By Kenneth Friedman: In a big upset, unheralded Michael Zerafa (26-3, 16 KOs) stopped former WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn (19-2-1, 13 KOs) in the 9th round in middleweight action on Saturday night at the Bendigo Stadium, in Bendigo, Australia. The official time of the stoppage was at 2:24 of round 9.
Horn gassed out in the 9th, and was knocked down by the 27-year-old Zerafa. At that point the referee stepped in and waived off the fight.
Horn down in round 2 after getting clipped
Earlier in the contest, Zerafa knocked the 31-year-old Australian Horn down with a right hand to the head in the 2nd round. That knockdown was a foreboding for what was in store for Horn later on. He simply couldn’t handle the punching power nor the size of the Zerafa tonight.
Horn, 5’9″, wasn’t comfortable fighting someone with more size than him. He’s essentially junior middleweight, who has been boiling down to 147 most of his career. Fighting a young guy like Zerafa was a step too far for Horn. He couldn’t handle the size difference.
Before the fight, #3 WBA Horn had mentioned as wanting to fight Gennady Golovkin, but obviously that’s not going to happen now.
Horn cut in third round
In round 3, Horn suffered cut over his left eye after clashing heads with Zerafa. The cut was bad, but Horn fought through it, and landed some good shots in the round. Zerafa took some major blows from Horn, and walked through them without any problems.
The fight started getting out of hand in the 7th round when Zerafa started to unload on a fading Horn with multiple combinations to the head. The fast pace that Zerafa set in the fight drained Horn like a battery, and it was clear that he wouldn’t last much longer.
Horn’s fight against Ryota Murata goes down the drain
With the defeat, Horn loses out on a title shot against WBA ‘regular’ middleweight champion Ryota Murata. That fight was pegged to take place on December 23 in Japan. It goes without saying that Horn can forget about fighting GGG.
The loss for Horn is another disappointing defeat for him, as he was stopped by Terence Crawford in the 9th round last year in June 2018. Last November, Horn moved up to middleweight and defeated 47-year-old Anthony Mundine by a 1st round stoppage. That victory for Horn seems to have planted ideas into his head. Tonight’s results showed clearly that Horn lacks the size, power, stamina and chin to compete at 160.
“The Hornet” Horn needs to consider moving down in weight
Horn will need to consider either moving back down to 147 or trying 154. Things might not be any better for Horn at 154, because those guys are big and as powerful a Zerafa.