Exclusive Interview with Steve Bunce: Talks Aussie Boxing and More

By Srithar Visuasam, Australia: Englandís Steve Bunce is one of the most charismatic, entertaining and opinionated boxing analysts in the world today. His thought provoking comments on the sport keep many a fight fan enthused leading up to a big bout. Bunce is the leading boxing expert on British network Setanta Sports and hosts the program Steve Bunceís Boxing Hour.

He took the time out to chat to Eastside Boxing about the state of Aussie boxing, the leading lights of Down Under along with his opinions and predictions for the biggest names on the world stage..

Eastside Boxing (ESB): Hi Steve, how do you see the world boxing scene at the moment? What are you most looking forward to for the remainder of the year?

Steve Bunce (SB): Lots of action. Hatton v Pacquiao: massive fight.

Watching De La Hoya, Mosley, Hopkins, the old stagers of the sport and seeing who they will fight.

Hoping that David Haye gets to fight one of the Klitschkos, whether it is staged in Kiev, Berlin or London Ė it doesnít matter. Vegas will be good; the yanks love to see a good heavyweight.

ESB: Thereís been talk that you have knocked Australian boxing as a whole and saying that itís not highly talent laden. Is there anything youíd like to clear up here?

SB: I didnít say there was a lack of talent; itís the amount of business. Itís about bulk. Dedicating a show [Steve Bunceís Boxing Hour] to Aussie boxing on a regular basis is hard with the level of activity in Australia. There are hundreds of shows [fight cards] in Europe and England a month. Australian business is not that busy. Boxing is a business.

There isnít simply enough to dedicate on a regular basis. If Geale was fighting Abraham or if Mundine was to fight Carl Froch, they would be mentioned on the show. If two Aussies are fighting for the Pan-Asian title, I canít mention them as many British fighters canít be mentioned as a result.

ESB: Iíll move on to a few specific names in Australian boxing and get your thoughts:

Vic Darchinyan holds the WBC, WBA and IBF world super flyweight titles.

Whatís the best fight out there for him and do you think he needs to beat Nonito Donaire to cast aside any lingering doubt about his ability as a fighter?

SB: The Donaire fight is a fight, though Iím not sure it can be made. Not sure if there is enough money available there for Donaire. Vic got a big plug on Setanta and I have big wraps for him. There are many guys out there for him.

ESB: Michael Katsidis is an all-action fighter and the British got to see this first hand in his war against Graham Earl in 2007 to win the Interim WBO lightweight title.

What are your thoughts of him as a fighter and secondly, what would your thoughts be on a fight between Michael and Amir Khan?

SB: Great fighter, loads of potential, great to watch.

Amir Khan would be kept as far away from Katsidis as possible. Katsidis is a proper lightweight who can punch hard. He [Khan] made that mistake against [Breidis] Prescott last September.

ESB: Anthony Mundine is the most talked about fighter in Australia. He comes from a successful career in rugby league and is a former two-time world super-middleweight champion.

How is Anthony perceived overseas and do the general public know much about him as a fighter?

SB: [Perceived] as a good fighter, is well known of. He will only need to come to a press conference and talk [for people to know about him]. He is a good talker, he has a great history in rugby league and his father was a great middleweight in the 70s. The only problem [in building his profile] is that heís doing it from half way across the world.

If you asked me to make a list of the top 10 boxers around the world that Iíd want on my show, Iíd put Anthony Mundine in there along with Mike Tyson.

ESB: Anthony Mundine has moved to middleweight and is the number one contender for the WBA title that Felix Sturm currently holds.

What do you believe his prospects are of defeating Sturm?

SB: You know what, he would bash Sturm. Sturm was lucky against [Sebastian] Sylvester. If Mundine goes to Germany, he can beat him.

ESB: How would he fare against Abraham and Pavlik?

SB: I think Abraham is underrated and Pavlik has his best years to come. Mundine might find that heís left it a couple of years late to beat these guys.

