Just as we are getting over the highest-profile rematch of 2019 (Ruiz Jr vs Joshua 2), Australia’s second meeting of the year between Melbourne’s Michael Zerafa and Brisbane born Jeff Horn looks to continue the trend and provide a second blood and guts battle to decide supremacy as the top Aussie middleweight. They meet at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on December 18th.
In their first meeting at Bendigo Stadium on 31st August, Horn suffered a bad start and finish to the fight being floored in the 2nd, cut in the 3rd, and suffering another knockdown in the 9th round shortly before the fight was stopped by referee Ferlin Marsh. During the middle rounds, the former WBO world welterweight champion made a comeback and looked to be turning things around at times, but Zerafa utilised a very effective jab and move game plan, and when Horn’s stamina gave out in the 8th, the writing was on the wall.
Now 4 months later the pair meet for a second time due to a rematch clause written into the first fight’s contract much to the anger of Zerafa who has to miss out on a WBA world middleweight challenge to Japanese holder Ryota Murata because of it.
Much like Anthony Joshua did to Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia, Horn needs to show that what happened at Bendigo was just a good day at the office for Zerafa or the result of poor preparation on his part. Horn’s biggest issue may well be that he is not a genuine middleweight and Zerafa is just too big for him.
Horn is the man with Manny Pacquiao listed as the victim in one of his 19 previous wins, also Randall Bailey and Anthony Mundine, so the former champion has the pedigree but as he found out in August, Zerafa is not fazed by the Brisbane man’s former successes and will not show him any respect second time around.
Apart from height and natural size advantage, Zerafa is also 4 years younger at 27 so this could be a changing of the guard if the Melbourne battler known as ‘Pretty Boy’ pulls off a second decisive victory.
This is a tough pick because if Horn really did train on Pizza and Coke (the drinking variety) as he says, then we could see a much improved and ready version of the former world champion. On the other-hand, Zerafa has already beaten Horn and with a world title shot in the balance, he is sure to fancy making it two-out-of-two.
Prediction: Zerafa to repeat the stoppage win after the 8th round.