Just over two years ago, Jeff Horn stunned the boxing world with a questionable decision win over Manny Pacquiao, winning the WBO welterweight title. Today at Bendigo Stadium in Australia, it was Horn on the losing end of a big upset.
Horn (19-2-1, 13 KO) was dropped twice and stopped in the ninth round by countryman Michael Zerafa in their middleweight main event.
The 31-year-old Horn and his team were planning a December fight with WBA “world” 160-pound titleholder Ryota Murata, which could conceivably still go ahead, because it’s boxing, but most likely is now off.
It’s the second loss in three fights for Horn, who was routed and stopped by Terence Crawford in June 2018, and followed that up with a first round knockout of a washed Anthony Mundine in November.
Zerafa (27-3, 16 KO) had always been known as a game opponent, but one who was overmatched at the higher levels, as seen in losses to Arif Magomedov, Peter Quillin, and Kell Brook in 2014, 2015, and 2018.
But Zerafa, 27, now has a new lease on his career. At the very least, there’s a possible money rematch with Horn in Australia, and hey, why not Zerafa as a Murata title challenger in December now?
Horn was down in the second round and cut in the third, but he got into the fight before Zerafa again took over, with Horn clearly gassing by the eighth round. Horn was down again in the ninth, and the referee stepped in at that point, giving Zerafa by far the biggest win of his career.