The Mundine payday Horn can’t ignore
JOHNNY Lewis, the most respected man in Australian boxing, has given a ringing endorsement to the proposed Jeff Horn-Anthony Mundine fight as negotiations step up for a showdown at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium in November.
Discussions have fixed a time frame and a junior-middleweight limit of 70kg.
Mundine's adviser Emaid Dib has spoken to Horn's trainer Glenn Rushton twice this week in Las Vegas about staging the fight as Horn now focuses on rebuilding his career after losing his world welterweight (66.68kg) title by ninth round stoppage to American Terence Crawford on Sunday.
Rushton and Horn's father Jeff Horn Sr have both said they were happy to discuss the fight with Dib even though their long-term promoter Dean Lonergan says the bout won't happen.
Dib, whose brother Billy is a former world featherweight champ, said: "I've now spoken to Glenn Rushton twice about a Mundine fight and he has been very positive.
"I told him that we have very definite plans. Anthony is 43 so we want the fight to happen as soon as possible. We don't want to turn this into a long-drawn out thing like the Mundine-Danny Green rematch that took years of to-and-fro negotiations.
"I told Glenn that this is Jeff's opportunity to make a career-high payday fighting in his own backyard.''
Johnny Lewis, who trained six world champions including Jeff Fenech, Kostya Tszyu and Billy Dib, said he was never in favour of Horn facing Crawford and always saw a match with Mundine as a potential Australian blockbuster.
"Months ago when Crawford started playing games with Horn and postponed the fight I thought Jeff should have brushed him and fought Mundine instead,'' Lewis said.
"Jeff has had problems making welterweight in the past and he is more suited to the heavier 70kg division.
"I think he could have made just as much money fighting Mundine at home and not had to risk his title against the best boxer in the world with the deck stacked against him by American promoters in an American promotion.
"I think a Mundine-Horn fight would be a thriller. Anthony can still punch, he is very crafty and wily and in Jeff you have this very game, heavy hitter who is always in exciting fights.''
Horn made $1 million against both Manny Pacquiao and Gary Corcoran and $2.5 million against Crawford but Dib is confident a Mundine fight will be 'The Fighting Schoolteacher's' biggest payday.
Dib said as an ex-world champ Horn would now be looking at no more than $200,000 purses to face leading contenders such as Adrien Broner or Jessie Vargas, the fighters on the top of Lonergan's list as Horn's next foe.
"Anthony Mundine can write Jeff a cheque now for the fight,'' Dib said, "he can promote it himself but we are prepared to work with Dean Lonergan if that's what the Horn camp wants.
"What we don't need is Lonergan trying to shoot down the fight and saying Anthony is a 'Neville' because he is only hurting the potential gate and if it continues Anthony will walk away and the deal will be gone.
"The conversations I've had with Glenn Rushton were very encouraging and we are confident the fight will be one of the biggest ever seen in Australia.''
Horn's father, Jeff Sr, has always wanted his son to make as much money as possible for minimal risk from boxing and then retire before taking too much punishment.
He told The Courier-Mail that a Mundine fight had the potential to be minimal risk for very high reward.
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