Horn v Cocoran: Our Jeff at risk of being blindsided
JEFF Horn sat on the couch in front of the TV last night cuddling his heavily pregnant wife Jo and promising her that their dream run together would continue tonight against England's Gary Corcoran at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Jo met Horn when he was a timid teenager at MacGregor State High School.
He is now a world boxing champion ready for a battle tonight in which he could face headbutts, biting, low blows, rabbit punches, and the biggest shock: the early arrival of the couple's baby daughter.
"I'm confident I have the speed and skills to beat Gary. The only problem will be if Jo delivers our little girl at the fight,'' Horn said with a laugh.
"We might have to postpone the bout for a few hours because Jo will kill me if I don't go to the hospital with her.
"But whatever happens, we'll deal with it.''
After no food or water for 12 hours and an hour-long steaming hot bath to wring out the last bit of moisture in his body, Horn yesterday made the welterweight limit for his WBO world title fight with the hard-fighting English gypsy.
He had dropped 4kg since Monday night.
He was in buoyant spirits after yesterday's 2pm weigh-in at the Convention Centre with a small bottle of water and a large sports drink.
For extra spice on an almost empty stomach, he then donned a unique prop - a pair of ear muffs with boxing gloves and teeth attached - as a nod to his opponent's threat to bite him.
Horn weighed 66.52kg and Corcoran 66.47kg. The welterweight limit is 66.68kg.
While Corcoran is full of confidence, he is still so little known in the world of boxing that American ring announcer Michael Buffer - famous for his "Let's Get Ready to Rumble'' introduction - twice introduced him to the crowd as "Gary Gallagher'', drawing heavy groans from Corcoran's team and from Bob Arum, the world's leading promoter.
"They'll all know my name after this,'' Corcoran said.
"I'm here to win and I'm taking Jeff Horn's belt back home to my little girl in London.''
Corcoran's two trainers - Peter Stanley and Frank Greaves - immediately raised the issue of Horn's fighting style and what they call deliberate headbutts with New York referee Benjy Esteves Jr, who said that he would enforce the rules of boxing to the letter for both teams.
Horn planned to fuel his body all afternoon and night with electrolyte drinks and pasta.
He planned to play his favourite game - poker - with family members and his corner team, and then watch an action movie with Jo to inspire him for the fight.
He has taken to wearing a sleep apnoea mask to stop snoring, and says that it allows him to wake feeling much more refreshed than in recent weeks.
Horn snored heavily before his July world title victory over Manny Pacquiao, but Jo, who normally silences him with an elbow to the ribs, let him get as much shut-eye as possible leading into the victory before 51,000 people at Suncorp Stadium.
Horn had an unlikely supporter join him at yesterday's weigh-in, former world champ Amir Khan, who said that he was backing Horn for victory and not Corcoran, his countryman.
"I support Gary Corcoran and I would have sparred with him if I didn't have to have hand surgery,'' said Khan, who has been on the Gold Coast hinterland filming the TV show I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here.
"But Jeff Horn is a very strong, aggressive fighter.
"He puts huge pressure on his opponents and I think he will win this.
"I want to get a good look at him fighting in person because he and I might be a big fight in 2018.
"I would need to use a lot of angles and movement against him," Khan said.
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To watch go to www.mainevent.com.au