Daniel Geale and the middleweight title picture

Charles Paisley Roar Rookie

By Charles Paisley, Charles Paisley is a Roar Rookie

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    I’m not your average Australian boxing fan. I’m not waiting in anticipation to see if Barry Hall will get the gloves on or champing at the bit to see the next Sonny Bill Williams fight.

    I also don’t care at all about who Anthony Mundine just talked about fighting. If you’re in Australia, that’s basically as far as the news stories go when it comes to boxing.

    The only Australian boxer worth reporting on at the moment is Daniel Geale.

    Geale has tested himself against some of the better guys in the world and, apart from a bogus decision loss to Mundine, he’s won all his fights convincingly.

    Boxing isn’t an easy sport to follow and I understand why many aren’t into it. It’s the only sport where five or six guys can claim they are the best in the world and none of them ever have to prove it against one another. Top that off with the fact that no one reports on it except if something controversial happens and the potential to attract new fans often dies off.

    Two weeks ago when Daniel Geale (IBF middleweight title holder) and the only other legitimate Australian world titlist Billy Dib (IBF featherweight title holder) defended their belts on the same card there was attention, but the last two weekends when the real number one fighters in those respective divisions defended their belts there was nothing.

    Two weekends ago Orlando Salido and Juan Manuel Lopez went to war in a rematch of one of last year’s better fights, with Salido again coming home strong to score a dramatic late knockout.

    Last Saturday, world middleweight champion and top five pound-for-pound fighter Sergio Martinez put his belt on the line against Matthew Macklin, coming back from a slow start to also score a dramatic late knockout.

    Sure the fights were shown on pay per view channel Main Event, but the casual fan isn’t going to pay money to watch guys they’ve never heard of.

    The sad fact is that both is both were highly entertaining fights that weren’t then smeared by ear bitings or loaded hand wraps or failed drug tests or post fight brawls or what have you.

    No, two guys got in the ring, they fought their hearts out, it was fun, it was entertaining but that’s not good enough to report. Instead the ‘retirement’ of Barry Hall makes boxing headlines.

    Anyway, back to the point, which is Daniel Geale and where he stands in the middleweight title picture. Sure he holds a world title but he is not the best in the world. Geale knows this, he’s said it a few times before and it seems like he’s actually looking to do what the likes of Anthony Mundine and Danny Green didn’t do and prove it.

    Whether he does or does not fight the best remains to be seen but if he wants to these are the men he will be looking to take on:

    #1- Sergio Martinez (world middleweight champion)

    Argentina’s Sergio Martinez is the world middleweight champion yet he currently holds no sanctioning body world title belt. The fact is Martinez beat the man who beat the man who beat the man.

    In 2010 he outpointed Kelly Pavlik, who had knocked out Jermain Taylor, who outpointed Bernard Hopkins, who had unified the world titles when he knocked out Felix Trinidad back in 2001. Until he is beaten or leaves the weight class, Martinez is the man.

    Martinez is a highly athletic, highly unorthodox southpaw fighter. He defies boxing logic by fighting with his hands by his waist and repeatedly circling what is considered the wrong way to circle for a southpaw fighter – into the straight right hand of an orthodox stance fighter.

    Martinez has ridiculous reflexes and an uncanny ability to produce power into short counter punches. In 2010 in his first title defence against Paul Williams, the last man to beat him, he knocked out cold the man who had gone to war with him 12 months prior with one left hand.

    Since then he’s defended his title three more times, with all three coming inside the distance. Last year he knocked out Sergiy Dzinziruk and Britain’s Darren Barker and just last Saturday he came back from a slow start to take out another British fighter Matthew Macklin.

    Martinez is the man Geale has to beat to prove he is the best middleweight in the world. Geale has as good a chance as anyone at this weight against Martinez. Geale is a very textbook boxer with good movement, two traits Martinez has had trouble with in the past.

