Startling new footage has revealed just how close Jeff Horn’s camp came to throwing in the towel before his victory against Michael Zerafa.
Horn scored a majority points win in front of a raucous sellout crowd at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Wednesday night.
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The ninth round hasn't been kind to Horn in his previous big fights, being stopped by Zerafa and Terence Crawford previously and taking a beating from Manny Pacquio.
But it was the round in which he sealed Wednesday's victory and revenge, staging an incredible comeback after it looked like he was out on his feet.
A desperate Zerafa, who had struggled to impose himself for most of the fight, launched a desperate attack and landed several right hands against a tiring Horn - appearing to be seconds from a KO.
But the Queenslander dug deep, finding two big rights of his own to floor Zerarfa twice in the last 35 seconds of the ninth before going on to grab a points victory.
Even Horn’s camp thought he was done midway through the ninth, with footage showing one of his trainers climbing onto the ring apron with towel in hand - ready to throw it and admit defeat.
But a timely stoppage form the referee to assess a cut on Horn’s head provided the respite he needed, stunning Zerafa once the round resumed.
Judges slammed over ‘disgraceful’ scoring
One judge scored the contest as a 94-all draw but the other two had Horn winning 98-90 and 97-92, as he took WBA and WBO regional titles off Zerafa.
Corbin Middlemas of the ABC said the 98-90 scoring was “flat out disgraceful” while Jamie Pandaram of the Daily Telegraph said the judge who decided on 94-94 “was watching something else”.
Zerafa's team will consider protesting the loss, upset that referee John Cauci didn't stop the bout with Horn taking extreme punishment in the ninth.
"Everyone knows it should have been stopped in the ninth, but there's no excuses," Zerafa said.
Horn got some respite when Cauci asked the ring physician to check a cut near his left eye, which later had 11 stitches inserted.
The beaten Victorian's team will watch the fight again on Thursday and may lodge a protest and ask for the result to be changed to a no contest.
"I just thought it was completely unnecessary for the referee to get in the way," Zerafa's manager Brendan Bourke said.
"Michael had Jeff out completely, his corner about to throw in the towel, the referee should have just stopped the fight, he cannot go and give him a break.
"It just changed the whole outcome of the fight."
Asked about whether he got a second wind while his cut was being examined, Horn said "not really, the fight is constantly stopped and broken up in little parts."