Horn fight will go down to wire, says sparring partner
After weeks of punching on with both Anthony Mundine and Jeff Horn, Brisbane tough guy Adrian Rodriguez says there is not a struck match between them going into the River City Rumble at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow week.
Rodriguez is one of four rugged Brisbane sparring partners Mundine has been using in the final stages of his preparation as he hardens his body and mind for the ferocious assault Horn has planned.
The Queensland light-middleweight champion says that while the bookies have Horn a heavy favourite, he sees it as "a 50-50 fight''.
"I think it's very even,'' Rodriguez said. "Jeff has that great strength and workrate but Choc (Mundine) is very swift and crafty, that's his strong suit along with his experience. He's also physically bigger than Jeff with a big reach advantage which he knows how to use really well.
"Depending on how the first six rounds pan out the fight could go either way. It depends on how they execute their game plans because both of them definitely have the ability to win the fight.
"Both are incredible athletes and there is lots to be said about Choc and what he can still do even at 43. Jeff has got to use his speed and athleticism and workrate to the full if he's going to win.''
Rodriguez will have his 15th pro fight on next week's undercard against unbeaten Gold Coast prospect Ben Mahoney.
He gave Horn valuable sparring last month in the early part of the former world welterweight champion's preparation but has been slugging away against Mundine at the Logan Boxing Club in Slacks Creek as part of a tough team Mundine and cornerman Chris McCullen have brought together .
Mundine this week is sparring 12 rounds in each session against a variety of partners, making sure they are all fresh and pushing him as he starts to tire in the Brisbane humidity.
His other sparring partners are Billy Limov, who fought Rodriguez to a draw for the Queensland middleweight title last month as well as local prospects Matt Hartmann and Luke Travers.
"There are all good, tough young guys,'' Mundine said. "I know Horn's going to come at me with everything so these kids are making me work every minute of every round. I'm ready to spring a shock. Horn is going to get a big surprise and I think he's going to get tired in the later rounds as I come on strong.''
Horn says he is ready to tear Mundine apart and he proved it by destroying an 80kg heavy punching bag at his Stretton Gym on Tuesday afternoon.
"Jeff's power is just brutal,'' Horn's trainer Glenn Rushton said.
"It's going to be a case of Man Down after this fight, because 'The Man' Mundine simply will not be able to cope with Jeff's power. I've never seen someone actually destroy a punching bag like that. It's only been up for a few months but Jeff ripped it to bits.''
Mundine says he expects Horn to be very strong in the early rounds but claims he will be able to defuse the Brisbane boxer's heaviest bombs.
"Jeff and Glenn keep talking about their plan for this and that but I've seen it all before,'' Mundine said.
"I'm going to shock him and he's going to realise that he is in over his head. I've been in this game a long time and no one knows the tricks like I do.''