ON Wednesday night, Anthony Mundine continues his steady rise through the light-middleweight division, taking on credible challenger and former IBF welterweight titlist Joshua Clottey. The card, which takes place from the Newcastle Entertainment Centre, will feature several promising match-ups, including a fight that could potentially steal the show with Brad Pitt defending his OPBF cruiserweight strap against promising Kiwi David Aloua.
Aus-Boxing spoke to nine industry insiders and got their thoughts ahead of what should be an entertaining and evenly-matched night of professional boxing.
Ben Damon, MAIN EVENT
Pitt UD 12 Aloua (wide points or late stoppage): This is an enticing and exciting fight, and if the modern Australian sporting public had a greater exposure to boxing, and boxers, this is the type of bout that would be a Pay-Per-View headliner. Brad Pitt is possibly the most gifted boxer in Australia, and after walking away from the sport he signalled the intent of his return with a devastating knockout on the Geale-Wood undercard. David Aloua is cut from the same cloth – the perfectly built cruiserweight, with the power to match his physical presence.
In making a prediction for the fight I would say that Aloua’s best chance is to trouble Pitt early, before his nerves settle. Both these fighters should be content with 12 rounds, but as the fight wears on Pitt’s crashing left hook and precise right hand will loom.
Pitt will be intent on knocking Aloua out, as he continues his realistic quest for a World Title shot by the end of the year, but Aloua is not a man who will fall easily.
Mundine UD 12 Clottey: Firstly, I believe this is the right fight for Anthony Mundine at this time. He has a dream to win another world title belt at a third descending weight class. A win in this bout could place him in a position to fight to realise that, by taking him to the #1 spot in the WBA.
Additionally, Ghana’s Joshua Clottey is a ‘name’ in US boxing. Clottey stopped Zab Judah to win the IBF welterweight title in 2008. He lost a controversial split decision to Miguel Cotto in 2009. Then in 2010 he ‘fought dead’ against Manny Pacquiao, and in the four years since then he has had just two fights, citing management problems.
This is a boxer who has never been stopped and who has only ever lost against world champions, but the question is whether the 36-year-old still has the fight within him. In dealing with Clottey and Mundine in the lead-up to this bout it has been noticeable that it is Mundine who possesses the greater intensity. Clottey has been to the big stage before, but now more than ever Mundine feels he has unfinished business.
Also, it is a constant now for Mundine that a loss signals the end of the road. Most notably, Mundine is a super-middleweight who fights down in weight. Clottey is a welterweight fighting up. There is seven centimetres of height between them and a heap of size. Mundine by decision for me.
Grantlee Kieza, Courier Mail
Pitt W 12 Aloua: This is a real cracker of a match-up and could be a main event on any card. I first saw Pitt fight in the lead-up to the 2006 Commonwealth Games and then covered his bouts there on his way to the Melbourne gold medal. He’s a quality fighter; a good boxer with plenty of power as he showed demolishing Daniel Ammann in just two rounds.
Ammann outpointed Aloua two years later but David has looked good beating Mosese Sorovi and Junior Iakopo in his two fights since. He will have to be at his very best to be a chance with Pitt, who is on a roll and looks world class.
Mundine W 12 Clottey: Anthony Mundine should be too big, too fast and too fight fit for Ghana’s Joshua Clottey, who has had just one fight in two and a half years and who is best known for two brave defeats. Clottey continues a familiar refrain from Mundine to find big name fighters past their best in the mould of Shane Mosley and his aching back.
The African was a pretty handy fighter in his heyday, good enough to beat Zab Judah six years ago and to push Miguel Cotto to a split decision a year later. He went 12 rounds with Manny Pacquiao in his next fight but it was a stinker as he refused to come out from behind those high gloves. With just one victory since 2011 – and that over a guy with a 50/50 record – you wonder if this trip is about Clottey’s eye of the tiger or a top-up for his superannuation fund.
Adam Wilcock, Manager/Promoter
Pitt UD 12 Aloua: The biggest test of Pitt so far. Aloua is a massive talent but was taught a lesson last time up on the big stage when out boxed by Ammann. Whilst he’ll be far better for that experience, he’s only had two pretty routine fights since that, which surely won’t be enough to bridge the class gap and prepare for Australia’s top cruiserweight.
