PEOPLE have been writing Jeff Horn off his entire career — and it’s about time he was given some respect.
Every step he has made in his fight career, has come with doubters.
The Manny Pacquiao camp tried to discredit his famous victory over the Filipino legend at Suncorp Stadium to save their marketability.
Roy Jones did the same when he was crushed by Danny Green.
It’s what you do when you underestimate your opponent and pay the price.
Both Jones and Pacquiao cried foul, blaming those “corrupt Aussies”, when the only unjust thing was they way both prepared for the fight.
They overlooked the man in front of them and it cost them.
The Pacquiao fight was a close fight, but not a robbery. Good judges had no complaints, even Pacquiao agreed, at least in the ring, following the decision.
Since his victory, Horn has unjustly had an asterisk placed against him and his title win has been considered a nuisance, rather than the unearthing of a genuine star.
Horn’s win disrupted grand plans and future fights for Pacquiao and other Bob Arum managed stars.
As champion, rather than dictate terms, Horn has been toyed with.
The Pacquiao rematch was next on the cards, and then it wasn’t. It was going to be held in Brisbane, then it wasn’t.
Then it was the Philippines’, then the United States, then Pacquiao was going to be on the undercard, and hopefully fight the Horn-Crawford winner next. It’s hard to keep up sometimes.
All the while Horn kept his head down and jumped when Bob Arum and Top Rank told him too.
Horn had every right to have put his feet up, and spend time with his first child, Isabelle, born in December. Instead he’s been training and has had almost two full fights camps in preparation for Crawford.
Originally scheduled for April 14, the fight was postponed after Crawford suffered a hand injury.
In a further sign of disrespect, the two will fight for Horn’s WBO Welterweight title this Sunday, a date that clashes with UFC 225, headlined by Australian Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.
That decision will vastly hurt the pay packet of Horn, with Australian pay-per view sales to take a significant hit. That’s not to say Horn isn’t a draw but asking the public to shell out $50 for both fights, only the most ardent fans will do so.
The Queenslander had every right to say the date didn’t work for him. But he didn’t.
Horn doesn’t make excuses. He just gets back to work. Another obstacle to overcome.
Crawford will be the toughest fight of his career, tougher than Pacquiao. At 32-0, his resume is impressive, but lacking any real big names.
Crawford is now Top Rank’s Golden Goose, a man who will lead their new TV deal with ESPN and is earmarked for the top of the pound for pound tree.
A future fight with Errol Spence Jr is already being widely discussed, as if victory over Horn is a sure thing.
Just like Pacquiao, the Horn fight is considered step one, on a wider, long term plan.
Crawford has moved up a division, handed a world title shot and looks set for big fights to come.
Few Stateside see Horn pulling off another upset. Many still can’t get his name right. Most credit the Pacquiao victory as “right place, right time” against an ageing champion.
But it’s time people give Horn the credit he deserves.
Jeff Horn won a Queensland amateur title, after just one fight, and an unofficial one at that.
He followed it up with an Australian title. Went to the Olympics, and followed that with a legit World Title win, over a Hall-of-Famer, at the first time of asking.
Jeff Horn has made a habit of proving people wrong.
Since defeating Pacquiao, he has silently gone about his work. The Crawford fight will be his third in a 11-month period.
Horn is sharp, supremely fit and rightfully has a chip on his shoulder. He’s big for a welterweight, has great endurance and has power in his shots. The most remarkable asset though is his composure on the big stage.
The world of boxing, and the Australian public may not appreciate him for the world class fighter he is. But come Sunday, win or lose, they will respect him.
The thing is, Horn is a winner, even when no one gives him a hope, he finds a way.
A win on Sunday is no guarantee, but should his hand get raised in Las Vegas, it’s time the boxing world recognised his talent.
Then things can get done on Jeff Horn’s terms.