    The big question in this fight would be how Geale’s stamina would stand up against the incredibly durable Martinez, and also if Geale could avoid the counter punches. Martinez is the type of fighter who turns the momentum of one or two decent rounds into a landslide. Once he has that upper hand his confidence increases and he closes the show.

    #2 Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr. (WBC middleweight titlist)

    The son of the legendary Julio Cesar Chavez (who once fought Kostya Tszyu but is better known for winning titles at junior lightweight, lightweight and welterweight as well as going nearly 100 fights before losing his first professional fight), Junior is turning into a fine boxer himself.

    Chavez fights similar to his father in that he likes to put pressure on and work the body to slow his opponents down later in the fight. Whether or not he has the heart and durability of his father remains to be seen as he’s yet to take on elite competition but the one thing he certainly has is popularity. A potential fight between Chavez Jnr. and fellow Mexican junior middleweight titlist Saul Alvarez is the second most anticipated fight in boxing behind Mayweather vs Pacquiao.

    I honestly think Geale would have an easy time with Chavez. His footwork would be too good and he’d be able to get in and out on the younger fighter with ease. Chavez learnt his trade in the pro ranks and is still learning fundamentals but is improving fast under trainer Freddie Roach.

    Chavez has been on the receiving end of some close decisions and whether Geale could get a fair shake on what would have to be a pro-Chavez setting in order for the fight to take place remains to be seen.

    #3 Felix Sturm (WBA middleweight titlist)

    Germany’s Felix Sturm came onto the scene when he was brought in to be an easy beat for an Oscar De la Hoya who was looking to set up a mega-fight with Bernard Hopkins. Sturm instead gave Oscar all he could handle for 12 rounds before losing a disputed decision.

    He’s since won and lost the WBA title, avenging all blemishes on his record, bar the De la Hoya fight and his most recent outing, a draw with British fighter Martin Murray. Sturm holds wins over Australian Jamie Pittman as well as Sebastian Sylvester, the man who Geale dethroned to become champion, and a controversial decision over Matthew Macklin in a fight that many thought Macklin won convincingly (I thought it could have gone either way).

    Sturm is your typical European fighter, hands high, tight defence and good clean counter punches, although he’s a lot better than Sylvester as proved by his one sided decision win over him in 2008. Sturm has a very solid jab which he used to great effect against De la Hoya but he has a habit of being lazy in fights and sometimes not coming into fights in the best of shape.

    Geale would start favourite over Sturm in my opinion, although if the fight was in Germany Geale might not get lucky twice when it comes to getting judges’ decisions. Sturm next takes on Sebasitan Zbik, who gave Chavez jnr. one of his tougher outings last year.

    #4 Dmitry Pirog (WBO middleweight titlist)

    Pirog missed the opportunity to capitalise on the highlight reel one punch knockout over Daniel Jacobs in Las Vegas that won him his belt, having only defended his title in his home country of Russia since.

    Pirog is another unorthodox fighter. Standing at 6’1, he has a significant height advantage over his opponents but often neglects it by stalking his opponents and forcing them to fight on the inside. Pirog is a highly skilled boxer with a solid amateur background and a dangerous fight for anyone at middleweight.

    With his reluctance to fight outside of Russia since winning the title, making a fight with him could prove difficult.

    The Rest

    Other potential opponents include former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor, who is on the comeback trail after a series of brutal knockout losses. Taylor has returned to the middleweight ranks and in terms of name value could get Geale better known in the USA.

    Taylor could prove a handful if he could shake the confidence issues that resulted in the knockout losses. He has a world class jab and uses it well against good boxers like Geale. Taylor has lots of trouble against strong fighters who can take his shots and get him into the later rounds.

    Also on the cards could be the British trio of Darren Barker, Matthew Macklin and Martin Murray. All three have stepped up to world level in recent times and would make for credible opponents.

    Then there’s still the stink on the record that is the Mundine loss. A win in a rematch over Mundine, which at this point in their respective careers is as foregone a conclusion as you could ever have in a boxing match, would potentially take Geale to the level that Mundine and Green have/were on.

