By Keith Idec
Gary Corcoran has watched more than enough footage of Jeff Horn’s fights to determine Horn’s head has intentionally been used as a weapon.
England’s Corcoran continued to point out Monday that Horn’s head-butts shouldn’t be allowed when they fight for Horn’s WBO welterweight title Wednesday in Brisbane, Australia, Horn’s hometown. The WBO has assigned American referee Benjy Esteves to officiate their scheduled 12-round fight at Brisbane’s Convention & Exhibition Centre (ESPN; 6:30 a.m. EST).
Corcoran (17-1, 7 KOs) just hopes Esteves takes his concerns into consideration once their fight starts.
“This is not a head-butting competition,” Corcoran said following a press conference Monday in Brisbane. “So let us just have a fair fight and I’m confident in beating Jeff.”
Frank Greaves, Corcoran’s trainer, made a spectacle of Horn’s habitual head-butts by showing reporters a compilation of those infractions from his laptop during the press conference. Greaves also jokingly offered Horn a prop, a baseball cap with a boxing glove taped to its front, to wear during their fight.
“He’s just pointing out what he does, what Jeff does,” Corcoran said. “[Horn is] trying to say about clashing with southpaws [like Manny Pacquiao]. Listen, I know you can clash with a southpaw. I’ve fought awkward southpaws. You clash heads. But you’ve seen it with [Horn and] orthodox fighters all the time. He sticks his head in all the time.
“I’ve done it a few times myself – it’s boxing. But if he gets away [with it], I wanna get away [with it]. We’re not saying it’s gonna be a dirty fight. We just want a level playing field, and that’s it.”
In Horn’s last fight – a 12-round, unanimous-decision upset of Manny Pacquiao – what were ruled accidental clashes of heads opened cuts on Pacquiao’s face in the sixth and seventh rounds.
Horn, however, disputed Corcoran’s contention that he uses his head intentionally. The defending champion claims he should be the one who’s worried because Corcoran has said he’ll bite Horn if Horn head-butts him.
“They’re afraid that I’m gonna be head-butting him in there, but I’m the one afraid I’m gonna be getting bitten if I do that,” Horn said following the press conference. “So I definitely don’t lead with my head purposely, that’s for sure. No, I come forward quickly at guys and I explode in with my punches. If one zigs and the other one zags, obviously the heads do come together.”
Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs) considers Corcoran’s charges gamesmanship as their fight nears.
“I think it’s just mind games at this stage,” Horn said. “They’re really trying to play on something and get under our skin. They know I’m a clean fighter, but they’re trying to spin it on us, saying that we’ve got hometown advantage and no one ever warns us for anything.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.