In the Red Corner representing Qld, Jeff Horn approached the fight with all the confidence and `apparent’ regimented training that one would expect from a mature boxer with a tried and tested preparation process.
In fact his trainer, Glenn Rushton, told the media that his fighter was in stellar condition, in the best shape he’s ever been in, and totally prepared for the 10-round super welterweight fight.
Truth; He wasn’t!
Although Australia loves Horn, and there is no disputing his courage in the face of the tough battles he’s faced in his career, it was disappointing to see his form so low. From a physical perspective, Horn was certainly not prepared for the full 10 rounds as planned, and in fact lost breath in the first round. From a psychological perspective, Horn was far below that of Tszyu’s calm and centered demeanor, and his clumsy lunging at Tszyu just a few seconds into the 1st round, demonstrated an ill strategy as well. By the 3rd round, we were mostly expecting a Knock Out blow from Tszyu that would see Horn on the floor. That would not have been the way we wanted to see Australia’s Boxing Champ go out and kudos to Tszyu for probably holding back on executing that.
Tim Tszyu in the Blue corner representing NSW, “Tszyu the Blue” as in fact some were calling him, was also confident and also brash in the lead-up. However his confidence was centered more in the truth of preparation. More in the truth of belief, and further into the truth of fitness. Tszyu’s confident and positive attitude, was centered in cognitive truth!
Tszyu was billed as facing “the stiffest test of his career, against the toughest man in Australian boxing”. He was hardly out of breath in between rounds that he spent dancing around an unfit Horn, who although swung that big outside right of his, mostly caught only air.
It was mostly Tszyu’s big right hand, together with a machine gun left to the body that hurt Horn and proved that at only 25 yrs old, he was too good in defence of his IBF Australasian and WBO Global titles.
A worthy win, and one that was familiar to Australia who saw an uncanny resemblance in appearance and style to his father, the great champ Kostya Tszyu! Tim now has earned the right to move out of the shadow of his father, where of course he held an abundance of respect, and now move into his own light!
“I just want everyone to know that my name’s Tim,” Tszyu said post-fight. “Not the son!”
“… I said, ‘give me competition, someone who can test me.’ And it’s sink or swim. And I’m not going to sink.”
Although brutal in the ring, Tszyu was empathic and respectful in victory ensuring that he was able to communicate his respect for Horn.
“Jeff has raised the flag for Australia,” Tszyu said. “He’s the man that ignited the sport here.
“ … It was an honour to share the ring with Jeff. All my respect to you, Jeff.”
Tszyu’s record now stands at 16 fights with no losses and 15 of the 16 by knock-out.
Horn’s record is 24 fights, 20 wins, 3 losses and 1 tie.
The final round completed with confusion in Horn’s corner as his team struggled with the decision to retire at the 8th and not complete the final two rounds. On points alone, it was clear that Tszyu was well ahead. The only way that a Horn win would take place, was with a knock-out! Although possible, this was clearly not going to happen in the state that Horn was in. The risk was more likely that Tszyu would deliver the knock-out blow.
The decision was made against the wishes of coach Rushton, however it was the right decision and in fact may have been 5 rounds too late.
“Tim was young and hungry, he’s an absolute champion,” Horn said. “I can’t put anything past him. He’s an absolute legend”.
“Hopefully all of Australia can support him now. He now is the No. 1 in Australia. He wasn’t before this; he was saying he was. But he certainly earned it now.”
Horn has a lot to be proud of and as a fighter, he’s had his greatest moment in the miracle win against Pacquiao to bring the world title to Australia. He’s battled big wars and taken punishment that only Stallone’s `Rocky Balboa’ would withstand. His career survived the punishment of Terence Crawford, and he came out of the most brutal rounds against Zerafa to be successful in the HISTORIC 9th round of the rematch.
His boxing days should be over. He needs to retire with the dignity he deserves and take his place in history. But that’s his call. In the end, his final statement says more than the words;
“It’s just time to go home,” Horn said after the fight, “give the girls a cuddle.”
(Videos with thanks to FoxSports)
Horn vs Tszyu Highlights:
Announcing the Winner
Confusion in Horn’s corner
Punishing blows from Tszyu, but the mark of a Champion as Horn still stands