By David Robinett at ringside
Photos: Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Formerly undisputed jr welterweight champion Terence “Bud” Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) stepped up to welterweight to dethrone WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn (18-1-1, 12 KOs) by ninth round TKO on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. Crawford quickly figured out how to take Horn out of his game. After dominating the fight, he floored Horn in round nine and got a referee’s stoppage with his follow up barrage. Time was 2:33.
Coming into the fight one of the main storylines was whether the naturally bigger Horn could use his size to mitigate Crawford’s superior boxing skills. That turned out not to be the case, as Crawford appeared to have no problems with the higher weight class. After a tentative few early rounds, with both fighters having some moments of success, Crawford began to consistently time Horn coming forward and catch him with big shots, particularly with the left hand. When Horn would stand in one place for too long, Crawford would pop him with his right jab from the southpaw stance.
Horn became more reckless as the fight progressed, desperate to find a way to close the distance with Crawford, but lunging in rather than trying to work in behind his jab, making an easy target for Crawford to time. Crawford’s hands dropped lower and lower in the middle rounds as it became clear he had figured Horn out and started potshotting Horn at will.
Round eight was the beginning of the end for Horn, when a Crawford left hand stopped Horn in his tracks. Crawford, like a saltwater crocodile sensing wounded prey, switched into a higher gear, unleashing a two-handed attack that had Horn in serious trouble and undoubtedly relieving to hear the bell ending the round. However round nine was more of the same, culminating in Horn going down from a grazing left hook by Crawford after a series of right hands softened him up. Horn was only down briefly, but when the action resumed Crawford closed the show with a flourish, launching a sustained attack that trapped Horn against the ropes before referee Robert Byrd jumped in to save the game but overmatched Australian at 2:33 of round nine.
With the win, Crawford is immediately in the mix for a series of high profile welterweight matchups with fighters like Errol Spence, Keith Thurman, and the winner of Shawn Porter vs. Danny Garcia.