‘Hornet’s’ plan to counter KO killer
JEFF Horn's battle plan for his Las Vegas superfight with Terence Crawford is to sting the unbeaten American early and dominate a brutal slugfest in every round that the fight lasts.
"The Hornet'' will be going his hardest to end the fight inside the distance but has the stamina to win a brutal slugfest like he did in beating Manny Pacquiao at Suncorp Stadium last July.
Horn is well aware of the enormity of the April 14 task before him at the Mandalay Bay casino and of Crawford's sizzling streak of victories inside the distance but he and coach Glenn Rushton have been working on countering the American's explosiveness in secret sparring sessions where mobile cameras are banned.
"The most dangerous thing about Crawford is that like Jeff he's so changeable,'' Rushton said.
"He'll be very elusive but once he tags you he goes in for the kill and becomes super aggressive.
"Jeff can't let Crawford land a big shot early because Crawford is an expert at seizing the moment and he becomes a monster. He has a 78 per cent KO record so he knows how to put his opponents away.''
Rushton said Crawford would be shocked by Horn's power and physical strength.
"I remember seeing that wry smile on Manny Pacquiao's face after the first round against Jeff as if to say 'Boy, this is going to be much tougher than I thought','' Rushton said.
"It's going to be a blistering fight and we fully intend to shock the world just as Jeff did in beating Pacquiao.
"Crawford has been knocking out lightweights and super-lightweights throughout his career but Jeff is a much bigger guy at welterweight (66.68kg) than anyone Crawford has fought.
"Our plan is to win the first round and every round until the fight ends. We can't let Crawford get in front and make us play catch-up.''
Horn has been sparring local stars Dennis Hogan and Liam Paro in top-secret sessions and will soon start working with Tully Olympian Paul Fleming and possibly with American Ray Robinson.
Horn's strength and fitness coach Dundee Kim is using small palm-sized punching mitts to make the WBO welterweight champion's punches radar accurate.
Horn, who will receive $2.5 million for the fight, said he expected a tougher battle than he had in winning a gruelling and controversial points decision over Pacquiao.
"Some critics said Manny was old and he might have been at 39, but he was still a great champion,'' Horn said.
"This time me and Terence are exactly the same age, at 30, in our prime and I think it's going to be a cracking fight. We're both undefeated.
"I'm world champion and I need the world to take notice. There are a lot of big fights ahead of me and if I keep winning and keep having these big fights against these massive names in the sport I could retire in probably three or four fights."
Horn will leave Brisbane for Las Vegas after his last sparring session on the afternoon of April 4.