Horn trying to join the underdogs who won
WHEN Jeff Horn steps into the ring on Sunday afternoon against Manny Pacquiao, he will not only be taking on one of the best boxers of all time, he will be trying to join an elite group of Australian fighters.
Pacquiao is a certainty to be a Hall of Famer when he retires, while Horn is short on experience.
But defying the odds in the ring has been a trait of some of the best fighters Australia has produced.
We've had a string of outsiders who have shocked odds-on favourites to win world titles.
There was our first recognised champion Jimmy Carruthers, who had had 14 fights when he tackled the outstanding Vic Toweel.
Lionel Rose got a title fight in Japan because he cost the promoter only $7500.
The silky smooth Johnny Famechon was a massive underdog when he took on a Cuban known as the mini Muhammad Ali, who didn't take him seriously.
Jeff Harding grabbed his shot at glory after the boxer who was supposed to fight the champion was injured.
They all won to enter boxing history as clear outsiders who shocked not only their fancied opponents, but the fight game itself
Courtesy of Australian Boxing Legends magazine here is how they did it.
Jimmy Carruthers v Vic Toweel
World bantamweight title, November 15, 1952, Rand Stadium, Johannesburg
THOUSANDS of miles from home, Jimmy Carruthers was given little chance of beating one of South Africa's greatest fighters, world bantamweight champion Vic Toweel.
The tall Sydney southpaw was unbeaten in 14 fights, but had not faced an opponent of Toweel's quality.
Carruthers left nothing to chance, arriving in Johannesburg five months before the fight, getting used to its rarefied air.
It paid off big time, with Carruthers putting in one of the best performances by a challenger in a world title bout.
He belted Toweel with 147 punches in the two minutes 19 seconds the fight. The champion threw one punch and missed before Carruthers sent him through the ropes and the South African was counted out.
Carruthers became Australia's first official world champion after disputed claims by earlier Australian stars Young Griffo, Mick King and Les Darcy.
Lionel Rose v Fighting Harada
WBC/WBA bantamweight title, February 27, 1968, Budokan Hall, Tokyo
FIGHTING Harada had lived up to his nickname before taking on Lionel Rose ... by having 53 professional bouts for just three losses.
Rose, a 19-year-old Aboriginal from Melbourne, had had 29 fights with two losses. And he came cheap for Harada's promoter. Rose got $7500 against Harada's purse of $70,000.
Not only did Rose have to beat Harada, the four officials - referee and three judges - were all Japanese.
Harada came out swinging, kamikaze-like, but Rose used his height and reach advantage to keep him at bay.
Harada knew he was behind on points going into the 15th and final round, so he threw everything at Rose. However the little Aussie matched him punch for punch and eventually won on points.
He led on the three judges' cards and the referee had the fighters 72 points each.
Johnny Famechon v Jose Legra
WBC featherweight title, Royal Albert Hall, London, January 21, 1969
JOSE LEGRA, a Spain-based Cuban, was called a mini Muhammad Ali. The flashy extrovert loved to showboat.
So when the humble France-born Melbourne resident Johnny Famechon came to London to face Legra the bookies made Fammo a 6-1 underdog.
Legra opened with his impression of Ali, obviously thinking he could finished Fammo whenever he liked.
But the shorter Famechon had other ideas, relying on his speed and well-honed boxing skills. Legra was in the fight of his life.
Fammo ducked and weaved his way around Legra's patented bolo punches in the last four rounds. The Aussie led going into the 15th round and only had to stay on his feet to be the new world champion.
But Fammo stood toe to toe with Legra risking everything. But it all paid off when the sole judge, referee George Smith, gave Fammo the fight on points.
Jeff Harding v Dennis Andries
WBC Light-heavyweight title, Atlantic City, New Jersey, June 24, 1989
A BATTERED and bruised 24-year-old Australian Jeff Harding started the 12th and final round knowing he needed to knock out Britain's US-based Dennis Andries to win the WBC light-heavyweight crown.
It would have been a perfect setting for a Rocky movie.
For 11 rounds the 35-year-old Andries had belted the game Aussie, who was having just his 15th professional fight, dropping him in the fifth round.
Round after round Andries had landed big shots on Harding, but the Aussie with the granite chin wouldn't go away. The punishment was brutal, but Harding hung on.
In the 10th round Andries went all-out, throwing everything he had at Harding, but the effort took its toll on the champion.
The judges all had Andries in front on points going into the last round. Harding's trainer Johnny Lewis said afterwards he told his fighter: "Go out there, don't get hit and pick the right one that's going to put him to sleep.”
That's what Harding did, bombing Andries until he collapsed and the Aussie was the champion of the world.