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If I Were a Boxing Matchmaker: Jeff Horn

If I called the shots

Howdy folks. Today I’d like to discuss some potential matchups for a boxer who hasn’t been talked about much lately.

Jeff Horn 19-1-1 (13 KOs)

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Jeff “The Hornet” Horn has become somewhat of a lost name among the boxing world. Fortunately for him, he gained a solid reputation after his upset over the legendary Manny Pacquiao. He was on top of the boxing world after his victory on that warm July day. People still question whether he really won that bout, but nonetheless he has the win on his resume and he gave one heck of a performance, and definitely deserves credit for it.

Unfortunately for him, he squared off with another elite talent in Terence Crawford nearly a year later and was not as competitive. He tried his best, but just didn’t have the boxing ability to hang in there. After the Crawford bout, he has rarely been discussed for any big fights. He moved up in weight to fight Anthony Mundine at 160. I still believe Horn can be competitive at welterweight, however it would be a tougher road to travel than moving up to 154. He is not best suited at middleweight. He should go to 154 or go back to 147.  He certainly has a chance to defeat some guys near the top of the super welterweight division, which could be an option for him.

The problem that I see for Horn, is that he seems more like he is a much bigger attraction outside of the U.S. and the guys at the top of the welter and super welterweight divisions are nearly all from the U.S.A. and those are tough propositions and hard sells for fans in the U.S.

#1 Matchup: Shawn Porter 30-2-1 (17 KOs)

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There are several reasons to go after this. Number one is that Shawn Porter is still a top player at 147. He currently holds the WBC trinket and this is Jeff Horn’s best shot to earn a title at Welterweight and it is also an opportunity to make a big impression on the boxing world if he could pull off the win. Porter is a top five Welterweight regardless of the belts. If he could win, that could set up some big fights with other stars at 147, like Errol Spence, Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman or even a rematch with Manny Pacquiao. The other reason this is a good route to go is that it could be an introduction for both men at 154 pounds, if neither man can make the 147-pound weight anymore. Porter struggles at times to make weight and Horn states that he is more comfortable at the higher weight of 160.

Shawn Porter is the least polished fighter out of the welterweights, which gives Horn the best chance for an upset. Stylistically this could be fun, but possibly rough and a bit wild. Both men are kind of quirky and awkward in their own ways. I wouldn’t predict a knockout here, but I could certainly see a lot of bruises and bloodshed from punches, headbutts and anything in between. Interesting fight to be made, if it’s possible.

#2 Matchup: Kell Brook 38-2 (26 KOs)

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Kell Brook is still a quality opponent for many top super welterweights and welterweights. Both of these men have the potential to be at, or near the top in the super welterweight division. Kell Brook is a top 10-ish contender right now. This would be a great match to put together, as they both have solid career resumes and this would prove who is in a better position to contend with the best at 154.

Stylistically this is interesting, too. Brook would need to box from the outside, like he did against Shawn Porter. Horn would need to move in and out to break Brook’s rhythm. This would be best suited to take place in the U.K., or Australia. Either one of them brings in a pretty solid crowd.

#3 Matchup: Sergio Garcia 30-0 (13 KOs)

This may seem like a bit of an odd road to go, considering there are guys like Julian Williams, Tony Harrison, Jermell Charlo, Erislandy Lara, etc. He can compete with those guys and would all be good options, but I think Horn should stay out of the American boxing scene and maybe just go after some of the top fighters around Europe until he builds his brand a little more. I think he gets more recognition and can build a larger fan base that way.

Garcia is a decent boxer who has the potential to be a top 10-ish contender in the 154-pound weight division. With an undefeated record to this point, Garcia is also building a solid brand for himself. Garcia has a very good work rate and moves around a lot. This could create a high paced fight that could get fairly entertaining. Considering that they both have a large following in their hometowns, this could take place in either Spain, or Australia.

#4 Matchup: Austin Trout 31-5-1 (17 KOs)

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Here is a good quality matchup for a guy like Jeff Horn. Austin Trout’s resume is stacked with quite a few former or current belt-holders, or top contenders who have been through the 154-pound division. Win or lose, this is a great name to have in either one of their respective portfolios. Trout is a solid contender still but is a little past his prime. That doesn’t mean that he isn’t good enough still to take the victory.

The other reason I like this bout is the fact that it seems like Trout would be more willing to travel outside the U.S. to take this challenge, compared to the several other candidates that I thought of putting here. Trout is not the biggest name in the sport, but enough to put you on the right track to get your name back on the radar. They are drastically different styles could also potentially create a good match. Trout is sort of a stationary boxer; Horn has a lot of movement, but kind of has a bulldog-type attitude when he runs in on you. I would like to see if Austin can counter Jeff when he starts to bulldoze his way in, like Crawford did, or if Horn can continue to peck away with his movement and break him down. This would be good in either Australia or in a more neutral country, like possibly South Africa.

#5 Matchup: Dennis Hogan 28-2-1 (7 KOs)

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There are so many contenders who can make for fun styles matchups for Jeff Horn. I strongly considered guys like Jessie Vargas, Vanes Martirosyan, Terrell Gausha, Erickson Lubin, Brian Castano, Michel Soro, Liam Smith, etc., the list goes on at the potential contenders he can get in the ring with. The reason I would try and go find a guy like Dennis Hogan is because of two things. One is that he just put on a very good performance against Jaime Munguia, which means that if Horn beat Hogan, it would speak volumes and possibly get him closer to a potential match with one of the bigger names, like Munguia, Charlo, Williams, Harrison, Hurd or Lara. The second reason is that Hogan currently resides in Queensland, Australia, which is also where Mister Horn resides. Seems like a fairly easy sell for both men.

Hogan is currently a top 10/15-ish super welterweight contender. That’s sufficient competition to add to his resume. Hogan is a decent boxer who would need to stay at distance like he did with Munguia. He also might need to dig deep and utilize his Irish background in this bout to pull off the victory. Horn is sort of a rough and rugged boxer, who would need to use his movement to move in to try and bully Hogan a little. Overall, it would be a good match at the right time and in the right place.

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