The proposed welterweight fight between Jeff Horn and UFC champion Conor McGregor would be over in two rounds and prove boxing’s superiority over the mixed martial arts format, says Australian Hall of Famer Barry Michael.
“That [match-up] would certainly be massive, but you want my tip on that fight? Jeff Horn will knock McGregor out cold within two rounds, out cold,” Michael told The New Daily.
Horn, who upset Filipino great Manny Pacquiao to win the WBO title in July, is set to defend his title first against England’s Gary Corcoran in Brisbane on December 13, before seeking a huge payday against McGregor.
News Corp reported on Sunday that Horn had locked in a two-fight deal, backed by the Queensland government and Brisbane City Council, that would seek to emulate the massive interest generated by the Irishman’s losing boxing debut against Floyd Mayweather.
“I just think it is going to be good for boxing, personally,” Michael said, adding: “If Jeff Horn does what I think he’ll do – and I’d put a fair bit of money on him to be honest – I think it just makes our sport look better even though it will be a boxing match and not a full UFC bout.”
Michael said UFC had garnered huge international interest, but could not match boxing’s Olympic credentials and rules designed to prevent damage to its participants.
“You know my dad turned 94 yesterday and I’d sat him down a year or so ago and he watched the Rhonda Rousey-Holly Holmes knockout and he was horrified, he was absolutely horrified,” Michael said.
“It’s pretty brutal and it’s a little bit too brutal I think … you can elbow and there are really no rules.
Boxing has been too fractured to counter UFC’s appeal
“Unfortunately for boxing, UFC has sort of taken over to a certain extent and one of the main reasons is that there is only the one body. It’s sad that boxing has become so fragmented and people don’t really know who the real champion is. There are four or five world champions, whereas the UFC has only got the one.
“And I don’t think you’ll ever see boxing get to the stage where you’ll ever have the one champion again – it might be unified champion – but I think UFC being so solitary as a sport with only one champion in each division that if one of our boxers can knock off their best then it looks good.”
Michael said while Horn would get a huge payday fighting McGregor, it was the unlikely rematch against Pacquiao that would cement his boxing reputation.
“It certainly makes him a lot richer … Overall I think it is good for boxing and I think that boxing is on its way back but I would like to see Jeff Horn fight Pacquiao again … but I’ll be surprised if he does fight Pacquiao again. He’s already beaten Manny Pacquiao … it’s put him on the world map.”
Horn has said knowing the McGregor fight was on offer he would not be taking the bout against Corcoran lightly.
“Corcoran is 26, so he’s three years younger than me – he’s very fit, strong and hungry,” Horn told the Courier-Mail.
“He’s a dangerous guy. I know what it’s like to be a determined underdog, just like he is going into this fight.
“This is his golden opportunity to do what I did against Pacquiao but there are millions of dollars on offer for me with big fights in 2018 so I can’t let this guy come to my home town and wreck all my good work.”