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I’m better than Vargas – Horn

BRISBANE, Australia – Jeff Horn sounded piqued by comparisons made by many that he will likely freeze at the mere sight of the legendary Manny Pacquiao this Sunday when he attempts to win the World Boxing Organization welterweight crown at Suncorp Stadium.

Appearing before Brisbanites at around noontime Thursday at the Redacliff Place, a public space where natives use to cool down, Horn dismissed claims that he will assume the form of Jessie Vargas, the Mexican-American puncher Pacquiao soundly beat last year.

“I move a lot better than Jessie Vargas,” said Horn during an open workout, refuting observations that Pacquiao will easily blow past him.

The crowd was mainly pro-Horn as only a handful of people cheered when the announcer asked who among them supports Pacquiao, who is going into the scheduled 12-rounder the heavy favorite.

Still, Horn believes his hands will be raised and while he declines to say how he intends to knock Pacquiao out, he is certain of one thing.

“I am going to win,” said the 29-year-old former schoolteacher who took up boxing to avoid being bullied.

Horn also got the support of Kevin Barry, the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics silver medalist.

Barry, here as trainer of one fighter seeing action in the undercard, cautions Pacquiao from thinking that he is facing a low-caliber rival.

“Jeff has developed so much in the last four years and he is a complete fighter,” said Barry, now 57 and who sometimes do fight commentary on television.

“On Sunday, the world will know who Jeff Horn is,” said Barry, whose remarks were met by cheers from the people who watched Horn skip rope, shadow box and do the padwork with trainer Glenn Rushton.

Horn’s right-hand power was imminent when he struck Rushton’s mitts and the 2012 London Olympics quarterfinalist plans to use it decisively to send Pacquiao home Monday morning without a crown.

But before dealing with Pacquiao, Horn admits that he has to shed off some weight so he can breeze through the scales.

“Right now, my weight is 70.3 kilos (154.66 lbs),” said Horn, who is three inches taller than the 5-6 Pacquiao.

In the next 36 hours, Horn will resort to a tried and tested weight reduction outfit: a plastic/rubber suit that fighters wear while sweating it out.

While the task looks daunting, Horn is not alarmed.