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    The Crowd Says (11)

    • March 20th 2012 @ 9:00am
      darren said | March 20th 2012 @ 9:00am | ! Report

      if it was anyone but mundine they wouldnt of classed it as ”controversial”!!…..OH and who exactly has geale ever fought???…a chump that never fights out of germany….mundine deserves some criticism over not taking better fights but danny green in his prime and flogging him and every other aussie fighter we have and beaten them all!!…so if u had a family to support and to make them secure in your line of work u wouldnt take some easier jobs til u rose to the top???…..mundine 10th ever fight goes to germany and fights ottke who had over 300 amatuer fights and never lost as a pro and u guys knock him????….grab your pie….tell your mrs to go down the bottle- o and stock up on the beer coz its more arm chair criticising for u chump!!

    • Roar Guru

      March 20th 2012 @ 10:02am
      Alan Nicolea said | March 20th 2012 @ 10:02am | ! Report

      This is a good article Charles. Geale has to beat Martinez to be proclaimed the best middleweight on the planet. I watched Martinez’s recent fights and he seems to have the measure of everybody at the moment. That said, everytime he fights now, he seems to always have one eye on the future and this sometimes allows him to lose focus in his fights, particularly against Macklin in the middle rounds. Once he gets his head together however, Martinez is a beast. Unfortunetly for Geale, Martinez has firmly set his sights on Mayweather and Cesar Chavez Junior. I don’ t think that fighting Geale has crossed his mind yet. If Geale does fight Martinez, it would be one of Australia’s biggest ever boxing matches. I think Martinez would have his measure though. I also agree about boxing’s media coverage here. Martinez’s fight failed to get a mention while Barry Hall’s retirement makes news. Seriously?

      • Roar Rookie

        March 20th 2012 @ 1:34pm
        Charles Paisley said | March 20th 2012 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

        Yeah if Geale could get a shot at Martinez it would be like when Hector Thompson fought Roberto Duran, or Tony Mundine fought Carlos Monzon or Paul Ferreri fought Carlos Zarate, although maybe not on that level because the three champions I mentioned there were all time greats in their respective divisions whereas Martinez has a long way to go before he can be in the same class as those three, but yeah it would be a massive fight for Australian boxing. Geale can continue with the safe option, make a lot of money down here fighting fringe contenders or he can take a risk and try and become a bonafide star in boxing by trying to dethrone the middleweight champion.
        Mayweather will be out until at least November and I doubt Chavez’ people will let him near Martinez, they’ll find another loophole for him to keep his belt and not have to fight Sergio and other then that there isn’t a lot for Martinez to fight, so why not Geale? He’s currently ranked as the #2 middleweight in the world behind Martinez in ring magazine (although I agree with Dane that Pirog is probably the 2nd best in the world right now) which is something in itself to be proud of. If he can make that fight then I’d like to see some of the criticisms that the Mundine fanatics would come up with.

    • March 20th 2012 @ 10:55am
      howard said | March 20th 2012 @ 10:55am | ! Report

      Martinez offered to fight Geale last year but Gary Shaw (Geales manager) said Geale wasn’t ready. Seriously how is Geale any different to Mundine or Green? he says he wants to fight the best drops the big names then takes the easy fights. He rejected Mundines challenge when he won the belt saying he wanted to fight better boxers then fought #69 Albert and #18 Adama. Truth is Geale hasn’t beaten anyone yet, his biggest win Sylvester lost his next fight in 3 rounds to a guy called Proksa. Proksa lost recently to a nobody called Kery Hope who was fighting his first 12 rounder and has just one KO from 17 wins. Expect Geale to fight someone from the bottom end of the IBF’s top 15 with a world ranking no better than 50. Let’s face it Geale is riding this wave of popularity created by the countries general dislike of Anthony Mundine just like Green did.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 20th 2012 @ 1:24pm
        Charles Paisley said | March 20th 2012 @ 1:24pm | ! Report

