IBF and WBA middleweight champion Daniel Geale will face Anthony Mundine in a rematch for his next fight, as the IBF has granted him an exception to allow for the optional title fight. A press conference will be held on October 18 to formally announce the fight, but it's good to go.
Geale (28-1, 15 KO) suffered the only loss of his pro career to Mundine in May 2009, in a fight he and many others felt he deserved to win. I'm among those others, but even though I could be classed a Mundine "hater," it was a very competitive, quite good fight. Truthfully, it was the last time Mundine really, truly looked good in a ring.
Things have changed since then, of course. Mundine has spent the last three years bouncing from 160 to 154, claiming he wanted big world title shots and then not taking them (Austin Trout, for instance). He's called out the likes of Floyd Mayweather, and he made his hyped U.S. debut against faded veteran Bronco McKart on July 14 of this year, selling a pathetic 286 tickets in Las Vegas.
It's hard for me to say that Mundine "deserves" a shot at a middleweight title, because he doesn't, really, as there are a lot of better fighters out there who have done more to earn the shot than beat McKart and Rigoberto Alvarez and Xavier Toliver in their last three fights, but it's a fight that does make sense, and if it's going to happen, the time is right for it to happen now.
Mundine is 37 and not getting any younger or better, and Geale, at 31, is a two-body world champion now who won't have a ton of opportunities to take fights like this if he's serious about moving on to major bouts in the U.S. in 2013.
"When Mundine and I first fought, I thought my hands were going to be raised after the fight," Geale said about the rematch. "It was close but I thought I was the better man that night. I've always wanted revenge against Anthony, and now I have the opportunity thanks to my promotional teams Grange Old School Boxing and Gary Shaw Productions."
His managers, Garrie Francisco and Bill Treacy, were a bit more in the trash talking mood.
"Anthony should go into hiding. Daniel will embarrass him," said Francisco, and Treacy added, "It's time for Daniel to put an end to the circus."
Team Mundine say they're ready.
"This is a fight that all of Australia has wanted to see and I'm glad it has finally come together," Mundine said. "I always said Daniel would be a world champion if he didn't have to fight me and that has proven to be the case. People are saying he is the best middleweight in the world, but he is not even the best middleweight in Australia. I beat him once and I'll do it again."
"Anthony has been working away at junior middleweight but this is a fight that can't be ignored," said Tony Mundine, father and trainer. "He loves the big fights and I know that when the bell rings for round one, my boy will be ready to go."
Geale's trainer is confident that his fighter has improved to the point that Mundine can no longer hang with the younger man.
"Daniel is fighting at an incredible level these days. We never look past the next fight and for this bout we will be extremely focused. In the first fight with Mundine our preparation was solid and I thought we won," said Graham Shaw.
"Since that decision went against us we have moved on and successfully campaigned against the best fighters in the business and I expect Daniel to win the rematch as he has improved 200% and Anthony has not. Daniel now has two world titles and we will not leave this fight in the hands of the judges."
Geale's promoter Gary Shaw expects big interest in Australia for the fight. "This might be the biggest fight in Australian boxing history as both fighters consider this a grudge match," he said.
Date and venue are expected to be announced on Thursday.