-making that’s been done for Pacquiao since 2012 obviously hasn’t helped either. Pacquiao stopped being matched against interesting fighters after 2012, and instead we’ve seen him put in with guys that the boxing fans haven’t been too thrilled at seeing him fight like Brandon Rios, Chris Algieri, Jessie Vargas, Bradley [in third fight] and Horn.
The Horn-Crawford fight is seen as a slam dunk win for Crawford. It’s not a good fight at all for Horn. He’s a slow welterweight, without average power, and mediocre defensive skills. The main thing that Horn has going for him is his size. He’s a big guy for the welterweight division.