Daniel Geale will tonight defend his IBF Middleweight title against Anthony Mundine in what is shaping as one of the most anticipated fights in Australia boxing history. We’ll have updates from 8.00pm AEDT.
It’s the question I have been asked numerous times in the lead up to tonight’s bout. Who will win?
It’s the biggest fight this country has seen since Anthony Mundine and Danny Green in 2006, and this time it is for a legitimate world title, with serious money and career opportunities awaiting the winner.
Money spinning fights with Gennady Golovkin, Felix Sturm, Julio Cesar Chavez or Sergio Martinez could await whoever gets their hand raised on Wednesday night.
Daniel Geale comes into the fight in some serious form having not lost since his defeat to Mundine in 2009. His most recent fight was a world title unification fight in Germany against Felix Sturm, which came on the back of big wins over Sebastien Sylvester and Roman Karmazin.
Anthony Mundine has had mixed fortunes since he beat Geale in 2009. He has been knocked out by The Contender Australia winner, Garth Wood, had an impressive win over former World Champion, Rigoberto Alvarez and his most recent fight was a win over journeyman Bronco “Superman” McKart.
If we were picking racehorses, it would be simple. But tipping winners in boxing isn’t so easy.
Not when things like heart, willpower, hunger and desire are involved.
The burning question going into this fight is whether or not Anthony ‘The Man’ Mundine still possesses all of those qualities, because if he does he is a dangerous fighter.
This fight is a fight that Mundine probably doesn’t deserve, given he has largely been granted this fight given his profile and marketability.
But even behind the talk and bravado, Mundine must recognise this is his last opportunity to win a world title and remain relevant on the big stage.
It is this very fact that means no one should write off Mundine.
He simply must win.
Mundine has often talked about struggling to get up for fights against lesser known opponents.
He should have no problem getting up for this one then.
Mundine has also finally settled at a weight having gone between Super Middleweight, Middleweight and Junior Middleweight in recent years.
Sure there is not a lot of difference between these divisions but it does take its toll on a 37-year-old fighter.
Mundine is feeling fresh and is injury free, having had surgery to fix his problem hips, which despite the complaint still having to be managed.
Mundine himself has said he feels less restricted in the ring.
Mundine is looking fit and from all accounts has gained some of the power that he displayed early on in his career, with his speed and sharpness also evident.
But he will need all of that to go with Daniel Geale.
While Geale doesn’t necessarily have a lot of pop in his punches, they just don’t stop coming.
The reason he won the fight against Sturm was through the volume of punches thrown from bell to bell, round to round. When the bell sounded to end each round Geale was still throwing, and he simply wore Sturm down in his own backyard.
Geale is a fighter that is both smarter and more confident than the one who lost his IBO Middleweight world title back to Mundine in 2009.
He is patient and waits for his opportunities, unlike when he was dropped by Mundine last time when he hastily rushed forward early in the fight.
Geale used his angles well and has tightened his defence, which means Mundine will have to bring more to the table than the lightning jab, which has become Mundine’s only real weapon in recent years.
Geale has been in with the cream of the Middleweight division in recent times and is battled hardened with hard-fought twelve round slugfests in the bank.
If the fight is going to the later rounds, you’d be banking on Geale.
But Mundine’s best performances have been on the biggest occasions in his career.
Fights against Danny Green and Antwon Echols are case in point.
Always the showman, will Mundine rise to the occasion again?
Geale may have had the deer in the headlights look in 2009, but this time around Geale has become a seasoned campaigner having had a 2012 to rival some of the biggest names in boxing.
So who is it then?
Well, as much as I like picking roughies and then telling you all “I told you so” (Juan Manuel Marquez, anyone) I can’t go past Geale.
His performance against Sturm was simply all about willpower and a determination to not give in to defeat.
I do not know that after all his fights, and particularly the calibre of fighters Mundine has been in the ring with in recent times, that Mundine can go with Geale when the going gets tough.
Mundine is a very, very dangerous fighter come Wednesday night, but at this point in time in their careers I feel Geale is the better one.
Prediction – Geale by points decision.