"It’s his last fight, he will retire on December 18.”
By Anthony Cocks
The bad blood continued between Australian rivals Michael “Pretty Boy’”Zerafa 27-3 (16) and Jeff ‘The Hornet” Horn 19-2-1 (13) as they announced their rematch at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in Brisbane, Australia on December 18.
After dominating and knocking out Horn in nine rounds at the Bendigo Stadium in August, Zerafa blames the Queenslander for denying him a big money opportunity to face WBA ‘regular’ champion Ryoto Murata in Japan by enforcing a rematch clause.
The Horn camp insists they are well within their rights to insist on a chance at immediate redemption as per the contract for the first fight.
“Jeff owed Michael absolutely nothing,” Horn’s trainer Glenn Rushton said at a press conference in Brisbane to announce the fight last Thursday.
“Jeff has given Michael everything and he doesn’t owe him anything. We’re just saying to fulfil the contact... the eye of the tiger is back. We’re seeing things in Jeff we haven’t seen for a long time now.”
Zerafa promised to retire the 31-year-old former WBO welterweight champion.
“We heard that last fight. And what happened?” he said. “You will see. It’s his last fight, he will retire on December 18.”
The 27-year-old Melburnian laid the boot in with his next comment.
“You haven’t just denied me a world title fight, you’ve denied Australia a world title fight,” Zerafa said. “Now I can see why everyone hates you guys.”
Rushton continued to blame Horn’s poor diet for the first loss to Zerafa, after criticizing his fighter at the post fight press conference for indulging in too much Coke and pizza.
This time around Horn will enter the bout fully prepared, according to Rushton.
“Jeff only lost the fight through tiredness in the end, yes he made a mistake,” Rushton said. “He did underestimate Michael Zerafa in that fight. He didn’t put the work in. This time he has and we look forward to it.
“When we watch that fight back Jeff said ‘that’s not me in there’
Zerafa shot back: “Who was in the ring then?”
“He’s not eating pizza. There’s been a lot of changes made and he’s had to cancel his account at Dominos... in all seriousness we’ve taken a lot of steps, we’ve addressed all of the issues we believe were there,” Rushton said.
“I’m not going to go into great detail but...when you make mistakes you’ve got to learn from those.”
Zerafa wasn’t having any of it.
“It’s all a joke,” he said. “There’s always excuses. I’ve got footage, 24 hours to the last fight he was sitting there saying how strong he was, how fit he was... never felt better.
“Now what’s your excuse now? Your pizza? Really? You’re a former world champion you’re going to use your pizza?”