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Crawford vs. Horn: Fight week conference call



BOB ARUM: I want to welcome you all to this conference call, and I’m looking forward to a great fight on Saturday night. Jeff Horn has shown what a great fighter he is and what a strong athlete everybody – 5 million people in the United States – say when they watched his fight with Manny Pacquiao, and he is not coming to just make an appearance. He is coming to defend his title, and he is a strong and determined boxer. I am looking forward to a great fight.

 

GLENN RUSHTON (Trainer, Jeff Horn): We are really looking forward to the fight and we obviously appreciate everything that Top Rank has done to make this fight happen. It’s a brilliant fight between two unbeaten fighters. These two are both 30 years of age, both in their prime and it’s going to be a phenomenal fight on Saturday night when two unbeaten forces collide here. It’s going to be exciting. We are looking forward to the fight very much, and we’re ready.

 

JEFF HORN: I’ve been working very hard in the preparation for this fight. It has been a long preparation, and I think that’s worked wonders for us. We’ve had pretty much double prep. I am feeling super fit, in the best shape that I have been for any fight in the past. Right now, we are just training - tapering down for the fight, sharpening up the skills and things - and getting ready for a big, massive fight here in Vegas.

How hard was it to convince you to come to the United States to make this fight as opposed to home where you had your fight with Pacquiao and other professional fights?

 

JEFF HORN: It wasn’t that hard, I guess. The money was right for this fight. I was always thinking that I was going to go to America anyway and have a fight, so why not now? It’s not like we were trying to stay in just Australia. We know we need to fight all around the world to build my reputation.

 

GLENN RUSHTON: It wasn’t that at all. Jeff has always traveled all around the world. As an amateur, he fought all over the world, and as a professional, he has gone to New Zealand to fight. We are used to traveling. We know how to travel. We can adapt quickly in the different time zones, so for us, it’s not a problem. We anticipated it would take us three or four days to settle in properly to get back to his very best. Now he is back to his very best. We are good to go come Saturday night, and it going to be a heck of a fight.

When did you arrive?

GLENN RUSHTON: We arrived last Wednesday.

Would your fight against Pacquiao still be the biggest win of your career if you win Saturday night? Or would a Crawford win?

JEFF HORN: They are both massive fights in my mind. It is hard to split them apart. The Pacquiao fight was a massive win in a full stadium in my hometown and it is a very difficult one to beat in my mind just because of what it was worth to me as well. It has always been a dream to come over to America to fight in one of these massive casinos in Las Vegas and put on a massive show.

Bob, can you give me an idea of what the winner of this fight does in a welterweight division stocked with talented guys?

BOB ARUM: The welterweight division has been, going back to the 80s, with Sugar Ray Leonard and Tommy Hearns, a top division. Now there are a lot of great welterweights out there. Two of them are fighting on Saturday, and there’s Errol Spence, who is a terrific fighter, {Keith} Thurman, {Shawn} Porter and {Danny} Garcia, and there is a guy that you should be looking at also who will be on the card. He is recovering from this incident where he was shot in the knee and he is coming along really strong – Jose Benavidez – and he may be ready to fight the winner, which we will see. There is Carlos Adames who fought on the May 12 card with Lomachenko and Linares in the co-feature, and he would be available to fight the winner. So we are not lacking for talent in the welterweight division. There is {Egidijus} Kavaliauskas – the undefeated Lithuanian fighter. There are a lot of good, good welterweight fighters.

Bob, you didn’t even mention Pacquiao…

BOB ARUM: There is Manny Pacquiao (laughing), well, he is more of a politician, but he is a fighter, I guess.

Do you believe you will have a size advantage since Terence will be coming up from junior welterweight?

GLENN RUSHTON: Personally, I do not believe we will have this huge size advantage that everybody is saying. We do have a one-inch height advantage, and that is something Terence cannot change. I would not be surprised, and I do expect Terence to come in about the same size as Jeff. What we will have is the advantage of having been consistently fighting welterweights since we started. But for Terence, this is the first step up for him. We are used to having a strength advantage rather than a size advantage coming into the fight. That is my opinion, since I think Terence will come in here a lot bigger than a lot of people think so there will not be an incredible size advantage. And Jeff is incredibly strong.

