Horn’s plea: Just let us fight
JEFF Horn's trainer Glenn Rushton will seek an urgent meeting with Las Vegas referee Robert Byrd ahead of Sunday's world welterweight title fight with Terence Crawford.
Although American promoter Bob Arum was adamant yesterday (Monday) that Horn and Crawford would fight on a level playing field, Rushton wants to ensure Byrd allows Horn to fight with his rugged close-combat style and does not let the fleet-footed Crawford hold-on tightly or constantly back-pedal out of danger.
"We just want a fair fight,'' said Rushton, the martial arts expert who taught Horn to throw his first punch 12 years ago.
"We don't want the situation where every time Jeff gets close to throw punches, the referee stops him from doing what he does so well.''
Crawford has a long-term deal with promoter Bob Arum while Horn becomes a free agent after this bout.
Arum has promoted the biggest fights of all time since the Muhammad Ali days 50 years ago and it is in his interests to have Crawford win.
As Horn yesterday continued to say he was being made to feel like a "pawn'' in a game set up for a Crawford victory, Arum assured The Courier-Mail: "Well, we don't have to engage in conspiracy theories.
"The facts are that yes, this is our last fight with Jeff Horn. We had him with Pacquiao and then a defence against Gary Corcoran and now his mandatory fight with Terence Crawford with whom we have a long-term contract.
"But I am absolutely sure that everything inside the ring will be absolutely neutral.''
Arum said the fears of Aussie great Jeff Fenech that Horn could fall victim to the often controversial Las Vegas judging as Fenech did in 1991 were "ridiculous''.
Fenech was denied a fourth world title when his fight with Azumah Nelson was declared a draw and the setback broke him mentally. He was never the same fighter again.
But Arum said that for Sunday's fight at the MGM Grand Casino: "You've got an American judge (Burt Clements), an Australian judge (Adam Height from Brisbane) who is certainly not going to be biased and an Italian judge (Guido Cavalleri) who couldn't care less which fighter wins.
"The idea that the judges will be biased against Horn is just ignorance.
"Jeff's trainer Glenn Rushton quite rightly asked for the officials to be balanced. The deserved winner will get the decision.''
Arum said he would try to sign Horn to a long-term contract if Horn won the fight and that he could offer him great media exposure and "tremendous monetary rewards'', though Horn said it would take "an awful lot'' to get him to join the American camp.
"At the moment they are not doing anything for me,'' Horn said. I feel very much like the outsider here rather than the world champion.''
Crawford is an overwhelming favourite in the betting markets.
Arum said he was surprised that Horn was given second billing on the "Crawford-Horn'' fight posters and nationwide advertising for the fight but that it was a decision made by the telecasters, ESPN, because Crawford was an American and better known in the United States.
He said he was anticipating a thrilling battle on Sunday.
"If it's a boxing match Crawford wins, if it becomes a brawl then maybe it shifts to Horn. He is the bigger, stronger guy who has to use those assets to dominate the smaller fighter. Can Horn do it? We'll find out.''
Jeff Horn v Terence Crawford Pay Per View will be broadcast on Foxtel Channel 507. To order the Pay Per View CLICK HERE