As 2010 moves beyond the super/mega fight between you know who and my guy – and for all you faithful readers, I’ve mentioned him before, the welterweights may have to take a back seat to the middleweight hitters. The middleweight division currently has its top three fighters in need of good fights and these fights just may have to be against one another.
Currently, Kelly Pavlik, 36-1, 32 KO’s, ranks #1 among middleweights followed by Felix Sturm, 33-2, 14 KO’s, at #2. But the boxer I want to focus on is Anthony “The Man” Mundine, currently ranked #3 behind Pavlik and Sturm.
By all accounts, Pavlik and Sturm do have better records than Mundine. At 34, Mundine first made his debut back in 2000 with the majority of his fights taking place in Australia. At one point in his career, he was the titleholder of the WBA Super Middleweight belt now held by Manny Sciaca and also the belt now held by Andre Ward.
In looking at Mundine’s fight record over the past 2 years – I could go further, but his record just reads like a fighter with a lot of ring time and always coming away as the winner.
Since 2008, Mundine’s fights have gone the distance and he has scored victories with decisions. This can be very dangerous for any opponent he may face. Mundine’s shortest fight was back in December 2007 against Jose Alberto Clavero, where he scored a 4th round KO in a scheduled 12 round bout. In this fight, it was the second title defense of the WBA World Super Middleweight title belt he held at the time.
In 2008, Mundine fought 4 times with each fight going the distance and resulting in a unanimous decision. In February 2008, he first defeated Nader Hamdan and later in May, he defeated Sam Soliman. Both these fights went for 12 rounds.
His next two fights in 2008 resulted in unanimous decisions as well. Two months later in July 2008, he fought against Crazy Kim and achieved a 10 round unanimous decision as well as another 10 round unanimous decision against Rafael Sosa Pintos in November.
In 2009, he continued to take his fights to the distance. In February 2009, he defeated Shannan Taylor in a 12 round unanimous decision. Later in May 2009, he defeated Daniel Geale, 21-0, with a 12 round split decision. He ended 2009 with yet another unanimous decision over 10 rounds against Alejandro Gustavo Falliga.
Mundine is off to a good start for 2010. On January 10th of this year, Mundine went on to become the WBA International Middleweight titleholder when he defeated Robert Medley with a 12 round unanimous decision.
A former rugby player, Mundine is a tough fighter and while his victories via unanimous decision are impressive, I’d have to question just why he hasn’t fought outside of Australia but once.
For his own reasoning or logic, Mundine wants fighters to go to him and fight him in his country where he can get possibly get a larger purse rather than venturing outside of Australia. Maybe he considers that he’ll always have the hometown advantage because of hometown judges. But really, he needs to put his toughness to the test against the best. And currently, Pavlik ranks as the best.
Mundine can definitely be a draw against Pavlik. He is an entertaining fighter by his country’s standards. Back in May 2006, he came up against fellow countryman Danny Green and defeated him with a 12 round unanimous decision. According to his bio on boxrec.com, all of Mundine’s fights have been broadcast on Australian Pay-per-view, so at least should he decide to fight outside Australia, his country will definitely pick up some sort of broadcasting rights.
As for Pavlik and Sturm, both fighters have remained relatively quiet and out of the limelight. Champion Pavlik is the current titleholder for the WBC and WBO Middleweight belts. There is something suspect to Pavlik’s performance. Even as Pavlik went through a physical crisis and postponed his showdown against #1 ranked light middleweight Paul “Punisher” Williams he decided to take on Miguel Angel Espino, in December 2009. Pavlik did manage to score a 5th round TKO, but it would have made for a better fight against Williams.
Sturm is the current WBA World Middleweight titleholder and has successfully defended his title eight times since April 2007. Sturm’s last fight came against Khoren Gevor with a unanimous decision over 12 rounds. Sturm, much like Mundine, does not like to fight outside the confines of his home country of Germany. Sturm is also a fighter than can go the distance, but has achieved two TKO decisions that resulted in wins. In April 2008, he fought against Jamie Pittman and scored a 7th round TKO. And later, in April 2009, he defeated Koji Sato with another 7th round TKO.
So, let’s hear it for the middleweights. The top three middleweights all have the records and belts to put on the line. The question is if whether Pavlik and Sturm will give my guy Mundine the opportunity to go the distance and have a chance at their titles. My first thought is no, but on second thought, the division needs to have these middleweights battle it out. Specifically, Mundine needs to go up against either Pavlik or Sturm.
With Pavlik, Sturm, and Mundine, this may very well be the year of the middleweights. In which case, the fight between you know who and you know who won’t matter at all. Boxing need not look to the welterweights – the battle of the middleweights is going to happen and it’s going to be great!