ANTHONY Mundine is seeking redemption.
The illustrious career of one of Australia’s greatest athletes was thought to be all but over after a shocking first round knockout loss to Jeff Horn last November.
But such an ending to Mundine’s career was seemingly too bitter a pill to swallow for the proud fighter.
Months of turmoil and struggle followed for Mundine, so much so that the former two-time WBA super middleweight titleholder was drawn back to the ring to face off against an unlikely opponent in combat sports legend John Wayne Parr.
The fight itself may well do little to enhance Mundine’s standing on the world level, but it’s a chance to redeem himself and add to his legacy.
“It’s about keeping my legacy in tact,” Mundine told Aus-Boxing.
“I was happy to call my last fight my final one, but unfortunately it ended the way it did, and I’m too competitive as a man to go out on that note.”
Mundine’s competitive nature has been tested in many ways in the twilight of his career, reflecting a more humble and reflective demeanour in recent times.
The one-time firebrand of Australian sport still has that unflappable confidence, particularly when asked about the skill-set of his opponent.
“John Wayne can fight, period,” Mundine said.
“Regardless of the skill, he knows range and knows how to land power shots.
“He’s more of a stand-up fighter because of the Muay Thai and the kickboxing. But as far as skill-set goes, it’s chalk and cheese and that’s what I’m out to prove.”
Mundine (48-9, 28 KOs) is undoubtedly the superior boxer in this contest and despite the fact that Parr (10-3, 10 KOs) is likely to pressure ‘Choc’ from the get go.
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However, the former champion is quick to caution that the ten-time Muay Thai world champion needs to be very careful with his approach.
“If he sits back and tries to box with me he’s going to get toyed with,” Mundine said.
“So he’s got one choice, and that’s to come forward and put on as much pressure as he can.
“But there’s two sides to that coin, he can fall in and get countered or he can over reach and get countered so he’s got to be very careful.”
With four losses in his last six fights, many have questioned the validity of Mundine’s career continuation.
After months of reflection and analysis post-Horn, he feels as though he’s fixed his bad habits in the gym and claims to be the fighter of old.
“I really reflected on that last fight and I was getting into bad habits as far as defensive skills,” he said.
“I was getting hit in sparring when I shouldn’t have been and I’ve really worked on those bad habits in the last six months or so.
“I’m hardly getting hit in sparring now; I’m the youthful Anthony Mundine again.”
Whether or not Mundine has indeed turned back the clock, his proven record in the sport of boxing has him confident of victory.
Although he has a great deal of respect for Parr, he’s quick to proclaim that boxing is his domain and he’s out to prove as such.
“We’re both going to be feeling good but at the end of the days skills pay the bills,” Mundine said.
“I’ve got a ton of respect for John Wayne.
“I’m not going to downplay him or talk bad about it, he’s a warrior and legend with what he’s achieved but I’m going show him that this is my game.”
Words: Dan Attias/Follow Dan on Twitter