AUSTRALIAN boxing legend Jeff Fenech believes Jeff Horn will have his hands full with a younger and slick Michael Zerafa, when the pair battle in Bendigo next month.
Horn versus Zerafa is the headline act on a huge boxing showcase on August 31 at Bendigo Stadium. The undercard will feature the Fenech-trained and recent IBF world youth title winner Brock Jarvis, widely acknowledged as one of Australia's most exciting emerging prospects.
Visiting Bendigo on Thursday, Fenech admitted he would not have hesitated in predicting a Horn win when the fight was announced last month
But after watching Zerafa in a brutal sparring session against 2016 Olympian Daniel Lewis in Sydney this week, the three-time world champion is convinced he can pull off a huge upset.
"I spoke to Michael afterwards as we are great friends - he's Maltese and I'm Maltese - and I said to him, 'if you can do what you did in the ring today (Tuesday), I honestly think you will win the fight'," Fenech said.
"I have huge wraps on Danny Lewis and believe he might be the best light middleweight in the country. During the spar I was totally blown away by what Michael Zerafa brought to the table - his punches and his variation.
"If he can take that into the ring, I really think he will win the fight.
"I know it's a big statement, but watching him I was blown away."
Horn will be chasing an assertive victory over Zerafa to earn a crack at newly-crowned world middleweight (72.3kg) champ Ryota Murata.
Fenech said he had the greatest respect for Horn, who shot to prominence with his victory over Filipino legend Manny Pacquiao in 2017.
"Jeff Horn is one of those guys who is just a machine; turn him on when the bell goes and he's on," he said.
"Anyone who beats Manny Pacquiao has done a great job. He came back after that ninth round and getting hurt; doing that gives me memories of (former world light heavyweight champion) Jeff Harding, when he beat Dennis Andries.
"He will give you serious problems. I am a huge fan and I love what he does in the ring and out the ring and the way you conduct yourself out of the ring is a big part of what makes a boxer."
Regardless of whichever boxer prevails, Fenech believes the ultimate winners would be Bendigo boxing fans.
"I am sure boxing fans are going to love what (promoter) Dean Lonergan brings on August 31," he said.
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