Horn’s sympathy for Zerafa’s lost $700,000
MICHAEL Zerafa's loss in Brisbane on Wednesday night cost him $700,000, and Jeff Horn and his father could not have felt more sorry for their brave but beaten opponent.
Zerafa was a dejected figure after the fight as he contemplated protesting the outcome and referee John Cauchi's crucial decision in Round 9 that Zerafa said had cost him victory.
Horn said that even though Zerafa had been "very disrespectful'' to him and trainer Glenn Rushton in the lead-up to the bout, he had sympathy for Zerafa's pay cut and "enormous admiration'' for the Melbourne boxer's courage.
"Michael gave it everything in there,'' said Horn, who survived a tremendous beating in the ninth round to deck Zerafa twice and win a points decision after 10 rounds.
"He said a lot of disrespectful things but I think it was all to psyche himself up.
"I think he is basically a nice guy and he deserves a lot of respect for the way he fought. He showed tremendous courage to get back to his feet after those knockdowns.''
Zerafa, who stopped Horn in nine rounds in Bendigo on August 31, had negotiated a deal that would pay him almost $800,000 to fight Japan's world middleweight champ Ryota Murata in Tokyo this Monday.
But Horn enforced a rematch clause to make Zerafa fight him again in Brisbane, with the Melbourne boxer to receive just $120,000.
Horn's father, Jeff Horn Sr, said he felt sorry for Zerafa but that Horn needed to fight him again to erase the stain on his record.
"This is a tough sport,'' Horn Sr said. "But I feel for Michael. It's tough to make money in Australian boxing and he had the big payday against Murata taken away from him.
"But Jeff had to do that so he could go forward with his career. And if Michael had not signed that rematch clause he would not have had the chance to fight Jeff in Bendigo in the first place and that's what put his career on the map.
"I don't know where Michael's career goes from here after that loss, but we wish him well.''
Zerafa's camp are considering protesting the referee's actions in the extremely distant hope that the result might be changed to a no-contest.
They believe that the referee had grounds to stop the fight in Zerafa's favour rather than take Horn to the doctor. They claim the respite that Horn received while his wounds were being assessed by Dr Ben Manion gave the groggy fighter time him to clear his head.
"It was me all over him in the ninth round but it didn't go my way,'' Zerafa said. "There definitely should be a third fight.''
Horn said Zerafa's claims were all hot air and that there was not enough time for him to get a second wind while the doctor assessed him.
"A fight is constantly stopped and broken up in little parts,'' he said, adding that in his world title win over Manny Pacquiao in 2017 the referee had stopped the action to have the Filipino's cuts checked as well.
Horn went into the fight wearing a pair of Zerafa-branded "Rival'' gloves after Rushton decided that they seemed to have less padding than the Everlast gloves Horn would normally wear.
"We didn't want to give Zerafa a psychological advantage and let him think he could hit harder than me because his gloves had less padding,'' Horn said.
"It was funny punching him with his own name on my gloves.''
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