The Pacquiao fight, there were not Australian judges and this fight there is one Australian judge. Do you feel you can win a fight here against Crawford?

JEFF HORN: I should be able to win a decision in America. If they are judging fairly and I am throwing more punches and landing more punches, then the judges should be seeing that and scoring me the rounds. The judges will be watching Terence Crawford and watching me as well. That can be the tricky part with judging if you try and watch two guys – you normally can put your eye on one guy and see what he’s doing. It will come down to the exchanges between me and Crawford and who they are watching.

Glenn, can you comment on that as well?

 

GLENN RUSHTON: I believe that we can win a decision I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. I do believe that the judges all around the world are very good. Judges are incredibly competent, and they do their very best to arrive at an accurate round-by-round verdict. So, we should not have a problem with the fighters, but I do hope that {referee Robert} Byrd lets the fighters fight because the people want to see a great, entertaining fight. We don’t want the fight stopped every second that the fighters get close. We’d like to see the fighters fight freely, and if so, it’s going to be an incredible fight on Saturday night. That’s all we hope for, and we don’t foresee any problems from any of the officials.

For many fighters, it takes a lot of hard work to get to the top then they have to find another level to stay there. Can you tell me what that’s like?

JEFF HORN: It has definitely been a hard road to get to where I am. I had to fight very hard. The mindset is that I am coming in as an underdog even though I am a world champion. I have had to fight some messy fights and when I can start showing myself to everyone around the world is when I can start thinking differently.

How tough is it to train for a guy like Crawford who can switch styles and stances throughout the fight?

JEFF HORN: Crawford can fight any style and switch positions. It is a little bit easier to have a southpaw that you just chase around the whole time, whereas Crawford is switching back and forth all the time. We can have orthodox and southpaws in sparring as with any type of fighter that may not have the skills, but will have that style that can stop, move and switch and bang you on the head.

How do you prepare yourself for the adjustments that Crawford makes throughout the fight?

JEFF HORN: I have just prepared myself my whole career to fight in a way that the other guy doesn’t know what you’re doing. I’m hoping he can’t figure me out throughout this whole fight because what if I change up and hopefully he’s still trying to figure me out in round 12? That’s the plan, to keep changing things up and he can adjust and try to figure out what I’m doing.

How do you feel about being a heavy underdog?

JEFF HORN: I don’t think about the underdog status. I had that before in the Manny Pacquiao fight. I will do what I did for that fight and that is not worry about that and just worry about what I’m going to do in there and make a fight of it and be competitive and win. Just keep thinking along those lines.

Many people think this should be on ESPN TV instead of the app – ESPN+. Looking back to the Pacquiao fight where millions watched. What do you say to them?

BOB ARUM: Well, you can’t hold back the future and the future is direct to consumer. The future is ESPN+, where I believe in the next 10 to 20 years everyone will be watching their entertainment on direct to consumer platforms. Like Netflix in entertainment, ESPN+ will be the place for sports in abundance. To fans now in the United States and around the world, it is the future. Get used to it. Jeff Horn and Terence Crawford will go down in history as the two fighters who are the first to fight in this direct to consumer sports entertainment space.

 

Did you doubt the injury to Terence Crawford that delayed this fight that was scheduled for April?

JEFF HORN: It was frustrating at the time because I was in hard training and it was only a few weeks out and it was cancelled, and it was frustrating because I knew I had to do that hard training all over again. I didn’t see any evidence that there was any damage, so it may have been just a tactic. So, I had to start over again.

The training camp for Pacquiao must have been very difficult – would you say that this training camp was tougher? Will you try to press him?

