Horn looking to break Zerafa’s confidence
Jeff Horn is cuddling his two small children beside the pool at his Sunnybank home, telling them how much he loves them and describing how much he wants to knock Michael Zerafa out cold on Wednesday night.
Zerafa is the heavy favourite to end Horn's boxing career at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre just two years after Horn stunned Australia by taking Manny Pacquiao's world welterweight title at Suncorp Stadium.
The Melbourne boxer rode into Brisbane on Saturday like a hired gunslinger cocky as all hell about shooting down the mild-mannered local hero.
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While very much a fringe contender on the world stage before his shock knockout of Horn in Bendigo on August 31, Zerafa's self-belief is sky high and he is revved up to score back-to-back victories over the former world champ.
"His confidence is right up,'' Horn said, "and I have to knock that confidence out of him early in the fight while at the same time dodging those big rights that did so much damage.
"I will be much stronger and fitter for the rematch and I know I can hurt Michael. I clipped him in the third round and he was hurt and I know that being in much better shape for the rematch I will be hitting even harder.
"I want to show everyone I'm still a world-class fighter and the best way to do that is to score a stunning knockout.''
Johnny Lewis, the veteran training great who took six fighters to world championships including Jeff Fenech and Kostya Tszyu, says Horn has to make a statement early in the fight.
``Zerafa deserves to be favourite,'' Lewis said, ``but Jeff has the punch to turn it around.
``He must win the first three rounds. He has to land a couple of big ones on Michael early to show him that he's back to his best.
``If Jeff can stamp his authority early it could be a very different outcome.''
Lewis said he was aghast at the amount of punishment Horn took in Bendigo and was surprised that his corner did not stop the fight earlier.
``For me Jeff is fighting out of his depth at middleweight (72.5kg) too,'' Lewis said. ``Jeff is not a middleweight and Zerafa has all the physical advantages.
``He's giving away a lot of size and strength and Zerafa has a headstart even before the first bell.''
WHATELEY EYES TITLE FIGHT AFTER STUNNER
Rio Olympian Jason Whateley captured the Australian cruiserweight (90kg) title with a stunning first-round KO of Brisbane's Daniel Russell in Port Melbourne on Saturday night.
Whateley landed a huge straight right moments into the fight and the bout was halted after two knockdowns.
The 195cm fighter from Sale, Victoria is now unbeaten in seven pro fights and eyeing a Commonwealth title fight.
Russell had sparred with Barry Hall in the lead-up to the AFL great's draw last month with Paul Gallen.
Meanwhile, at Madison Square Garden in New York yesterday, Sydney's unbeaten world No. 3 lightweight George ``Ferocious'' Kambosos won a split decision over America's former world champ Mickey Bey, sealing victory with a knockdown in the 10th and final round.
Kambosos is a long-time sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao and helped him prepare for his battle with Jeff Horn in Brisbane two years ago.