Terence Crawford says June 9 bout with Jeff Horn keeps him atop pound-for-pound heap

The competition to be the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer hasn’t been this compelling since before the Mayweather-Pacquiao era, although it’s difficult to draw Terence Crawford into the conversation.

“I don’t believe there’s that big of an argument. I believe I’m the best pound-for-pound fighter at this date, but who wouldn’t think that about himself?” Crawford (32-0, 23 knockouts) said. “That’s where I’m going to rate myself until I feel otherwise.”

After a training camp hand injury postponed his scheduled April 14 move up to welterweight to meet Australia’s World Boxing Organization champion Jeff Horn, Crawford’s argument renews June 9 against the unbeaten Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) at MGM Grand.

ESPN will broadcast the bout between Game 4 and 5 of the NBA Finals, and there’s a possibility the fight will be the first on ESPN Plus, which requires the $5 purchase of a mobile app, depending on the launch date.


Crawford, a former lightweight champion and recent four-belt junior-welterweight champ from Nebraska, argues that taking on a champion in his first bout at 147 pounds “tells you a lot about my demeanor,” affording him some separation from his pound-for-pound peers.

The Times currently lists Crawford as No. 1 in its pound-for-pound rankings, but the gap is tightening.

Last month, unbeaten Mikey Garcia won a fourth division belt by moving up in weight to defeat then-140-pound champion Sergey Lipinets.

Fighter of the year Vasyl Lomachenko seeks a third belt May 12 against champion Jorge Linares, who’s won seven consecutive lightweight title fights.

Heavyweight Anthony Joshua seeks a 21-0 record with 21 knockouts and a third belt if he can flatten WBO champion Joseph Parker on Saturday in Wales.

And if the May 5 Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez bout takes place, that winner has a claim too.

“Jeff Horn is an undefeated world champion coming off a win over Manny Pacquiao [in July],” Crawford said. “Like it or not, he got the decision and is one of the best welterweights.”

Although some thought Horn was awarded a home-country decision after taking many rough liberties in the bout, Crawford said he was impressed.

“He fought to win. I don’t look at it as calling another fighter dirty when he did everything he could to win by any means. I like that. He’s rough. He doesn’t come to lay down. He comes to win,” Crawford said.

“When I beat him, it’s going to be more telling for me — that I beat someone who was game and didn’t come to get a payday. I can get dirty too. And I’ll tell you like this: I’m bigger than Pacquiao and stronger than Pacquiao.”

With Pacquiao nearing a deal to fight World Boxing Assn. secondary welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse on July 7 in Malaysia on a Golden Boy Promotions card, Crawford is all but resigned to the fact he’ll never meet the former pound-for-pound king.

He is interested in testing himself against welterweight champions Keith Thurman and Errol Spence Jr., however, and takes some encouragement that his promoter, Bob Arum, parlayed the ESPN investment into the cross-promoted fight between Lomachenko and Linares.

“If a fight needs to be made, it can be made,” Crawford said. “No matter what the circumstances are, we the fighters need to speak up and make it be known we want to fight each other.

“We go to our promoters and managers and tell them to get it done because at the end of the day, we’re the ones fighting, the ones making them the money. So if it’s something we really desire to have, I believe it can happen.”