JEFF HORN: I only train for the fight preparation that I get pushed for from Glenn, and he is only going to push me as hard as he needs to push me. I guess I learned from that preparation how to push my body really hard and this preparation was technically the hardest. I have pushed my body and that’s why I feel like I am in super condition. I have had two preparations on top of each other for this fight.

Were you surprised that Pacquiao didn’t pursue harder trying to get you back in the ring for a rematch?

GLENN RUSHTON: Personally, I looked at it like this. We wanted the rematch and the only reason we wanted the rematch was because I wanted Jeff to be the only guy to beat Manny Pacquiao twice, and I knew he would beat him. He beat him measurably in that first fight and he was in great physical condition, and I knew Jeff would win that fight after all the people complaining about the decision. On the other hand, I felt for Manny Pacquiao and he is a legend, and if I was Pacquiao’s trainer, I would tell him not to fight Jeff Horn again. Jeff will be bigger, stronger, younger and better – you can’t beat him.

 

JEFF HORN: It was a tough first fight and I do think I learned a lot from that, and I won even though they thought they got the decision. We had many people watch the fight again and took out the commentary and they can see that I won the fight so there are no complaints there. I think I would do better the second time against him, and I think he knows that as well.

Bob, were you surprised he was not more adamant about doing it again?

BOB ARUM: Well, for whatever reason, he didn’t want the fight again. I can’t speculate at the reason. Glenn has said what he believes the reason is. Jeff said the same thing. Maybe it was the reason or maybe it was something else. I couldn’t get him to commit to a rematch and it’s as simple as that.


The Terence Crawford Portion of the Call Begins…
 
BOB ARUM:  Terence Crawford in my mind is the superstar in boxing. He dominated as a lightweight champion, won all of the belts as a junior welterweight champion and now he goes up to fight the welterweights. The first step is Jeff Horn, who is a big, strong welterweight from Australia, and Terence believes he is up for the challenge, and every obstacle that Terence has faced he has overcome. He is in my mind like one of the throwback fighters to the 80s. We compare him to the great Sugar Ray Leonard, and I think the skill and artistry of Terence in the ring is something to see and I look forward to his great performance on Saturday night against a tough, young welterweight in Jeff Horn.

TERENCE CRAWFORD:  Preparation is going A-1. We had a tough training camp. We took no shortcuts. We got a little stronger and are ready to put on a performance on Saturday.
 
RED SPIKES (Assistant Trainer, Crawford):  I have been with Terence throughout his maturation as a professional boxer, and I believe we have not seen the best of Terence yet.  You all should look forward to seeing him on Saturday night.

How anxious are you too get in the ring after the long layoff?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD: I am real anxious, but it is a process, you know. I am more relaxed and focused more than anything because I know the day will come. I am just sitting back waiting for my moment to come on Saturday.

Any special sparring since this is your welterweight debut?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD: Well, like I said, we are going to make our adjustments in the ring during the fight. He is nothing that I haven’t faced before in the ring. The only thing we have to focus on is him using his head and his elbows.
 
How does fighting on ESPN+ affect you?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD: ESPN has faith in me being the next big star. They are putting me in this big platform that’s going to take off here. What better way to kick ESPN+ off than by putting one of the top pound-for-pound fighters on there? I am delighted to be in this predicament right now. I’m just ready to go out there and fight.

You are up against Jeff Horn, the man the beat Pacquiao. What does this mean to you?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  It means a lot.  After I capture the WBO title, I am going to be a three-weight division champion. I am going to beat the man that beat Pacquiao and my career is going to move forward.

Jeff doesn’t think he will have a size or weight advantage on Saturday night.  What is your perspective on that?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  I don’t know, I have never seen the guy. I have never seen him personally. I don’t know how much he hydrates or whatnot, and you know like I said before, it does not matter.

Do you have an idea of what you will come in yet?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD: Not yet. I haven’t weighed in at 147 and hydrated back up to my natural fight weight. I really don’t know yet.
 
