Wednesday the 13th of December see’s the first world title defence of Jeff Horn, who defends his WBO world welterweight title which he claimed from previous title holder Manny Pacquiao. Classed by many as a controversial & fortuitous win for Horn, the Australian doesn’t mind either way.
Englishman and Frank Warren promoted fighter Gary Corcoran has the honour of being Horn’s first defence, set to take place in Brisbane, Australia at the Brisbane convention and exhibition centre. Duco Events who are promoting the event, once again seemed public state finances to secure the fight and venue. A growing trend in Oceanic boxing by promoter’s is to seek public funding for such events and true to form Duco Events in the shape of Dean Lonergan have hit the jackpot. That’s enough of the promotional BS I hold regarding Duco, at end of the day we have a fight on our hands.
The match-up itself between Horn & Corcoran is contrary the popular opinion, in my view very even with various similarities between eachother. Both fighters know how to dig deep in the trenches under pressure, both can fight at close quarters and are ultimately hard, hard men. Horn in his successful title victory against Pacquiao, was taking heavy heavy punishment and on the verge of being stopped in the contest. Corcoran meanwhile has been used to fighting in a much higher weight class at 154, accustomed to facing guys much bigger and heavier. Due to his size Garry has been schooled on how to negate the bigger man’s advantages, get close on the inside and in comparison to Horn, the more battle hardened of the pair. This will turn heads and i can already hear people through the screen saying “are you mad”.
I am not saying that Corcoran is the better fighter, how can i judge without the pair fighting first. Gary has had to legitimately fight his way up the rankings against proven or at least known entities, Horn has not had that. In a lot of ways, the former Olympian competitor has had a lot of opportunities handed to him due to his standing in Australian boxing. That’s not me knocking Jeff in the slightest far from it but realistically outside of Pacquiao and possibly Ali Funeka, how many opponents can you realistically name and actually know the fighter outside of his name ? Not really that many.
Corcoran on the other hand has had to face the likes of Larry Ekundayo, Liam Williams, Danny Butler, Rick Skelton and Rick Godding to name a few. The argument will be oh these guys are just domestic level fighters, but these fighters were or formerly legitimate national champions or contenders at the time of contest. Yes Liam Williams defeated Corcoran, however Corcoran admitted post fight that he needs to move down to 147lbs. Upon arriving at welterweight (147lbs) Gary faced in my opinion one of the best unknown talents in Britain in Ekundayo earlier this year. Gary defeated Ekundayo in a close tight encounter to earn his opportunity against Horn, with Ekundayo previously being an unbeaten African champion with Corcoran handing Larry his maiden career defeat. That’s the reason why I feel Corcoran is the more battle hardened and therefore in a position to be considered worth of a world title challenger. It was never supposed to be a dig against Horn, just a matter of clarifying the position of Gary as to why he is legitimate in holding his current position.
One factor which cannot be ignored is the weight making process of Horn. There was legitimate concerns from the camp of Horn regarding Horn’s ability to make the 147lb weight limit. Horn has said publicly that he finds it difficult to make the weight, which will eventually catch up with him soon in his performances in the ring. It is reported in the Australian press that Horn has had to drop over 8lbs in weight over night to make the weight at today’s weigh in. Pictures show the effects of Horn’s process looking gaunt, drawn in and dry indicating dehydration of fluids to drop the last ounce required. Furthermore Horn has been pictured with a cut scar over his eye which looks like it has been sustained recently (or more visible due to the heat).
Corcoran has been in Australia for three weeks, accustoming to the time difference, heat and the surroundings. A very smart move considering the tradition of arriving in a foreign country on fight week by many a fighter. Yes finances are involved in Gary’s choice to do this but it is something which fighters should invest in to be 100% comfortable in a new environment. A ring is a ring yes it is indeed, however it is nice to be accustomed to the area considering also it is the height of the Australian summer also.
Who ever is victorious tomorrow, will have to face now mandatory challenger, former undisputed world super-lightweight champion, former lightweight champion, Terence Crawford. A daunting proposition for any fighter, considering that Crawford to many is on top of many people’s pound for pound rankings.
This fight and event is being billed big in the land down under, however it is failing to capture the imagination overseas. It is readily available to view in the UK on Boxnation TV and the networks social media pages, which is great for us who live in the UK. I just get the feeling that it needs a much bigger push on both parties behalf, mainly Duco Events with sources close to the event suggesting that tickets have been slow to sell. Of course we know that Jeff fought Pacquiao last time out and yes it is a big sell, I just expected better from a promotional firm who are looking to establish themselves as a lead player in the sport of boxing.
Saying all of that it is ultimately a great fantastic and realistic opportunity for Gary Corcoran to claim victory, who will leave everything in the ring to ensure he puts a fair reflective effort in his pursuit. Horn on the other hand will have to deal with the pressure of a maiden title defence and proving to the world that his title victory wasn’t a fluke.