WHO NEXT FOR JEFF HORN?
By Tom Watt on Aug 31 2017
News broke today that the much-anticipated rematch between Australia’s Jeff Horn and Filipino superstar, Manny Pacquiao in November has been called off with Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk confirming today she had been advised by Pacquiao’s team that, due to other commitments, he would no longer be able to challenge Horn to regain the Title he lost in July.
Whilst this is sad news for fans already excited about seeing ‘The Hornet’ challenge on the greatest of all time on Australian soil for a second time, when one door closes, another opens and the door for other mega-fights is wide open for Jeff Horn right now.
So who could be next in line for the likeable Queenslander? Below we examine a few options open to Horn for his first defence.
Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford was just crowned the undisputed 140lbs Champion following his destruction of World Champion Julius Indongo on the 19th August, becoming the first fighter since Jermain Taylor to hold all of the major belts at once. However, he has already vacated his IBF belt and many suspect a move up to Welterweight is on the horizon.
Should Crawford choose to move up, a fight with Horn would, in theory, be relatively easy to make given Horn’s ties with Top Rank via Duco Promotions. Having already put on a successful show together for the Pacquiao fight, another joint promotion with Crawford and Horn headlining is an appetising and realistic proposition. Top Rank chief, Bob Arum will be confident that Crawford would be able to handle Horn with ease so if he does plan on moving the Nebraskan up to Welterweight, now would certainly be the time.
Crawford has only fought outside of the USA once before and an opportunity to showcase his skills in front of a new audience may appeal to Top Rank’s new golden boy as they look to build his profile globally.
Amir Khan has been linked with every welterweight in the game and has been inactive since taking a starring role in Canelo Alvarez’s highlight reel. The lightning-fast Brit is a huge name-draw and would surely jump at the chance for another World Title. Whether or not his inactivity will work against him is yet to be seen and with a reputation for being difficult to negotiate with and, given their recent troubles with the Fury camp, Duco may opt to take an more straight-forward route to their next fight.
If the pair did meet it would make for a very entertaining fight with Khan’s speed and Horn’s broken-rhythm offering up a similar proposition the first Pacquiao fight and with Khan’s reputation, Horn’s team may look to this as an opportunity to add a high-profile KO to their record.
After his lacklustre display against Floyd Mayweather, many expect McGregor to return whence he came and defend his UFC Belts. However, the lure of big-money purses and the glamour of the squared circle may see the Irishman look to give it one more crack in the ring. Prior to his fight against Mayweather, Horn had already commented that he would be happy to welcome McGregor into the ring and, with a World Title Belt on offer, perhaps his team could persuade ‘The Notorious’ to lace the gloves back up.
For McGregor, Horn would be his worst nightmare, if he struggled with the constant pressure of a 40-year old Mayweather then he would stand no chance against the relentless assault that a 29 year old Horn would bring to the party. From Horn’s point of view, an easy win, plenty of exposure and a lot of money – well worth chasing!
After a nearly 2 year absence from the ring, Lucas Matthyse returned earlier this year to dispatch of Emmanuel Taylor and secure the WBO Intercontinental and WBO International Titles and, in the process, secured his place at number 2 on the WBO’s rankings, just behind Horn. Matthyse, well-known in Boxing circles, is a relentless fighter with bags of skill – a high-risk, low-reward fight for Horn, especially with the wider public. However, if a bigger-name fight doesn’t present itself, taking on his mandatory challenger would free the Queenslander up to chase up bigger-money fights next year.
Matthyse would be an unlikely opponent but one that would definitely appeal to the hardcore Boxing fans.