Earlier, Glenn Rushton said he hope the referee lets the fighters fight. They seem to want to allow Jeff to do some of the things he normally does. What is your perspective on that?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD: He wants Robert Byrd to let him head butt and hold and use his elbows? I just laugh at it. I don’t know. I don’t care.

He said, ‘Jeff doesn’t head butt’ – that was an exact quote…
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the tactics that he uses in the ring, but that’s his word on how his fighter fights in the ring. Of course, he is going to back his fighter up on whatever his fighter is doing in the ring.
 
Have you trained differently since it’s almost been a year since your last fight and also for the move up to welterweight?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  No, not at all. We just sharpened up the tools and got our rounds in and getting back in the groove. Come fight night, it will almost be a year since I last fought, and I feel like that’s not going to be a big factor. I feel like I’m sharp right now and I will be ready to go.

Is there anything during the last year you have done that you may not have done in the past?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD: No, not at all, even though I am not fighting, I am doing something active.

In the past when your opponents talk trash they would end up paying for it. Has Jeff Horn gotten to that place yet?

TERENCE CRAWFORD:  Of course, of course, no doubt. I’m just tired of hearing all of their excuses on gloves and the referee. You can only hear so much, and I’m just ready to go out there and shut him up.
 
Horn’s trainer mentioned that Gamboa hit you with some good shots that may have stunned you and that was at 135 and he feels that Horn at 147 can do some damage.
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  Everybody keeps resorting back to the Gamboa fight. If you look at the Gamboa fight, that was in 2014, and it’s 2018 right now. They can’t label me as being hurt. I felt like I went in that fight, and I made an error in that fight and he made me respect it. It’s not like I didn’t learn from that moment. It hasn’t happened since, so if they want to go back to that Gamboa moment, then so be it.

Since you’re moving up in weight, is camp easier since you don’t have to cut as much weight?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD: It’s always the same. Camp is never easy. If camp is ever easy, then your trainer is doing something wrong. You’ve got to have friction. You got to have those arguments. Those days when your coaches are getting on your nerves and you don’t want to do something and they just make you do it… so camp should never be easy.

Tell us about living in Colorado Springs.
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD: It’s real special having training camp in Colorado Springs. The atmosphere and the people and the oxygen level. The whole thing around Colorado is good. The people around there are so sweet and generous. I have family in Denver. It is peaceful – I don’t have a lot of people running up to me or bothering me. I don’t have to worry about any distractions. I bought a house out there this year. I should have bought a house out there before, but I was being arrogant. It’s a spot where I will take my kids when I’m not even in training and go on a vacation just to get away.

Is this move different than moving up from lightweight to junior welterweight?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD: I feel like I’m in the same boat right now as when I was coming up in weight. Thomas Dulorme was a 147-pounder and he came down in weight to fight me for the title and everybody was saying he was this big, strong puncher and saying that I was too small. But I went for it and I prevailed, and I feel like I’m in the same predicament when I was moving up from 135 to 140.

Do you worry about moving up to the next weight division?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD: I just try to get the victory. I need to go in there and be focused and not overconfident and do what I’ve got to do to get the job done.
 
Was it frustrating to have to stop then resume camp due to your injury?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD: Actually, I wasn’t frustrated. I had an injury, so I’m not going to go in there not 100 percent healthy with no right hand and handicap myself.
 
What can the fans expect to see from you at 147 that may be different than at 140?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD:  I am going to be stronger. I am going to be faster. My boxing ability and my IQ are already there. I’m going to be a lot stronger. Will he be ready is a key factor. My speed is still there. My power is better. I am only going to keep getting stronger and stronger. I am going to be ready, and come Saturday, I will answer all of the questions.
 
What’s your message to the young kids?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD: Stay positive and keep being around positive people. Have some dreams and goals out there and pursue them and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t be what you want to be.
 
How long do you plan to fight?
 
TERENCE CRAWFORD: Right now, I am focusing on building my brand on things outside of boxing, so I don’t have to box forever, but right now, my life is boxing and I can’t think about retirement. Retirement isn’t on my mind right now. I just want to be great right now.



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