The questions he needs to answer: is he comfortable at the weight? Getting down to middleweight and at the same time traveling overseas?

However, to Mundineís credit, heís been there before and fought the big fights. He knows what making weight is like and the occasion.

ESB: Danny Green retired as reigning WBA light heavyweight champion just weeks before his first scheduled defense against Argentine Hugo Garay last April. He has now announced his return to boxing after 12 months out of the sport in a bid to take on Anthony Mundine sometime next year for an estimated AUD$5 million at light heavyweight.

How do you think Green would have fared against Garay and how do you think heíll go in a rematch against Mundine at his preferred weight?

SB: If he fought Hugo Garay, I think he wouldíve beaten him. Garay is a big puncher but I think Green wouldíve had him.

With three fights to come as warm ups, in twelve months, I would fancy Green [against Mundine]. I think the fact by that stage, with Mundine having a couple of hard fights at middleweight, that would be a factor.

For Danny, he has to make the weight, get his sharpness back and then he should be right.

ESB: Also, what are your general thoughts about the whole return from retirement by Danny Green Ė all for the money or for pure revenge on Mundine?

SB: A bit of both. If the money is in the bank, absolutely get it on.

Boxing is about money, itís not all about titles. I was reading about Buster Mathis Jr., he was undefeated for 20 fights before fighting Tyson. All he wanted was to fight Tyson Ė for the money and that he would be put in the stratosphere [of the sport] had he won. It didnít matter how much of a chance he had of winning.

When fighters say all they want is a title and glory Ė they are talking nonsense, they need a new manager. Itís about the money as thatís why they are professionals, otherwise stick to the Commonwealth Games.

ESB: Sakio Bika now has the IBO super middleweight title around his waist.

What are your thoughts on him as a fighter and who he should fight next?

SB: Love him, top fighter. He should chase the major super middles, Kessler, Bute, push the big blokes. Take on Andre Dirrell Ė though doubt he would accept the challenge.

ESB: How do you see a bout between him and WBC champ Carl Froch going?

SB: Frochyís a really good fighter. Is under-rated and would have too much movement for Sakio.

ESB: Joe Calzaghe has now retired from boxing. Do you think his legacy is really solidified in the history of the sport?

SB: What he has got over every single fighter is that he has done it for years and years. Was he better than John Conteh Ė no, or Barry McGuigan Ė no. But heís been at the top for much longer.

He did it for 10 years at the top. He beat a bunch of top fighters and a bunch of lousy fighters. He did it for year after year after years. There are half a dozen fighters better than Joe [in British history] but havenít done it for as long as Joe. You canít judge greatness on one fight.

ESB: Whoís the greatest fighter in British history?

SB: Joe Calzaghe, his longevity gives him the nod.

2nd would be [Prince] Naseem Hamed Ė just fell short against Barrera.

ESB: To finish up, just a few thoughts and predictions:

Floyd Mayweather Jr - Will he return and if so who should he fight?

SB: Back in the gym. Donít know whether he will, heís looking at offers presented. The winner of Hatton vs Pacquiao is the way to go. If Pacquiao wins, itís the only fight for him. If Hatton wins, it will be hard to sell [Mayweather defeated Hatton in Dec 07].

ESB: David Haye - Can he win a heavyweight title and defeat the Klitschkos?

SB: He can beat any heavyweight in the world on the chin and yes, can beat the Klitschkos.

ESB: Bernard Hopkins - Who should he fight next?

SB: Needs to weigh up his options. Heís been looking at [Tomasz] Adamek [IBF Cruiserweight Champion] Ė but he is too much risk for a fighter that is not that sexy enough.

Dawson is the fighter to go for if he beats Tarver in their rematch [May 2009]. Beat him, then retire.

ESB: Thanks for your time today Steve.

SB: Itís my pleasure, thanks boss man.

Article posted on 08.04.2009

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