Horn ready to produce the magic
JEFF Horn says his lifelong fascination with magic will help him make the aura around American challenger Terence Crawford vanish in their world title fight on Sunday.
And already the Horn team have Crawford and his beefy trainer Brian McIntyre ducking for cover after their first confrontation yesterday.
Both fighters are staying at the MGM Grand Casino, where the fight takes place, and Crawford and McIntyre showed a clean pair of heels when they came face to face with members of the Horn camp on Tuesday.
Horn's strength and conditioning coach Dundee Kim, a former Korean boxing star, was sitting in the Casino's VIP room sipping coffee when Crawford and McIntyre walked in.
They took one look at the "Hornet" T-shirt Kim was wearing and immediately did a 180-turn and walked out.
"McIntyre is very chubby," Kim said. "He looked like a surprised little round baby when he saw me and he ran away with Crawford following him."
Later, when McIntyre was approached in the lobby by members of Horn's camp for a friendly chat, the rotund trainer put his head down and kept walking as quickly as he could.
Horn says much of Crawford's reputation has been "hyped up" and that he can expose the unbeaten American challenger with some special magic on Sunday.
On the weekend, Horn and wife Jo relaxed in front of a magic show performance by Mat Franco, a winner of the television show America's Got Talent.
On a previous visit to Vegas, he also watched illusionist David Copperfield and he has been checking out shops selling magic tricks all along the Vegas strip.
Horn's fascination with sleight of hand began as a boy growing up in Brisbane's south-west watching magic tricks performed by his uncle Russell Dykstra, who went on to become a multi-award-winning actor and star of the ABC TV series Rake.
"My love for magic and illusions has stayed with me all my life," Horn said.
"I've got all kinds of things at home to use in magic tricks so I can entertain people who come to my house.
"I've got the fake finger for the hidden handkerchief, the disappearing box of cards, the boxes with the secret compartments."
Horn said illusion was the key to success in boxing, too and that sleight of hand was a key factor in beating Crawford on Sunday.
"After all, what is a feint or a baulk? What is showing an opponent one punch and delivering another?" he said.
"All through my fight with Manny Pacquiao, I was showing him the left and throwing the right, or the other way round. I guess I first learned to trick people as a kid watching magic shows.
"And I've got a few aces up my sleeve for Crawford."
On Tuesday, as Horn began tapering in the final countdown to the fight he said he was not beset by the weight worries that saw him lose almost 5kg in days before he fought Pacquiao and British challenger Gary Corcoran.
"I'm ready to go," Horn said. "I'm very confident. I feel great. My preparation has been terrific and I plan on still being world champion on Monday."
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