Jeff Horn vs. Anthony Mundine this Friday on ESPN+
By Mike Smith: Former WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn (18-1-1, 12 KOs) faces former two-time WBA super middleweight belt holder Anthony Mundine (48-8, 28 KOs) on Friday on ESPN+ for the vacant World Boxing Association Oceania and the WBO Oriental Middleweight title at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.
2012 Olympian Horn is going to be getting his feet wet for the first time at middleweight in taking on an old lion in Mundine. If Horn does well in beating Mundine, he might be able to make a go at campaigning as a middleweight. Horn certainly has the size to fight in this weight class. He’s looked huge in his recent fights against Terence Crawford, Gary Corcoran and Manny Pacquiao.
For many year, Mundine was one of the best fighters in the super middleweight division. What held Mundine back from making more from his career was the fact that he spent too much time fighting lower level opposition in Australia and not enough time fighting the world class opposition worldwide.
This is a tough fight to predict. Although Mundine is ancient at 43 and fighting out of his best weight class of 168, he’s still a big puncher and the bigger man than the 5’9″ Horn at 5’11”. Mundine will also have a two inch reach advantage over Horn that he’ll be looking to use all night long. Mundine won’t let Horn get in close to rough him up the way he did against Manny Pacquiao in 2017. If Horn does get in close, he’s going to need to work his way on the inside by taking a lot of shots while he establishes his position. It wont be easy for Horn though. Mundine is going to be hitting him with everything he’s got looking to get him out of there. Mundine is a bigger puncher than Terence Crawford. Horn couldn’t handle Crawford’s punching power, so there’s a good chance that he won’t be able to deal with Mundine’s either if he’s able to land enough of his shots.
Horn, 30, will be moving up in weight two divisions from 147 to face the 43-year-old Mundine at 160. That doesn’t necessarily mean Horn will be out-sized by a huge margin. Horn is basically a junior middleweight who likes to boil down to fight at welterweight to gain advantage over the smaller foes in that weight class.
This will be the first time the 5’9″ Horn will be fighting at middleweight. He’s spent his entire 5-year pro career at welterweight.
The Horn vs. Mundine fight will be shown on ESPN at 7:00 a.m. ET/4:00 a.m. PT on November 30. Those aren’t exactly the ideal hours to bring in the best ratings from U.S boxing fans for the Horn-Mundine fight, but there’s a whopping time difference between Brisbane, Australia and the U.S. Brisbane is 15 hours ahead of New York and 18 hours ahead of the west coast.
Horn recently lost his World Boxing Organization welterweight title in losing to Terence Crawford by a 9th round knockout last summer on June 9 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Crawford had too much skill for Horn, who was unable to rough him up to win the fight the way he had in beating Manny Pacquiao last year in July 2017 in Brisbane. Horn got away with murder against Pacquiao in roughing him up for 12 rounds, and winning a controversial unanimous decision in front of a large fan-friendly audience at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
Mundine is past his prime, and just hanging onto his career to scrape together fights now and then against mostly fellow Australians. Mundine had hoped that Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Saul Canelo Alvarez would show interest in fighting him, but unfortunately neither has wanted any part of fighting him. It’s not that they’re afraid of Mundine. It’s just that there would be no interest from the U.S boxing fans in a fight between them an an older fighter like Mundine.
In the last four years of Mundine’s career, he’s lost to Charles Hatley, Joshua Clottey and Danny Green. Mundine can no longer beat the fringe level fighters at junior middleweight and light heavyweight. He can be counted on to still beat the domestic level fighters like Tommy Browne and Siarhei Rabchanka.
It’s unknown if this will be a one off for Horn in moving up to middleweight or if he’ll stick around and try and carve out a career in this weight class. There’s no point in Horn going back down to welterweight. Horn is not going to beat Crawford, WBC 147 lb champion ‘Showtime’ Shawn Porter, WBA Super World champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman, WBA belt holder Pacquiao or IBF champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr. Although Horn beat Pacquiao last year, he’s not going to get a chance to repeat that. It was a controversial decision by Horn, and viewed as a robbery by the boxing public. Pacquiao is not going to waste his time fighting Horn in a rematch and have to deal with his constant fouling like he did last year. If Horn stays at middleweight he would need to prove that he can exist at that level against fighters like Demetrius Andrade, Gennady Golovkin, Saul Canelo Alvarez, Daniel Jacobs, Jermall Charlo and Sergiy Derevyanchenko. It’s not a good sign that Horn couldn’t handle the punching power of Crawford, who was moving up from 140 when he fought him last summer. Crawford has not shown that he’s a major puncher at 147. Horn will have just as many problems fighting in the 154 lb weight class against guys like Jermell Charlo, Jarrett Hurd, Jaime Munguia, Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams and Erislandy Lara. Those fighters are basically middleweights. They all rehydrate into the 170s for their fights at junior middleweight. Horn does the same thing for his fights at welterweight, but he doesn’t have a place to go right now. He’s not going to be able to beat Crawford no matter how many times he fights him, and he’s not ranked highly enough to get a title shot against IBF champion Spence, WBC champ Porter or the two WBA belt holders Thurman and Pacquiao. With Horn promoted by Top Rank, he’s likely going to be frozen out by those fighters and ignored. If Horn wants to further his career, he really has no other choice but to fight at 154 or 160 so that he can get fights. The downside of that is he might not be good enough to thrive in those weight classes.