Hall of fame boxing referee, Joe Cortez, has been the third man in the ring for some of the biggest fights in the history of the sport and is currently an analyst for ESPN. I recently spoke to Joe and got his views on a potential Keith Thurman vs. Errol Spence bout. Cortez also talks about Jeff Horn vs. Terence Crawford and shares his thoughts on Joshua-Wilder bout. Additionally, Joe breaks down a rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez. Here is what Joe Cortez had to say.
Robert Brown: Do you expect we will see a fight between Errol Spence and Keith Thurman later this year?
Joe Cortez: Yeah I can see that happening because you have Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, you have a lot of good welterweights out there, and of course you can’t forget about probably the pound-for-pound best fighter in Terence Crawford.
You got a lot of good fighters in the welterweight division and when you talk about each of these guys, you’re talking about good quality fighters. It reminds you of back in the golden era of boxing when you had Roberto Duran, Sugar Ray Leonard, Tommy Hearns, Marvin Hagler. Boxing is coming back, especially the welterweight division.
Robert Brown: It looks like Terence Crawford is going to get his first shot at a welterweight title as he takes on Jeff Horn. Do you give Jeff Horn a chance?
Joe Cortez: Take nothing away from Jeff Horn, he’s a good outstanding fighter, he’s faced a lot of talent, but that decision over Pacquiao was a controversial decision in the eyes of a lot fans out there. A lot of fans felt that Pacquiao won that fight, so Jeff Horn is a champion but he beat a guy when a lot of fans thought he lost. He beat a Manny Pacquiao who was past his prime and now we’re talking about him fighting Terence Crawford. Crawford is probably the best pound-for-pound fighter out there. This will be a very difficult fight for Jeff Horn when he fights Terence Crawford.
Robert Brown: Do you expect Crawford to win by knockout?
Joe Cortez: I believe he can in the later rounds. It’s going to be a difficult fight but I believe he can stop him in the later rounds because Crawford reminds me a lot of Lomachenko, he’s very smart and I don’t think Jeff Horn can withstand the kind of pressure from a guy who has all the moves in the sweet science of boxing. Terence Crawford is a good switch hitter and he’s very smart. It’s going to be very difficult for Jeff Horn because of the skills that Crawford has.
Robert Brown: Joe, if Deontay Wilder and Anthony Joshua meet in the ring later this year, who would you be favoring in that fight?
Joe Cortez: Wilder is an outstanding fighter, he brings a lot. Wilder’s a good puncher and I was a little doubtful about Joshua. Joshua’s a good fighter but people say he’s like Muhammad Ali. He beat Klitschko but I think they are putting him up too high already.
Klitschko put him down, so his chin is questionable. Joshua beat a fighter that was out of his prime. Klitschko had name recognition but was on his way out. I want to see him against Wilder. If he beats Wilder, then I’ll say he’s a good fighter.
Robert Brown: Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez 2 is set to happen, what are your thoughts on the fight?
Joe Cortez: I think that Golovkin is going to have to put pressure on Canelo. If Canelo wants to win, he’s going to have to mix it up a little bit more, throw more combinations and do a little bit better because if he doesn’t do better than what he did last time, then Golovkin even has a chance of stopping him.
Robert Brown: Who would you favor Golovkin in the rematch?
Joe Cortez: I gotta go with Golovkin. ‘GGG’ is a good solid middleweight and Canelo Alvarez went up to the middleweight division and got in there with a solid middleweight, he couldn’t take the pressure. That’s why he was fighting going back a lot. Everybody was surprised that they called it a draw when most of the fans thought Golovkin won the fight without much of a problem. It was tough but he won at least seven of the twelve rounds.