The end and end of Anthony Mundine
Boxer Anthony Mundine (Image: Peter McDermott)
Daniel Geale is going to be the man who ends Anthony Mundine’s highly controversial professional boxing career. And it’s about time.
When they meet in their rematch, Geale will win by knockout and take his place in the upper echelons of Australian boxing where Mundine should belong, but won’t.
This truly is the tale of two remarkable athletes and the contrasting fortunes that their personalities have brought them.
In the red corner, we have Geale, a humble lifetime student of the sweet science from Launceston who had built an impressive Amateur career, including Olympic participation and Commonwealth gold, before turning professional in 2004.
Geale then went on to quietly build a most impressive record, currently standing at 28-1 (which arguably should be 29-0), and has unified the IBF and WBA Middleweight world titles.
Geale is indisputably the #1 Pound-for-Pound fighter in Australia at the moment, and has an impressive resume of victories over tough fighters, including 3 former World Champions in his last 5 fights (Felix Sturm, Sebastian Sylvester and Roman Karmazin).
In the blue corner, Anthony Mundine is probably the most controversial and divisive Australian sporting personality in the last 20 years, maybe even of all time. A man whose bark has always been bigger than his bite. But more importantly, the man I consider to be the most disappointing of his generation.
Nobody can question the talent of Mundine. Mundine had all the physical tools to be a Hall of Fame boxer, and should have been on the Pound-for-Pound lists at some stage of his career. He had almost everything, speed in both his hands and feet, great ringcraft, and good power. Although Mundine does have a questionable chin his defence is so good that it wasn’t as big a fault as many would have you believe.
Unfortunately Mundine’s career decisions have left a lot to be desired, and his almost routine desire to take shortcuts to greatness has led to allegations of cowardice. Consider his last two big decisions to vacate titles to avoid tough fighters. Firstly vacating the IBO title he had just won to avoid a rematch with Geale, and, more pathetically, vacating his IBF Light-Middleweight to avoid the unbeaten American Austin Trout, preferring a fight with 41 year old Bronco McKart instead.
American fight fans are no idiots, and aren’t impressed with beating up a has-been. Defeating a highly-rated, and unbeaten fighter, would have been the best possible way to breathe life into his American adventure. Had Mundine beaten Trout, he would have been in line to face Miguel Cotto, one of the biggest names in Boxing, and had he pulled that off, maybe would have got his wish to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Alas, he once again took the easy option.
Mundine’s past mistakes have culminated in him taking this fight against Geale out of desperation. Mundine knows in his heart that he does not have a great legacy, and sees Geale’s two titles as a short route to being a unified World Champion. It is classic Mundine thinking.
Here is the problem though. Mundine is not the fighter he was 3 years ago. He has put his body through a lot of punishment to make weight for his Light-Middleweight fights, and has definitely lost a step or two in the ring, not to mention power. Mundine has also not fought the toughest of fighters during this time, and even lost to a rookie no-name in Garth Wood.
Since losing that fight to Mundine, Geale has stayed at Middleweight, and gone from strength to strength. He took tough fights, won two World Titles, and is at the very peak of his considerable powers.
He is younger, faster and stronger than Mundine, and has enormous motivation to beat a man who not only was lucky to inflict Geale’s only defeat, but has questioned his Aboriginal heritage.
Make no mistake, Geale is going to be focused and very, very hungry. He will pressure Mundine unlike any fighter Mundine has ever faced.
If Mundine loses, there will be nowhere else to go. His career will end with a loss against a tough, world class fighter, who he finally couldn’t duck.
I cannot think of a more appropriate end.