Zerafa outrage may lead to protest
Michael Zerafa's team will consider protesting his loss to Jeff Horn, but the victor is already setting his sights on dropping down to the "Goldilocks" light-middleweight division.
Queenslander Horn avenged August's middleweight stoppage loss to Zerafa in Bendigo with a thrilling majority points win in Brisbane on Wednesday.
The ninth round generated enormous excitement and controversy with the Zerafa camp upset referee John Cauci didn't stop the bout with Horn taking extreme punishment.
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"Everyone knows it should have been stopped in the ninth, but there's no excuses," Zerafa said.
Horn got some respite when Cauci asked the ring physician to check a cut near his left eye, which later had 11 stitches inserted.
Zerafa tried to finish off Horn after the break of around 20 seconds, but the local fighter rallied to score two knockdowns in the last 35 seconds of the round to effectively secure the win.
The beaten Victorian's team will watch the fight again on Thursday and may lodge a protest and ask for the result to be changed to a no contest.
"I just thought it was completely unnecessary for the referee to get in the way," Zerafa's manager Brendan Bourke said.
"Michael had Jeff out completely, his corner about to throw in the towel, the referee should have just stopped the fight, he cannot go and give him a break
"It just changed the whole outcome of the fight."
Asked about whether he got a second wind while his cut was being examined, Horn said "not really, the fight is constantly stopped and broken up in little parts."
While a member of Horn's corner was poised to throw in the towel during Zerafa's onslaught, his trainer Glenn Rushton urged him not to do so.
"It's a line-ball decision, but I didn't feel the time was quite there and I think I was vindicated," said Rushton, who was widely criticised for not throwing the towel in before his fighter was stopped in Bendigo.
Zerafa would like a third fight with Horn, but Rushton and promoter Dean Lonergan said their charge would now look to campaign at junior middleweight.
'I don't think I am a middleweight, I think I can easily make a light-middleweight," Horn said.
Rushton said that division was Horn's "sweet spot.".
"'I'm not saying Jeff couldn't fight at middleweight (again), I think that he'll campaign at light-middleweight for a while, then we'll just see how that goes," Rushton said.
"Junior middleweight is the Goldilocks division for us."
Dropping down would put Horn in the same division as unbeaten world ranked Sydneysider Tim Tszyu.
"He (Tszyu) is coming through he's showing his explosiveness and he's a possible fight in the future," Horn said.
Ironically, Horn ended up using gloves with Zerafa's name on, as Rushton decided they would be better than the ones made specifically for his fighter.
"It was funny punching him with his own name on my gloves," said Horn who revealed he got "death stares" from Zerafa when they turned up at the venue at the same time on Wednesday.