PERTH, Australia – Jeff Horn is deceiving. Very deceiving.
That’s the message from a battle-scarred South African boxer who fought against and went down in six rounds against the man called ‘The Hornet.’
Ali Funeka, who lost to the 28-year old second-ranked welterweight contender last December in a Manny Pacquiao eliminator, warned the Filipino boxing legend against underestimating the hitherto lesser-known Aussie fighter.
“Pacquiao should leave nothing to chance when preparing for Horn otherwise he will get the shock of his life like I did,” said Funeka in a report by Boxing News.
“That guy is not pretty to watch but he does what he does successfully and he will surprise a lot of boxers with that style. I know some people are dismissing him because he does not follow the boxing script when fighting but I am telling you he may upset Pacquiao especially as the Filipino is not the same dynamo he used to be,” said Funeka, who at 38 is as old as the eight-division world champion.
Funeka fought Horn in New Zealand in December as a co-feature to the WBO heavyweight championship between Kiwi Joseph Parker and Andy Ruiz.
Going to the fight‚ the veteran South African warrior was not only confident of a win but had vowed to score a stoppage.
As it turned out, it was Funeka who got the shock of his life. Horn first dropped Funeka in the fifth round before dispatching the ageing fighter in the sixth.
The Pacquiao-Horn fight, billed as the biggest boxing promotion in Australian history, is set for April 23 tentatively at the massive Suncorp Stadium in Horn’s home city of Brisbane with Pacquiao’s WBO welterweight title at stake.
Australian boxing has rallied around the 28-year-old Horn, who made a name for himself representing Australia at the 2012 London Olympic games. Horn has an impressive resume of 16-0-1 although he fought mainly in Australia and New Zealand.
Pacquiao is looking at just a handful of fights left in his career and the “world tour” theme would appear to maximize his earnings, as the Filipino sensation has never fought Down Under in his long career.
Funeka could give Pacquiao a few things about Horn, who the Filipino superstar admitted of not knowing. First, Funeka said the former Brisbane schoolteacher has a very deceiving boxing style — the most unconventional one he had ever seen.
“I had watched his video footage and I was confident that he would not be a problem‚” he recalled. “But wait until you get into the ring with him and you will be surprised how awkward he is. He budged in with his head and rammed me with it on my left eye. After that I was dizzy for the entire fight.”
Second, Horn’s power.
Funeka thinks the Aussie has a good punch.
“He complements his unconventional style with power as he tends to swivel all his body when throwing a right hand to generate all the power to it.”
Horn is expected to climb into the ring against the charismatic Pacquiao as a tremendous underdog but Funeka is not ruling out an upset.
He warned that Pacquiao cannot rely on video footage of Horn which he said could be misleading.