Jeff Horn labels Michael Zerafa “smug and arrogant” ahead of middleweight clash in Bendigo on August 31

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Jeff Horn is out to reignite his career when he clashes with Michael Zerafa at the Bendigo Stadium in Bendigo, Australia on August 31.

The former WBO welterweight champion, who hasn’t fought since a 96-second blowout of Anthony Mundine last November, will be having his first fight as a fully-fledged middleweight.

“The timing and power at this middleweight limit has been extraordinary. I really, really like sitting at this weight. I think I’ll do it beautifully again and be calm and happy going into the fight and ready for the storm,” Horn said to the Sydney Morning Herald.

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“I should fight better and harder for the whole fight (at middleweight). I normally have a bad round… round nine hasn’t been great. I have to push through that little lull in my fights, hopefully at the higher weight it won’t happen.”

Zerafa, 27, who dropped a 12-round points decision to Kell Brook in the UK last December, seems to have gotten under the skin of the normally unflappable Horn.

“Michael Zerafa has talked me down, Mundine did the same. Look what happened to him,” the 31-year-old Queenslander said. “He’s smug and arrogant when I’ve seen him, the way he chews gum in your face, the way he talks, the way he says I can’t box and he’s going to knock me out.

“There are a few things that do get under my skin. It all comes down to fight night. I never say I’ll knock people out… but it would be good to land some punches on him.”

Horn knocked back the opportunity to face Japan’s Ryoto Murata earlier this year to be available for the birth of his second daughter.

But despite being away from the ring his name has been on the lips of a number of fighters, most notably rising star Tim Tszyu who has repeatedly called for a fight with the former world champion.

“I keep hearing Tim Tszyu saying he’s the best in Australia, the number one, whatever. He says he’s the face of Australian boxing. His dad was number one in his time… he (Tim) has some work to do. He has some good wins but still has to prove himself,” Horn said.

“He’s just at Australian title level. He has other guys out there, in all different divisions, that have fought all over the world against top opponents. He hasn’t done that yet.

“That was the point of this fight… Michael Zerafa is one of the best in Australia in the weight division. Tim Tszyu wasn’t in that category. If I took a Tim Tszyu fight, people would say I’m fighting a kid that hasn’t fought any world-class opposition and he’s not ready.”

Horn reportedly knocked back $2 million to fight Murata but the fight could be revisited later in the year if he is successful against Zerafa.

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