Pitt needs to step up to some bigger fights to maximize his undoubted potential, this is hopefully the first step.
Mundine UD 12 Clottey: I think if it was the Clottey of three years ago, this is a different fight. But only one fight in only three years against the limited Dashon Johnson has to mean this is a different fighter to the one that fought Cotto and Pacman.
Clottey’s camp were fishing around for fights in early January so he’ll be fit and ready to go. I can’t see Mundine losing but don’t think he has the power to stop the tough African.
Brendan Bourke, Manager/Agent
Aloua TKO 10 Pitt: Brad has the class and edge in technique and punching power, Aloua has heart and a good chin. Look for Aloua to guard up early taking Pitt into the later rounds.
My heart says Aloua, my brain says Pitt. Despite being behind on the cards Aloua will catch Pitt late. Aloua by stoppage in a big upset.
Mundine UD 12 Clottey: Mundine is like a cat with nine lives and a good bottle of red that matures with age. Clotteys best moments will be when Mundine takes a break on the inside.
However, Mundine will use a combination of footwork, speed and angles to out point a game Clottey over twelve rounds.
Lincoln Hudson, Trainer
Pitt KO Aloua: A great fight between the two best cruiserweights in the country and both are Commonwealth Games medalists. Pitt will have too much power for Aloua, even with the long time between fights.
I think Pitt will have an early night and jump forward leaps and bounds in his quest for a world title.
Mundine late TKO Clottey: Mundine has slowly started to find his range and power at light-middleweight, keeping in mind his long-term injury problems with his hip as well as his chronic pain management.
Mundine is starting to look much stronger with every fight.
There has been too much time between fights for Clottey and for this reason, I think Mundine stops him late.
Sam Labruna, Trainer
Aloua W 12 Pitt: As a team we have done work with both guys and they are true gentlemen of boxing. I’m happy for both guys agreeing to fight each other it’s a credit to them and the sport.
Now, I will put the coaches hat on and say Aloua needs to get past Pitt’s jab from the get go press him in direction and pressure, if he gives Pitt no room and works body to overhand shots, he’s in for a good night. Pitt needs to come to this fight and not compromise distance, he needs to hold Aloua at the end of his jab and pick him off on the outside till he can create the openings to deliver the big shots, two great guys.
Clottey TKO 10 Mundine: In my opinion, Mundine will be too fast and his movement won’t allow Clottey to set early on. But I’m not convinced with Mundine’s defence and I believe Clottey will catch up with him in later rounds but I will be barracking for Mundine.
Gareth Williams, Trainer
Pitt W 12 Aloua: I believe Brad Pitt will win due to his sound boxing fundamentals from his amateur days. Pitt is very well schooled and his punching power is world class.
Mundine w 12 Clottey: I’m swinging towards Choc, through his constant activity over his career. I know Clottey is a class act and has fought the world’s best but so has Mundine. Guys like Ottke, Kessler, Echols,Green and Geale to name a few aren’t exactly chumps.
Mundine’s best fights are on the big stage and I believe he will win this fight.
Billy Dib, former IBF featherweight champion
Pitt W 12 Aloua: It’s hard to look past Pitt in this one, although Aloua is as hard as they come. This one will be a hard fought battle.
Mundine TKO Clottey: Mundine has shown great form in his recent fights, Clottey has been quiet inactive in saying that he is a top fighter. I believe size will be the difference as a good big man will always beat a good little man.
Will Tomlinson, former IBO super featherweight champion
Pitt TKO 8 Aloua: This has the look of a great fight. Pitt is the type of fighter that rises to the occasion and shows his class against better opponents.
I think a combination of his speed, power and combinations will prove to be far too much for Aloua.
Mundine UD 12 Clottey: I think Mundine will get the job done on points. He always seems to be able to do just enough to get the win and I think this fight will be no different.
However, Clottey has the ability to make it quite difficult for Mundine – it’ll just depend on how much he wants it.
Photos: Getty Images/Reuters/Photography by Rockfingrz