Anthony Mundine (46-6, 27KOs) is an unmitigated star in Australia to the point of being named one of the most polarizing athletes in the land down under. Yet, here in the States he is able to get work done under a lower profile with less recognition and less media stalking. Perhaps that is why Mundine, who’s looking to revitalize his career with a win over the young, hungry and undefeated Sergey Rabchenko (25-0-0, 18KOs), recently chose American soil as an ideal work sojourn to get back to basics and revitalize his career.
“I went to Oxnard. Was at (Robert Garcia’s) gym there. I sparred with worked with (Marco Antonio) Rubio. He’s doing good,” Mundine said. “Then I went down to Top Rank in Vegas for the week and now I’m the last week in LA. I’ve come to Freddie’s (Wild Card Gym). It’s always a lot of work here… I finish it off here and go back to Australia and I’ve got seven weeks to go and get ready.”
Despite his recent loss to Joshua Clottey (38-4, 22KOs) to the effect of being knocked down a total of five times, Mundine is certainly nobody’s slouch. With wins in professional boxing over the best of the best in Australia and beyond, including the likes of Sam Soliman, Shane Mosley and Daniel Geale, Mundine has been, quite as his moniker suggests, “The Man”.
Currently though, the very real heat that Mundine faces is the threat of being exposed as once great but a quickly to be felled has been. Mundine’s promoter Brian Amatruda has intimated quite publicly that another loss for Mundine should signal the end of an era in Australian boxing with Mundine putting up his gloves for good.
In answer, Mundine has been crystal clear in the Australian press that despite a few correctable missteps he is still “The Man” and will prove it on November 12, 2014 when he battles Rabchenko in Australia at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena.
“This legacy is about to go to a whole new level,” Mundine boasted. “There is no doubt in my mind that I’ll be victorious against Rabchenko… I don’t want to have the mentality of hurting him. If I can kill him, I want to kill him.”
Mentality is everything indeed – especially for an inveterate hard talker like Mundine. However in catching up with him last month in Los Angeles, perhaps the change in scenery had Mundine more contemplative than stock answer vicious. On site at The Wild Card Gym, it was more of a focused, quick to self-flagellate perfectionism that defined the discourse versus a self-aggrandizing swagger. In short, Mundine believes that he can be the better man in his upcoming bout versus Rabchenko but it would appear that he knows that serious changes need to be made to correct the mental and physical disconnect that was displayed in his loss to Clottey in April.
“I was getting caught with shots that I never get caught with and I think that’s due to not paying attention to detail as far as the training,” he said. “There are three fights that I didn’t turn up mentally for in my career and that last fight was one of them.”
Not one to take himself off of the hook, Mundine went further in expressing dismay at his last performance and his resolve to return to the person that he has been in the ring no matter what the cost or the expense. If that cost is substituting ready fame with a return to basics and focus in the relative obscurity of Southern California and Nevada, it would appear that Mundine is willing and hungry enough to make the sacrifice.
“Sometimes you just get carried away by yourself,” he reflected. “Not doing the minor things that you need to do in order to stay competitive and win at this level… I’m just being much more aware as far as where my hands are at all times being a lot more concentrated during a spar or during training… psychologically…I want to do it …I’m pretty much known for my defense…it can be impregnable so that’s where I want to be… I want to come back and I’ve got an opportunity.”
As for Belarusian opponent Rabchenko, and his trainer Ricky Hatton, neither fighter nor coach are taking Mundine lightly. Both realize that Mundine has fought and conquered the best with much skill and fanfare. However, with regard to their scheduled November battle they claim that no matter which Mundine shows up in the ring that night, the determined heavier-handed Rabchenko will simply be too much for “The Man” looking to reestablish himself in his own home of Melbourne, Australia and silence the haters and the doubters.
“Mundine is something of a celebrity in Australia,” Hatton said. “This is easily his toughest fight so far… I just think Sergey will have to too much for him”
So, will it be the young gun or the practiced head hunter who rises stained with the blood of their vanquished prey in the embodiment of a silver tinged win at the Hisense Arena on November 12th?