Anthony Mundine: A Man’s Journey

05.05.04 - By Luke Dodemaide: Only four years ago Anthony ‘The Man’ Mundine was lacing up a pair of boots getting ready to represent St George Illawarra Dragons in Australia’s National Rugby League. Anthony Mundine was 24 and at the peak of his powers, newly crowned as the highest paid player in the game. But then to the astonishment of the Rugby world, ‘The Man’ walked out on the sport.

And without any amateur background or boxing experience, announced he would follow in his father’s footsteps, Tony Mundine, and pursue a career in professional boxing. Mundine was barraged with criticism but despite all the verbal bullets coming his way, he held firm and confidently announced that he ‘will become super middleweight world champion’…the media present that night looked on bemused.

Tomorrow night Anthony Mundine (20-1 ) will lace on boxing gloves and step into the ring for the twenty second time, but more importantly he will, for the second time, enter the ring as WBA super middleweight world champion.

Throughout Mundine’s career he has shown silky, smooth and speedy skills rarely seen in the ring. Mundine,28, has proved, without a doubt, that he is the most skilful fighter currently operating at 168 pounds.

Mundine is now to fight hard hitting Puerto Rican Manny Siaca, 28, (17 –4 ).

When announcing the fight at a press conference Mundine announced his new goal was to not only retain his title, but to unify the division. This time nobody laughed.

The Man is serious about his goals and is deadly serious about his next fight, he knows the danger of this fight, Siaca has fought for the world championship three times and has three times lost in extremely close fights.

Beating Siaca will not be any easier when considering Mundine also has a badly injured ankle, which forced not only the doctor, but his father to recommend to his son that he should not risk the fight and his ankle, and should look to reschedule the bout.

Mundine refused, since he went down in that sparring session last week, he has been determined to step in the ring and not have to postpone a fight as he did last year against Antwun Echols because he contracted the Flu.

While you can not deny Anthony has the skills to go all the way, his heart has been under some question. We saw in Germany three years ago against Ottke, Mundine can be knocked out. It must be said he is a better fighter now, but in saying that, it must also be admitted that while former undefeated super middleweight champion Sven Ottke is a skilful boxer, he does not hit as hard as Manny Siaca. In fact, Ottke only recorded six knockout in all of his thirty four fights.
Manny Siaca has recorded sixteen knockouts in only twenty one fights.

At the centre of the ring there is little doubt, Mundine will reign supreme, but the questions is, how will Mundine react if pressured onto the ropes? What about if gets hit with a big shot? Sure this guy has blinding speed and the beautiful footwork of a ballet dancer, but can he take a punch?
Mundine has answered many questions in his four years in the ring, but this is not one of them.

The only certainty is if Mundine is hit with a significant power shot tomorrow night, you can guarantee every person in the Sydney Entertainment Centre will be on the edge of their seats, watching and waiting for what is about to unfold.

In the seconds following this moment, if it is to arise, Mundine’s career can soar to unforseen heights, earning tremendous respect from the ,at times, sceptical Australian public, or he could repeat the Germany incident and deliver his critics infinite ammunition that will shoot Mundine’s career down to the ground.

Why I don’t completely dismiss the latter, tomorrow night, expect to see Anthony Mundine move and box his way to a twelve round decision. He simply is too slick and too skilful for Manny Siaca.

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Article posted on 05.05.2004

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