Jeff Horn vs Terence Crawford: Gloves called into question

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JEFF Horn’s corner team have demanded a thorough inspection of Terence Crawford’s controversial and “dangerous’’ horsehair gloves ahead of what is expected to be a savage firefight in Las Vegas tomorrow for the Brisbane boxer’s world welterweight title.

Following today’s dramatic weigh-in when Horn blamed “dodgy scales’’ after needing three attempts to make the welterweight limit of 66.68kg, his team will closely inspect Crawford’s weapons of war before what could be the greatest moment ever for an Australian fighter.

Horn relaxed last night playing poker with his corner team knowing the stakes are huge today and that Crawford has turned into something like the cartoon villain Nasty Canasta.

One of the fight promoters Brad Jacobs, the chief operating officer for Top Rank, declared “Of course we want Crawford to win’’ and with that admission team Horn are manning the battle stations.

The Aussie contingent is ready for their first fight of the day hours before the World Boxing Organization title bout kicks off tomorrow morning (Aust time) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena before an expected crowd of 10,000.

Horn’s strength and conditioning coach Dundee Kim, a former Korean soldier, says he will carefully scrutinise Crawford’s gloves to make sure that there are no irregularities in the stitching or protruding laces that can cut like a scalpel.

“The Americans are doing some very strange things to Jeff,’’ Kim said.

“The weigh-in was very suspicious. We do not want to give them any more ammunition to cause him damage.’’

While Horn was on the scales, Crawford’s huge trainer Brian McIntyre derided the world champ as amateurish for being overweight at his first two attempts.

He says Crawford, who has come up in weight after being world champ at 61kg and 63.5kg had grown stronger but retained his speed at welterweight.

“His timing, his speed will shock Horn,’’ McIntyre said.

“We’ve seen Jeff Horn rocked, we’ve seen Jeff Horn knocked down, you ain’t seen that with Terence.’’

Horn expects his cut-man Stephen Edwards to be working overtime as the thinly-padded gloves cause more cuts and abrasions than the more popular gloves with foam padding. Edwards has consulted with North Queensland Cowboys players including Jason Taumalolo, Gavin Cooper and Jonathan Thurston over the way they treat cuts suffered on the rugby league field.

“The horsehair gloves definitely make it a more dangerous fight,’’ said Horn, who has undergone intense martial arts exercises to make his fists rock hard in readiness to use them.

“There’s more chance of a cut, more chance of a knockdown but I’m the heavier puncher so Crawford should be very worried. He wanted to fight in these gloves so that’s what he gets.’’

Crawford said he would wear the gloves despite suffering his own right hand injury in the lead up to the fight.

He said he could not understand Horn’s promoter Dean Lonergan trying to have them banned in the lead up to the fight.

“He’s the bigger, stronger guy, I’m the smaller guy, remember? So why would he be complaining about anything if I’m such a pussy about my hand?” Crawford said.

“I’ve been wearing them gloves all my career and this is the first time I’ve had anybody complain about them. You’re entitled to wear the same gloves.

“You’re the bigger, stronger guy, remember? You’re going to knock me out, that gives you a better chance of knocking me out.”

That’s what Horn is banking on.

Glenn Rushton said the thinner gloves gave Horn even more chance of ending the fight early and that despite the drama over yesterday’s weigh-in, Horn was ready to create history.

“At the end of the day the problem with the scales doesn’t mean anything because we are ready for the fight and nothing will derail us,’’ Rushton said. “We are ready for the fight of our life and Terence better be ready, too, because we mean business.

“Jeff is very calm. He doesn’t look gaunt like he has for other fights. Crawford looked a little smug today but that will all be gone by round one.’’

Rushton said Horn would be a little over 70kg after rehydrating before the fight.

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