Terence Crawford's introduction to the welterweight division was a dominant one on Saturday as he disarmed and clinically dismantled WBO champion Jeff Horn. Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs), who unified all four 140-pound titles last August, became boxing's latest three-division champion with a ninth-round TKO of Horn at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The native of Omaha, Nebraska, outlanded Horn 155-58 and connected on just shot of half of his power shots, according to CompuBox. He also closed the bout by connecting on 47-of-77 power shots over the last two rounds as Horn's output steadily faded.
Crawford began to mix in body shots over the final three rounds to further slow Horn down and closed Round 8 by wobbling his opponent with a combination. Crawford's attempt at sharpshooting one round later led to Horn's exit as Crawford rocked him with a left uppercut and floored him moments later on a combination as Horn's glove touched the canvas.
After Horn regained his feet, Crawford continued to pour it on along the ropes, forcing referee Robert Byrd to jump in and end the fight.
But trainer Glenn Rushton genuinely believed the referee was too hasty in calling a stop to the fight.
“I thought that stoppage was too quick,” he said. “He actually got hurt more against Manny Pacquiao.
“Many of the rounds were very close ... we did say with four rounds to go, just hang in there, look for the opportunity.
“We were planning for a big finish, we wanted to bring it home really hard in the last two or three rounds but that didn’t quite happen.”
"I was just slightly off balanced," Horn said. "I wish I could keep going until the end, but the ref said to me that he has my interests at heart, and I'm sure Jo, my wife, was happy about it."
Horn, 30, saw the end of his real-life "Rocky" story that has grown over the past few years after he transformed from a high school physical education teacher to a world champion. Horn upset Manny Pacquiao last July via disputed decision in Australia but never once had Crawford hurt or in trouble during Horn's first fight in the United States.