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Arum keen on Horn, not so much Mundine

AAP logoAAP 9/12/2016 Vince Rugari

Bob Arum is ready to jump on the Jeff Horn bandwagon but the legendary promoter hasn't always been so enamoured with Australian boxers.

In fact, there was one guy he hated so much he kicked him out of his Las Vegas office.

It was Anthony Mundine.

Arum, who cut his teeth promoting Muhammad Ali's first fights, couldn't stand him.

"This was a number of years ago, it was after the 9/11 attacks," Arum told AAP in Auckland, ahead of Saturday night's WBO world title fight between New Zealand heavyweight Joseph Parker and American-Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr.

"He came into my office, looking for a promoter in the United States and he made certain remarks that I remember were unacceptable.

"I thought it was something I couldn't tolerate.

"So I asked him to leave, and I had no interest being involved with anybody like that."

In October of 2001, a month after the terrorist attacks in the US, Mundine angered Americans by saying they "brought it upon themselves".

Mundine stands to collect one final payday in his rematch with long-time rival Danny Green at Adelaide Oval on February 3.

But while those two ageing veterans hog the Australian boxing spotlight, Horn is quietly making power moves of his own.

If he beats South Africa's Ali Funeka (39-5-3) in Saturday's main undercard bout at the Vector Arena, which bookmakers heavily favour him to do, Horn will put himself in the frame for a megafight against WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao.

The promoter for Pacquiao and Ruiz., Arum will be watching intently from ringside with his matchmaker Bruce Trampler to see if Horn (15-0-1) cuts the mustard as a fighter.

As a person, Arum is already sold on the 28-year-old former schoolteacher, who the American considers far different to Mundine - well-mannered, clean-cut and tattoo-free.

"This kid, I can sell him as being as American as apple pie," said Arum, who has entered into a co-promotional deal with Duco Events, the New Zealand-based company which manages Horn.

"He looks like the kind of athlete who would have tremendous appeal to the American people.

"He's certainly articulate, he's a good looking kid, so you check off all of those boxes.

"But ultimately unless he has the kind of talent we're looking for on the world stage, it's not going to really resonate."

It won't be easy for Horn, who had to lose 4kg overnight to make Friday's weigh-in and is seeking an early KO to impress Arum.

Funeka has a 10cm height and reach advantage and has twice as many knockouts to his name as Horn's had fights.

Horn said the magnitude of the occasion and opportunity was motivating him.

"The Hornet's always buzzing. But it's definitely getting exciting at the moment," he said.

TALE OF THE TAPE - JEFF HORN vs ALI FUNEKA

Jeff Horn

Born: February 4, 1988, Brisbane, Australia

Career record: 15-0-1 (10 KOs)

WBO ranking: No.2

Height: 175cm

Weight: 66.5kg

Reach: 173cm

* Took up boxing at 18 to defend himself from bullies

* Fought for Australia at the 2012 London Olympics

* Named Australia's boxer of the year in 2015

Ali Funeka

Born: March 28, 1978, Mdantsane, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Career record: 39-5-3 (31 KOs)

WBO ranking: No.8

Height: 185cm

Weight: 66.4kg

Reach: 183cm

* Accused an opponent of using witchcraft to defeat him in a world title fight last year

* Served a nine-month suspension in 2010 for using a banned diuretic

* Says he will knock out Horn in honour of Nelson Mandela

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