By John J. Raspanti
Terence Crawford’s smile is innocent, but his boxing ability is fierce.
The new WBO welterweight champion put a country whuppin on former champ Jeff Horn, stopping the Aussie native in nine rounds at the MGM Grand Arena last night in Las Vegas, NV.
Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) who usually switches back and forth between orthodox and southpaw, started the bout as a lefty and maintained that stance throughout.
In most of the rounds he circled to his left, peppering the slower Horn (18-1-1, 12 KOs) with punches. Both fighters landed hard right hands in the opening stanza. Crawford connected with crisp jabs and a fine uppercut in rounds two and three. He also found Horn with a fast combination upstairs.
His edge in hand and foot speed was obvious.
Horn bulled forward, pushing Crawford into the ropes. He landed another right, but Crawford shook it off, and, as if annoyed, cracked Horn with more shots. Horn’s goal was to impose his apparent edge in strength on Crawford, but it never happened as Crawford laced him with inside blows.
As each round progressed, Crawford,30, opened up a little more, catching the onrushing Horn with sharp punches to the head and body. Horn,29, tried to feint more in round six. His only chance to starve off the inevitability of the bout was to catch Crawford with a brain jarring punch.
Crawford,a former two division world champion, wasn’t about to let that happen.
He rattled Horn with more shots to the jaw. The former teacher’s chin is solid. He absorbed each blow and came back aggressively, but Crawford made him pay.
Crawford had won every round. Horn must have sensed the end was near. He decided to up the ante in round eight. He swung for the fences and missed.
Seconds later, Crawford found Horn with a cracking left hook.
A big right backed Horn into the ropes. It was target practice time. Crawford followed up with a blistering combination that wobbled Horn. A straight left at the bell buckled his knees.
Crawford went for the kill in round nine. Horn was fighting on courage, and courage alone. Crawford stepped in and smashed his fading opponent with an overhand left.
Horn slide to the canvas. He gamely got up and nodded to referee Robert Byrd like a man who knew the end was near. Crawford tattooed him with more vicious shots until referee Byrd stepped in and waved off the massacre.
The time was 2:33 of round nine.
“I’d like to dedicate this fight to my coach,” said Crawford. “Like I told y’all before, I’m strong. I had to go in there and show you.”
“He’s a very good boxer,” said Horn. “I wish I could have continued.”
Horn has nothing to be ashamed of. He was in there with a more talented and skillfull fighter. Crawford wants to fight all the top welterweights.
“We here. Like I said, my power carried up," Crawford said. "You know, my physicality. I got stronger. We here.”
Yes he is.