SOME say he is a controversial self promoter, while others say he is the greatest all-round athlete to ever compete in Australia. Say what you will about Anthony Mundine, but more often than not, you know when he is in a fight.
This will be no different tonight, when the former two-division title holder defends his recently acquired WBA International light-middleweight title against former IBF welterweight titlist in Ghanian Joshua Clottey (37-4, 22 KOs) from the Newcastle Entertainment Centre.
“Clottey is a very creditable opponent and is world class. He has fought and beat some of the best in boxing – if I beat him it’ll bring me other big names.” said Mundine in an exclusive interview with Aus-Boxing.
Currently rated second by in the light-middleweight division by the WBA, courtesy of quickly acquired back-to-back wins over Gunnar Jackson and Shane Mosley, Mundine (46-5, 27 KOs), 38, is attempting to complete the difficult task of winning title belts in three divisions descending.
The well-publicised goal of Mundine and his team is to draw bigger name opponents into fights, whether it be the much maligned goal of Mayweather – or the more realistic options – including ‘regular’ WBA titlist Erislandy Lara. In order for Mundine to get there, or at least remain in the running to do so, he needs to continue winning.
If successful against Clottey, it’ll be Mundine’s third fight and third win in five months, a huge contrast in activity compared to recent years.
“I need to beat the champions or guys like Saul Alvarez, Miguel Cotto or even Sergio Martinez in order to get another big name. If I can continue to win, I believe I’ll get to the ultimate goal.” he continued. “I believe I can fight well into my forties, as long as I still got the fire and passion to fight. I put my weight and conditioning down to my discipline and dedication.”
“I will definitely fight for another two or three years.”
Clottey, 36, like Jackson or more particularly Mosley, hasn’t been stopped and brings credibility to Mundine’s resume, if he wins tonight. While Clottey has almost entirely campaigned at welterweight, he has fought some of the biggest names in recent memory – including wins over Diego Corrales and Zab Judah – while dropping honourable points decisions to Manny Pacquiao, Miguel Cotto and Antonio Margarito.
In the lead-up to this fight, Mundine has spoken openly about his difficulty to sign with a major promoter in the US, offering that as the primary reason for promoting himself. Mundine now speaks with a vision and clarity not seen for many years, as he seemingly understands what is on the line each time he fights.
There is no doubting a win will further boost his credentials, but a loss almost certainly signals the end.
“There’s a plan, I still feel fresh. I started boxing at twenty-five and I had to learn on the job – now I feel the best I’ve ever felt with experience and seasoning.” Mundine said. “I would love to fight Alvarez, Cotto or Martinez. But if that can’t happen, then I’ll get a championship.”
“I want to go back to the US to showcase my talents on the big stage, no doubt.”