Horn carries target into ‘dirty’ title fight
A CUT over Jeff's Horn left eye that disrupted his training will be a huge bullseye for English challenger Gary Corcoran in what promises to be an ugly world title brawl at the Brisbane Convention Centre.
Horn suffered a deep cut while sparring for the fight three weeks ago and while he tried to keep the injury secret, Corcoran and his team have zeroed in on it as a major handicap for the world champ.
The cut was caused by a left jab and required eight stitches meaning that not only did Horn have to curtail his sparring for the fight but Corcoran will be going after it from the opening bell like a shark after blood.
"It was a freakish injury and it's just something we will have to deal with," Horn's trainer Glenn Rushton said.
"We had it repaired as quickly as possible and Jeff has still trained very well even though we had to stop the sparring. We will still win this fight. Jeff will have a very high, tight guard to protect it."
Horn, 29, also has a mass of scar tissue over his right eye from his win over Manny Pacquiao in July and both injuries have given the 27-year-old English challenger hope that he can cause an enormous boilover in what promises to be a vicious, spiteful battle.
When the two fighters came together to pose for the cameras at a press conference on Monday, Corcoran's menacing eyes almost bored a hole through the back of Horn's head, such is his raging hunger to take the world title home to his two-year-old daughter at their gypsy travellers' camp near London's Wembley Stadium.
Corcoran and his team continued their assault on Horn, claiming he is a dirty fighter and offering him a gift of a hat with a boxing glove attached saying that he uses his skull as a third fist to headbutt rivals.
They have even prepared a minute-long film clip from his previous fights which they want to show American referee Benjy Esteves Jr highlighting what they say are Horn's blatant headbutts.
"They're making a big deal out of it," Horn said.
"I think they're panicking a little bit - they know this is going to be a tough fight and they're already looking for excuses for when they lose."
Corcoran said he had been headbutted many times in fights and was ready to give as good as he got against Horn, and better.
"If Jeff gets away with headbutts, I should get away with it," Corcoran said.
The Englishman downplayed Horn's win over 11-time world champ Pacquiao, saying the Filipino great was a "shot fighter" but adding that the gruelling battle "took a lot out of Jeff".
"He took a beating in the ninth round and I'll go on with it," Corcoran said.
Corcoran's co-trainer Frank Greaves infuriated Horn's camp when he said Horn was always headbutting opponents "but never gets penalised".
"Gary can fight dirty too, he's a born fighter and he's so hungry for this," Greaves said.
"You have to understand the life he comes from on a travellers' site. He's been fighting all his life. It's a tough life. We've got no problems with a dirty fight - I welcome a dirty fight - provided we can both be dirty, that's great. All we want is a level playing field."
Greaves said the WBO welterweight title fight would be a brutal battle "fought in the trenches".
"I see Gary winning a hard-fought points decision, possibly even a late stoppage because Jeff has a lot of weight to come off.
"We know he had a hard time in his last fight against Pacquiao and he was hurt late. There is every possibility he could run out of steam in the late rounds against Gary because he's had to lose so much weight."
Horn laughed that he still had 10kg to take off overnight ahead of Tuesday's 2pm weigh-in where he must be 66.68kg or less.
In reality, he woke up weighing 70.4kg Monday morning after a strict few days of no carbohydrates and planned to be under 69kg after eight rounds of training with Rushton Monday night while wearing a sweat suit.
He was planning to do two rounds of punching pads, two rounds of shadow boxing and two rounds of skipping and then intended to dehydrate himself overnight followed by an hour-long steaming hot bath on Tuesday morning to ensure he won the opening fight of the campaign against the scales.
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