The 'game-changer' likely to cause a KO in Horn fight

Vince Rugari

The chances of a knockout in Jeff Horn's world title defence against Terence Crawford have risen dramatically with both fighters to use gloves with next to no padding.

Horn's trainer Glenn Rushton has decided to fight fire with fire after learning through sponsors Everlast that Crawford intended to use gloves made of horse hair, rather than the usual foam padding, for their June 9 showdown in Las Vegas.

Horse-hair gloves can be easily manipulated to expose the knuckles and increase punching power, with Rushton describing them as "Claytons gloves: the gloves you have when you're not having a glove."

Rushton said it was a decision the unbeaten American would live to regret.

"It is a real game-changer and it probably doubles the shock, I would say, through the glove," he said.

"If he wants to go back to the primitive days, if he wants a gladiator contest and fight with these on, then so be it."

The discovery is testament to Rushton's no-stone-unturned approach to preparation and ensures it won't be a nasty shock when they arrive at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Horn tested out the gloves on Thursday. Image: AAP

"That's part of what I do," he said.

"It's a matter of doing your research.

"I need to know exactly what Crawford thinks, what he eats, how he trains, how he sleeps, what his demons are."

Horn has never fought with horse-hair gloves before but will now get the chance to train with them and adjust to the impact over the next four weeks.

While the 30-year-old has had hand issues before, Rushton said they were now like "steel" and would absorb the extra damage thanks to a specially-tailored conditioning program.

"If anyone lands a clean punch with one of these gloves it's going to hurt just like getting a bare punch to the face," Horn said.

"It's going to be dangerous in there."

Rushton also said the postponement of the fight from the original April date had worked in their favour, claiming Horn would be "20 per cent" fitter and stronger having now undergone a double preparation.

"I think this is going to be a knockout," he said.

"To survive 12 rounds with very aggressive fighters here, it's going to be almost superhuman to do it.

"Watching the power he's displaying lately, when I visualise Jeff with these gloves out there, we're in for one heck of a battle."