        Out of all of Mundine’s successful super middleweight title defences his best win was over Sam Soliman who he had already beaten twice before and who had done nothing to earn a 3rd crack at him. The rest of his opponents were domestic level fighters from other countries who hadn’t been tested on the world stage. As for his “world titles”in other weight divisions, they were paper titles defended against domestic level Australian fighters, so in essence Mundine was the Australian middleweight champion claiming to be world champion. They don’t count.
        Geale has made two defences, one of them over a mandatory challenger, after he defeated a highly ranked opponent in a title eliminator to EARN his title shot and then went to the champions backyard and took the belt from him. I’m not saying he’s already cemented his legacy as a legend or anything ridiculous like that but so far he seems to be a breath of fresh air for Australian boxing, someone who is fighting good fighters and beatening them and then looking to fight better ones. Mundine won two paper titles at super middleweight, ducked any real challengers, ducked mandatory challengers, then ran down in weight divisions when he had run as far as he could. Then he sold what he was doing as an achievement.
        I never proclaimed that Geale is fighting and beating the best in the world. I said he’s in a position to do so and if it turns out that he fights another fringe contender (not that his last fight was, his last fight he fought the mandatory challenger) then I’ll be the first to criticise him.

    • March 20th 2012 @ 12:36pm
      dane said | March 20th 2012 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

      if your a boxing fan and watch all the fights you will know that its dimitry pirog and sergio martinez are the 2 best middle weights.sergio doesnt want to fight dimitry because theres no money in it . dimitry went to the states to get a fight but no on wanted to challenge for his title.now dimitry went back to russia desperate to fight and has set a date to fight .but has no challenger .it would be a perfect opportunity for geale to make a name for himself against probably the most skilled middle weight in the game (may be not the best middle weight thats martinez) although it would probably be easier fighting in tasmania against mudine or a 15th ranked challenger. and no the mundine vs geale fight was not a bogus decision watch the fight again , it was right on the line . mundine being the name fighter rightly got the benifite. titlles are mostly bs . respect to both guys for an awsome fight. mundine is fighting rapid ageing a host of injuries and a style that always goes to the score cards .was australias best boxer but geale is the real deal and i hope he takes it overseas cause hes a top fighter.

      • Roar Rookie

        March 20th 2012 @ 1:27pm
        Charles Paisley said | March 20th 2012 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

        Watch the Mundine-Geale fight with the moronic ramblings of Andy Raymond and Barry Michael turned off and score the fight for what it is, trust me it’s a completely different fight. If you can still find more then four rounds to give Mundine then let me know and I’ll rewatch it myself. Last time I checked the fight is still on youtube. Completely different fight with the sound off.

    • March 20th 2012 @ 1:10pm
      jack said | March 20th 2012 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

      geale better/more legitimate than mundine??!!! yeah right!!! just look at all the no names geale has fought so far on wikipedia. mundines record definitely has more big names and cred. lets not forget the bigger picture: mundine became a boxer at like 25, while geale has always been boxing, yet mundine has fought way more and won many different weight division belts. many people forget that. people should at least be honest and admit that mundine is a supreme athlete who has achieved greatly in the sporting arena. you may not like him personally but you cant brush his accomplishments aside.

    • March 20th 2012 @ 6:12pm
      sam t said | March 20th 2012 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

      Geale should fight Sam Soliman, Sam is now ranked #10 that’s a lot higher than Adama, Karmazin, Albert and Sylvester. Mundine is the only man to knock Soliman out, even Winky Wright couldn’t, let’s see how Geale goes at least we’ll be able to judge how good he really is, beating Adama and Albert tells us nothing. Charles you do realise missed punches don’t count on the scorecard. Why is it only Mundine haters that think Geale was robbed? They said the same about the first Soliman fight and what happened in the rematch KO. This is why Geale is dodging Mundine fear of being KO’d he’s already been sat on his backside once by Mundine.

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