By Paul Upham at ringside: Former WBA super middleweight and IBO middleweight boxing world champion Anthony “The Man” Mundine won a relatively easy twelve round points decision over Robert Medley on Monday night at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, even if it was not reflected on the official scorecards.
34 year-old Mundine 38-3 (23), won the regional WBA International title, in a fight that was originally to be held at junior middleweight. Mundine cited a dispute with the IBO as the reason for the late change. Others suggested he simply could not make the 154lbs weight for the first time.
Against Medley, Mundine fought better than expected. Overcoming hip and groin injuries that will now send him to hospital surgery and time out of the ring. But of greater concern is Mundine’s own post-fight admission that the seemingly endless run of mid to lower level opponents he has been facing is beginning to take its toll both mentally and emotionally.
“I have to step up now,” Mundine pleaded. “It is hard to get up for these fights. These guys are fighting for everything. For me, it is hard to get up. When I get a real challenge, that is when my best will come out.”
28 year-old Medley 27-3 (17) from Oakdale, NSW had only previously lost twice to South African Isaac Hlatshwayo in 2007 and 2008, for the IBO welterweight world title. He was moving up above his best weight and in the end, it made a big difference.
Mundine came out in round 1 with much more aggression than he had used in recent fights. Medley used head movement with his back on the ropes to make Mundine miss, but while they were close in height, Medley did not have the same physical presence and pop on his punches as Mundine.
Round 2, was a much better one for Medley. He used his jab effectively and scored well to win the stanza. There were some entertaining exchanges, which Medley dominated.
It was a forceful round 3 for Mundine, who regained control of the fight. Medley was making Mundine miss and then countering, but it wasn’t enough to give him the round. Whenever Medley was hit, he immediately responded with his own punches, trying to regain the initiative.
Mundine was winning the exchanges in round 4. Medley kept coming back, but “The Man” was more consistent. Medley was hit with a clean right hand to the body in round 5 and dropped to the bottom rope. He quickly regained his balance and the referee did not rule a knockdown.
Round 6, was a dominant one for Mundine, who was now working Medley over consistently. There were some nice rallies from Medley in the 7th, but Mundine still won the round. A comfortable Mundine began to play to the crowd with some exaggerated body movement when he was tagged.
Mundine came out in round 8 with renewed purpose looking to knock Medley out. Possibly stung by recent criticism over his lack of knockout wins, with eight fights now without a stoppage victory.
In round 9, Mundine was down from a slip on the wet canvas and the crowd of around 6,000 people roared. Medley then slipped in the same place. Mundine was walking forward unconcerned about Medley’s power by now. The well-tattooed miner would use his quick jab to catch Mundine’s attention on occasions, but overall his punches were ineffective. A right hand from Medley landed cleanly on Mundine’s chin and he only flinched.
There was a similar pattern in round 10. Mundine was punching stronger with Medley winning some of the exchanges, but not the majority. Medley won the final exchange of the round, which seemed to infuriate Mundine who liked to finish with a flurry.
Medley showing toughness in round 11 to take all of Mundine’s punches and still keep throwing in return. Medley was just missing the extra punching zip needed at middleweight to hurt Mundine.
In round 12, Medley landed a strong right hand. Later, Mundine was hit and pretended to be hurt, which fooled the crowd, as he attempted to trick Medley.
Mundine dominated throughout and was amazed at the closeness of the scores on the official cards. The judges scored the fight 117-113, 117-115 and 117-112 for Mundine.
Judge Gary Dean’s score of 117-115 for Mundine included four drawn rounds. In total, the three judges carded seven even rounds, which is simply unacceptable for a fight with the winner of each stanza so easily discernable.
This reporter had Mundine winning 117-111, with not an even round to be seen.
“He came ready to fight, but I am the superior fighter,” Mundine said in the ring after the win. “I don’t know what the judges were doing. I landed all of the good shots. I would have liked to get him out of there, but he showed with his preparation, that he was ready to fight. But it was a shut out man. It was a shut out.”
The last time Mundine knocked out an opponent was in December 2007 and he defended suggestions that he has lost his power as he ages towards his mid-30’s.
“I haven’t had (a knockout) for a while,” he conceded. “But there is nothing wrong with my strength and nothing wrong with my power. It is just the timing. The punches are not landing in the right spot. I think I tried a little too hard tonight. I wanted to knock him out, instead of taking my time, looking sharp and crisp.”
The co-main event to Mundine-Medley was the live final of The Contender Australia tournament between Kariz Kariuki and Garth Wood at super middleweight. Wood winning a split decision over seven rounds.
As part of his prize, Wood won a guaranteed fight with Mundine later in 2010.
“Garth is a good guy and a friend of mine,” said Mundine. “It is going to be hard to fight him. It is a business and that’s what we have to do.”
junior middleweight Peter Mitrevski Jr w pts 6 Jakkirt Suwunnalirt
super middleweight Junior Talipeau drew tec dec 1 Nader Hamdan
heavyweight Scott Lewis w tko 3 Carl Webb
super middleweight Peter Kazzi drew tec dec 1 Chokchana Sithkrupon
middleweight Renold Quinlan w tko 2 Mick Porter
January 11, 2010