Anthony Mundine: Conquering the World via South America

Anthony MundineBy Srithar Visuasam: Three time, two division world champion Anthony Mundine (38-3, 23 KOs) yesterday announced his next fight scheduled for 30 June 2010 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, Australia. His opponent will be Argentine Jorge Daniel Miranda (36-8, 13 KOs) for the WBA International light middleweight title.

The fight will be Mundine’s first at the junior middleweight limit of 154 pounds, a move down from his current location at middleweight and 2 divisions and 14 pounds south of the super middleweight division where he’s largely competed over the course of his career.

Having achieved world titles at both super middleweight and middleweight, Mundine is looking to achieve this feat in a third weight division. If he does this, he will be the first fighter in boxing history to win world titles in three consecutive descending weight divisions, i.e. super middleweight to middleweight to junior middleweight..

Achieving this goal would be a historic and unprecedented achievement for the 35 year old Mundine. However, based on his choice in opponent yesterday, the route in which this road to history is likely to be achieved appears set to be far from the most exciting.

His opponent, Jorge Daniel Miranda, is the latest in a long list of journeyman foes that have come out of South America. The issue not being their region of origin, largely their fighting credentials and virtually unknown international boxing profile. Fighters who hold professional records that possess barely any credible international scalps to their name. In the case of Miranda, most of his eight losses have been to fighters who have barely scratched the global scene.

Come June 30, Miranda will be the sixth opponent of South American origin within Mundine’s past 13 fights, with the other seven constituting of six fellow Australians and Crazy Kim of Japan. These names include Rafael Sosa Pintos, Alejandro Gustavo Falliga and Pablo Zamora Nievas amongst this bunch. Fighters that have barely qualified for a top 15 major sanctioning body ranking who hold little profile within their respective divisions, far from a Sergio Martinez or Yonnhy Perez.

Furthermore, upon looking at the records of these foes post their fights with Mundine, they have not proceeded to develop into world class fighters.

The reason Team Mundine seem to get away with this is that Anthony Mundine can sell a fight off the back of his own name and don’t need to take the risk of a well regarded fighter who will demand more cash to come out to Australia and fight. Therefore, for a risk – reward strategy, it makes perfect sense.

The problem is that following each fight, Mundine keeps promising to his fans and the wider public that a big fight is just around the corner. Over recent years names such as Calzaghe, Kessler, Hopkins, Winky Wright, Sturm, Pavlik and now the most ambitious of them all, Floyd Mayweather Jr, have been called out and bandied around.

However, after close to 10 years in the professional arena, Mundine has yet to fight in the United States and has only fought in Europe once. That one time was in November 2001 against IBF super middleweight champion Sven Ottke, when he was a rookie in the sport, less than 18 months into his career.

He continually states that he can’t get the big names as he presents a big risk and little reward for the major name fighters. The irony of this statement is by fighting a Pablo Zamora Nievas or a Jorge Daniel Miranda, why would you be in the radar of a Bernard Hopkins or Floyd Mayweather?

After being in the game almost 10 years, Team Mundine must realise their time for action is now. At almost every fight announcement, a big fight is promised very soon but little comes to fruition. They stated that Kelly Pavlik pulled out of a proposed fight in April at the last minute. Assuming that was true, it is an unlucky and a frustrating experience, but substituting Kelly Pavlik with a Jorge Daniel Miranda is far from a comparable deal.

Promoter Khoder Nasser must cease calling upon these non-descript fighters to battle, who bring virtually nothing to the table as far as career progression goes.

In recent fights, Mundine has appeared post fight to be frustrated with fighting the guys that have been put in front of him. Surely he must be keen to tackle the bigger names that he certainly has the talent and ability to defeat. Yesterday, he announced his renewed vigour to the fight game, which he partly attributes to his stint at Freddie Roach’s wildcard gym in April, where he stated that he wowed many in attendance with his skill and application after entering the gym as a relative unknown.

The likely next step appears a fight with interim WBA junior middleweight champion Nobuhiro Ishida (22-5-2, 7 KOs), who sits below full WBA champion Yuri Foreman. Ishida has already lost twice to Crazy Kim, who Mundine comfortably defeated (despite being knocked down) close to two years ago.

Should Mundine fight and defeat Ishida, what is the chance of him enter the ring with either Yuri Foreman or Miguel Cotto (who fight this weekend)? Based on previous form - unlikely, bordering on fanciful.

Despite dividing public opinion, Anthony Mundine has a very strong fan base down under, which has seen every bout in his 41 fight career to date be shown on pay-per-view, which is quite an extraordinary achievement. People like to watch Mundine whether they like him or not and most that choose not to like him seem to at least respect his ability.

From being a highly successful rugby league player in Australia and switching sports at the age of 25 with only 4 amateur fights experience, Anthony Mundine has had a very successful career in the sport of boxing, punctuated by his three world titles in two weight divisions. He has felt at home and succeeded on the big stage. However, the world has yet to see the best of Anthony Mundine and he needs to now show with actions his willingness to fight the best in the world.

Let’s hope after this bout against Miranda on June 30, the fights he takes on represent good value for all parties concerned and that these big ticket fights are made.

Article posted on 03.06.2010

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