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Lonergan was in a reflective mood when he, Rose and Horn were on media duties in Brisbane on Monday. He softly backed away from his former assertion that Horn would ‘destroy’ Tszyu in little more than an easy payday.

“He’s a very good fighter, he’s a fine young man. I actually tried to sign him. Matt Rose saw value I wasn’t prepared to go to. He was right, I was wrong,” Lonergan said.

He put Tim straight on pay-per-view, which I wasn’t ready for. Turns out Matt was right and I was wrong.

Dean Lonergan

“When you come to sit down to negotiate a deal, this was a guy I missed and I have total respect for what they’ve done over the past 12 months.

“They could have been [stablemates]. But Matt came in and paid a figure that was a lot more than I was prepared to pay. This was about a year ago. We were both talking to him at the same time.

“Matt saw value I couldn’t realise and he put Tim straight on pay-per-view, which I wasn’t ready for. Turns out Matt was right and I was wrong.”

Rose has taken a risk putting Tszyu in against Horn, who has a win against Manny Pacquiao on his CV and went nine rounds with Terence Crawford, who’s in the conversation as the best fighter in the sport.

He won the first little battle against Lonergan by signing Tim but Lonergan will have the last laugh if Horn lives up to his favouritism and proves too much for his less experienced opponent.

“It’s interesting … we’d been in boxing for a while and identified Tim as a prospect,” Rose said. “Dean had done the same thing. From there, we went head-to-head. We had been watching him, we discussed it as a team and we believed we could take him to a world title. At the moment, we feel like we are on track.


“We’re now in a big fight with Jeff. That’s what it comes down to, really. Tim and Jeff could have been stablemates. But now we have the chance to possibly develop a rivalry like Green-Mundine, although we won’t take 10 years for a rematch.”

Neither camp has given up on Sydney as a venue but it looks less likely than Perth or Brisbane. Queensland’s Labor government and its tourism arm have been strong financial supporters of Horn since his win over Pacquiao at Suncorp Stadium.

Horn also tends to rise to a new level in front of his home fans, which would make the task much more difficult for Tszyu.

“I think he [Tszyu] will do great things in the sport but he will go over a speedbump just now. I’ve got a lot more experience than he does, I’ve fought world champions. And I’ve got that style that will always upset a boxer. He has a great name but that won’t carry him past this fight,” Horn said.

“Tim has been able to control his fights. He sticks that left hand out and then whacks them with the right hand. That’s his biggest strength and I want to take that away from him.”

Sports reporter

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