Former welterweight titleholder Jeff Horn appeared headed for a shot at a secondary middleweight title before his Aug. 31 bout in Australia with Michael Zerafa, but things went quite poorly, to say the least, as Zerafa pulled a big upset, stopping Horn in the ninth round of their fight at Bendigo Stadium.
Now, the 31-year-old Horn (19-2-1, 13 KO) has decided to exercise a rematch clause and go back in with Zerafa (27-3, 16 KO), with his team saying the fight should happen by the end of the year.
“I’m hungry for the win on this one. I hate losing and I really feel like I can do better than I did last time, and I’m willing to prove it,” Horn said. “It’s not easy to decide to want to go back, especially against a guy that’s just stopped you in the last fight. But I feel like I’ve got a lot more to offer and I feel like I can do a lot better the second time.”
“I needed to have this fight. This fight is the one that motivates me,” he added.
Horn was a strong favorite against Zerafa, favored around -750 at close. The 27-year-old Zerafa had had opportunities in the past, and was knocked out brutally by Peter Quillin in 2015, then outpointed over 12 rounds by Kell Brook in Dec. 2018.
But he really made it count against Horn, dropping the favored man in the second and ninth rounds to get the stoppage in a fight he led on all three cards at the time it was called. Zerafa may well have hoped for his own shot against Ryota Murata, whom Horn was being lined up to face, but instead it looks like he’s headed back to try and repeat against “The Hornet.”
It’s a bold move by Horn, because that loss really has to have shaken his confidence, and to go right back in with the man who beat you is a tough decision to make. But if Horn is going to move forward and get back some of that respect, he probably really does need to beat Zerafa, hope to convince people it was a fluke, and go from there. There’s far from any guarantee he can do it — he couldn’t beat him the first time, after all — but he’s going to give it a run.