Unbeaten Terence Crawford punished Jeff Horn en route to a ninth-round technical knockout on Saturday to seize the Australian's World Boxing Organization welterweight world title. Crawford's previous 10 opponents landed 7 per round. His courage has never been in doubt, and that hasn't changed.
At one stage Crawford made a play to grab Horn's world title belt but Horn wouldn't let go. "He got hit harder by Pacquiao". "We thought the ones given to us were calibrated correctly". It will be a hard road. "Terence would just get that odd shot, just that little bit more". Signs of carnage were just about everywhere.But in the end, there was only one victor. The American is also 30 but, unlike Pacquiao, he looked to be so on top of his game - in his absolute prime - that he seems unlikely to get any worse any time soon.
Terence Crawford, left, knocks Jeff Horn, of Australia, off his balance during their welterweight title boxing match, Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Las Vegas. If he is not now the best boxer on the planet, he is certainly in the conversation.
Crawford is guaranteed $3 million, while Horn is guaranteed $1.25 million. Before his last two fights against Manny Pacquiao and Gary Corcoran, he has looked gaunt in the face at the weigh-in after dropping multiple kilos on the day. He has captured people's imagination well beyond the ring. "We've been out of the ring for a long time and we're happy to be back".
So where would he go from here? By the 9th, Horn was busted up and a visibly beaten man. Crawford began to walk down the rugged champion by the second half of the fight, landing with greater regularity.
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The first round was fairly even. While Horn was still on his feet and attempting to fight back, it was definitely the correct decision. While Crawford seemed ambitious in the post-fight interview to step in with the best 147 pounders in the world, he would be wise to consider fighting the victor of Danny Garcia-Shawn Porter prior to going up against a puncher like Spence, JR. It's the highest praise I can give a fighter, a welterweight, that he reminds me of Sugar Ray Leonard. "I'm sure my wife Jo is glad he stopped it when he did". The Americans are doing everything they can to rattle Horn.
Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) may have an unblemished record, but so does his opponent on Saturday night in Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs). "I'm disappointed but not hurt at all". "You know, y'all didn't believe me and I was way stronger than him".
"I've been wearing them gloves all my career and this is the first time I've had anybody complain about them". "He's a classy fighter who fought a great fight".
That was a forlorn hope. The fight was never close, as Crawford staggered Horn with a straight left hand from a southpaw stance nearly immediately, setting the tone for a night where Horn's toughness and courage would be commended but his ring skills wouldn't.
RON REED has spent more than 50 years as a sportswriter or sports editor, mainly at The Herald and Herald Sun.