YOUNG gun Michael Zerafa has delivered a steely warning to Jeff Horn, just days out from their Battle of Bendigo bout on Saturday.
The 27-year-old, who is preparing for the biggest opportunity to date of his 29-fight professional career, has cautioned the former world welterweight champion about looking too far ahead.
It follows confirmation from the Horn camp that a potential seven-figure payday in Japan awaits the Queenslander if he can get past Zerafa.
A Horn win in Bendigo would set the 31-year-old up for a crack at Japanese WBA (regular) middleweight champion Ryota Murata in December.
Horn and Zerafa narrowly missed crossing paths at a media workout at the Hit Factory Boxing gym in Golden Square on Wednesday.
But before hitting the ring for a light workout, Zerafa urged his high-profile opponent against making too many future plans.
"I'm the bigger man and I've got reach (on him) and size," Zerafa said.
"He's underestimated me, he's already looked at his next opponent. That's the biggest mistake you can make.
"It's going to be a hard fight - it's going to be a war. Im' prepared for that. I've said I'm willing to die on the night, so I'm going to put it all on the line."
The fight will be Zerafa's first since his knockout win against Les Sherrington at The Melbourne Pavillion in April - his 15th win by knock-out.
He described his preparation for this bout as the best he has ever had.
"I've been mentally preparing for the last 10 weeks - all the hard work is done and no stone has been left unturned," Zerafa said.
"Come fight night it is what it is - we go out there and try and make a statement.
"It's a huge opportunity. I've fought world champions before, bigger names, but in their backyard. I've had to travel overseas to fight.
"But to fight a former world champion in Jeff Horn in your own backyard, it doesn't get much better than that.
"I'm going to take the opportunity with both hands."
Both fighters were only too keen to greet fans at the media workout, which included appearances by rising Jeff Fenech-trained protege Brock Jarvis, his Filipino opponent Ernesto Saulong, and the former three-time world champion himself.
It's going to be a tough one, I know that . It's going to be a war.- Jeff Horn
Horn, who will be defending his World Boxing Association Oceania middle title, won by knockout last November against Anthony Mundine, said the fight presented a massive opportunity for both fighters.
"I'm looking forward to getting out there and putting on a performance," he said.
"It's going to be a tough one, I know that . It's going to be a war.
"It will be the fight of my life as it sets me up for a shot at Murata in December if I can get through this fight, so it's a massive opportunity if I win.
"It's a massive opportunity for Zerafa too. Who knows, if he wins, they might offer him the opportunity (against Murata).
"There's a guy searching for a fight with a world title and the winner of this could be it."
Just as his opponent had earlier, Horn - who is in Bendigo for the second time since the fight was announced in July - praised the support of the Bendigo community and boxing fans.
He is convinced his preparation could not have gone smoother.
"I've had eight weeks to prepare for it - it's been quick for me and it's a 10-rounder, but we are certainly ready to put on a show," he said.
"The final message to Zerafa would be, hopefully he's trained hard because I have over this eight weeks and we will soon see who is more ready on the day."
The pair will square off one final time before Saturday at Thursday's final media conference at Bendigo Stadium at 12pm.
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