DANIEL Geale has already authored one of the best professional ledgers in Australian boxing history.
But almost four years removed from his last punch-for-pay outing, the three-time world titleholder refuses to close the door on a potential return.
“I get asked constantly about it, people are definitely still interested, especially when they find out that I haven’t fully retired,” Geale told the Main Event Boxing Podcast.
“My biggest thing, the reason why I didn’t want to retire, especially after my last fight. I didn’t feel like I was finished, I didn’t feel like it was the right time.
“In saying that, I felt like I needed a rest. I felt like I needed a bit of a break from the sport that I loved, and had so much success with. But I didn’t think it was the right to hang up the gloves.
“Now, I don’t know. I still feel there is definitely some desire there.
“But I also know how hard it is to get myself to where I need to go. The reason that I haven’t had a fight since then, I didn’t want to just jump in there and fight for money.
“Whenever I stepped into the ring, I’m in there fighting for a reason. I’m fighting more because I want to win, I want to win titles, I want to be the best that I can possibly be. That’s always been my motivation when I’ve been in that boxing ring.”
In his prime, Geale was widely considered to be the best fighter of his generation, unifying versions of the middleweight championship, including two lucrative decision wins in Germany — a rarity in any landscape.
Despite this, the temptation to return and face the current generation of stars, including the likes of former titleholder Jeff Horn and unbeaten prodigy Tim Tszyu, is something Geale has considered.
“For me, if that motivation isn’t there 100 percent, I’m not going to bother stepping in there,” he said.
“It’s too risky a sport, and you can receive too much damage by doing so. Once I had that fire back in my stomach, and obviously everything has to fit together.
“You have to have the right team, you have to have the right motivation. You’ve got to be in the gym everyday. I’d like to say that was it, and it probably will be, but to be honest, there aren’t any real fights that will tempt me.
“People at the moment are constantly asking about fighting any of the guys, Tim Tszyu, any of those top guys at middleweight at the moment. To me, I don’t feel like I need to, or really want to that much.
“And if I did, I feel like there’s a percentage that I’d beat, no problem. I’ve got to be fully dedicated to what I’m doing, and at the moment, I can’t be that.”
Over the course of a twelve year professional career, the 39-year-old bested a slew of stars, including wins against domestic rivals Anthony Mundine and Daniel Dawson, followed by international scalps over world level operators such as Roman Karmazin, Sebastian Sylvester, Felix Sturm and many others.
Daniel ‘The Real Deal’ Geale did the impossible twice in winning two world title fights as a visitor in Germany, to cement his place in Australian sporting history. He discusses those bouts, two clashes with Anthony Mundine, his fights on the big stage in the USA and what his future holds.
However, the former Olympian is known to wider mainstream audiences for his losses against future Hall of Famers Gennady Golovkin and Miguel Cotto, with the latter falling in compromised circumstances.
Given the opportunity to reflect on his past achievements, Geale (31-5, 16 KOs) looks back on those high-profile losses with a sense of pride.
“Keeping positive in those situations when things happen. It can be very frustrating,” he explained.
“I was in a defensive frame of mind (against Golovkin), I had made him miss a fair bit.
“Another part that frustrated me, I knew he was going to be trying to counter punch me a fair bit. I know his tactics and game plan were to counter punch me because I was making him miss fairly regularly.
“That was his opportunity, to almost punch when I punched, and I just didn’t get out of the way of one. It was a good shot.
“There are different punchers around, I’ve been hit by a lot of people. Golovkin definitely had great power, he definitely had hard hands. There were other guys that had awesome power as well. It’s hard to separate too much, especially in some of the longer fights I’ve had.
“He’s definitely up there in the middleweights. To be able to achieve what he’s achieved in the middleweights, it was pretty special.”
Meanwhile, an imposed and contractual catchweight against lineal titleholder Cotto provided a far from ideal platform to cause yet another upset on foreign soil.
“They started talking about a fight with Cotto at middleweight, and then possibly lighter than middleweight,” he revealed.
“I had to rip off a lot of weight, and get down to 71.30 kilos, as opposed to the middleweight weight limit, which is 72.57. It didn’t seem like a lot, but my weight was up a little bit, expecting a different fight.
“I did the job, I got there. I probably wasn’t physically as strong as I wanted to be. But yeah, that’s boxing.”
Recognising the lucrative nature of a fight against the popular Puerto Rican — who regularly headlined events at marquee arenas in New York — Geale accepted the fight in difficult circumstances.
“It was either take it at 157 (pounds) or don’t take it at all,” he concluded.
“I seen it as an opportunity, I’d never fought for the WBC world title, it was a massive opportunity.
“I’ve done a few hard ones, but that was definitely the worst. You are on the brink of dehydration, it’s not the best feeling. I knew because I had to do those drugs tests, I had to drink a lot of fluids, my body was going up and down constantly.
“My memories of it aren’t perfectly clear. I don’t know if that was the weight loss and all that stuff. I got to the venue and I felt okay, but my body, my reflexes, my mind, just weren’t 100 percent on the day unfortunately.”
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