First Crawford, then the world
TERENCE Crawford once survived a single gunshot wound to the head but Jeff Horn showed he has weapons in both hands ahead of their world welterweight title fight in Las Vegas on Sunday.
'The Hornet' revealed exclusively to The Courier-Mail that he has five good years ahead of him as world champ and is already looking at becoming one of the all-time greats by beating all the top challengers at welterweight and facing the likes of Mexican junior-middleweight Canelo Alvarez.
In his first fight in glittering Las Vegas, Horn has found a whole new world; shining, shimmering and splendid.
"I've always said I wanted to retire by the time I'm 35 and time flies by so fast those five years will probably come around pretty quick,'' Horn said.
"My dream when I set out was to become a world champion but now that is just the start. I've always wanted to challenge myself in the sport and be the very best I can be.
"Outside of boxing I don't like fighting at all and I avoid physical confrontations at all costs. But boxing is something I'm good at and I am a very competitive person so if you put me into a game situation I always want to win.
"I want to go as far as I possibly can in boxing and remain world champ until I retire. I've watched all the good fighters around my weight class and I'm confident I can beat any of them.
"Bring them all on, I say, because I want to make the most money I can while I can and be remembered as someone who would take on the toughest challenges.''
Horn was in devastating form, three days after jet lag and the searing heat inside the antiquated Top Rank gym in Las Vegas knocked him around after his arrival from Brisbane on Wednesday.
He is now training at the air conditioned hi-tech Vegas gym run by Kiwi Olympic silver medallist Kevin Barry and the difference in his performance was startling.
Horn went through 12 rounds on the heavy punching bag, showing greater speed, power and movement than for any fight previously. He then went through a session on the punching pads with trainer Glenn Rushton and a series of drills with strength and conditioning guru Dundee Kim, sharpening his reflexes by using purple foam swimming pool "noodles'' like fighting clubs.
Kim said Horn's short punches and physical strength had improved dramatically in the 12 months since he beat Manny Pacquiao at Suncorp Stadium and that while his booming overhand right and sizzling left hook were his hardest punches "everything he throws is a weapon''.
Crawford was shot in the head by a gangster in 2008 and Kim says he will get another huge shock when Horn hits him on the chin.
Horn has had three pairs of the controversial horsehair gloves favoured by heavy hitters shipped to 'Sin City' in readiness in case Crawford decides to use his own horsehair gloves as expected.
"Jeff will knock Crawford out, maybe even early,'' Kim said. "Crawford has never fought anyone as big and strong as Jeff. Jeff will push him around and hurt him in close. Really hurt him.''
Coach Rushton, who taught Horn to throw his first proper punch 12 years ago, agrees, saying that Horn was "salivating'' at the chance to go toe to toe with Crawford, who is unbeaten in the last 10 years and 32 pro fights.
"We are not going to do anything dirty or illegal but after a few tough days in the heat, Jeff has just done a blistering workout and we're back with a bang,'' Rushton said.
"Crawford is a great boxer but he's never been down in the trenches with anyone who is as fit and as hungry and strong as our fighter. Jeff has a very tight grip on that world championship belt.''
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