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Mundine defeats Jerez, Leapai beats Walker

Samoan Alex Leapai knocked out Travis Walker in controversial fashion, earning a career-best win.
Samoan Alex Leapai knocked out Travis Walker in controversial fashion, earning a career-best win.

This morning in Brisbane, Australia, Anthony Mundine won a wide decision over Argentinian Carlos Adan Jerez.  The official scores were 118-110, 118-110 and 120-109.  For the most part, Mundine controlled the fight with his jab, outlasting Jerez to an unexciting and uneventful decision.

While the scores were wide, Mundine looked weak at his new weight of junior middleweight, and controlled the outside to earn a boring decision rather than going in for the kill.  To his credit, Jerez has only been knocked out twice in 13 losses; still, Jerez fought the vast majority of his career at welterweight or lower, dipping as low as lightweight at one point, while Mundine had fought his entire career at middleweight or higher. Still, Jerez clearly won a couple of rounds in the few times when he got aggressive.

This was not a fight where Mundine should have struggled for even a minute.  Jerez didn't win a round against Saul Alvarez.  He didn't win a round against Lucas Matthysse.  He didn't win a round against Sebastian Lujan, and was eventually knocked out by Lujan.  On top of it, Jerez was mostly looking to counterpunch, not a good formula when you're slower than your opponent and giving up at least six inches of reach.  Even with these advantages, Mundine had some problems pulling the trigger, and even appeared to get knocked down in the 12th round, although it was ruled a slip.

There are quite a few options next for Mundine.  The WBA has him ranked at #2 in the light middleweight division, so he might have a title eliminator with Margarito forthcoming.  A win over Margarito would help put Mundine on the path he's been yammering about, and would put him in line to fight Miguel Cotto for a title.  Based on how he looked tonight, his better move might be to move back to middleweight where he has more energy.  Then again, based on what Mundine has actually done since beating Danny Green four years ago, he'll probably just talk a big talk while importing unknown fighters who present no style challenge, fighting on Australian pay per view because just enough people buy the cards to make it worth his while.

On the undercard, Alex Leapai scored a fourth round TKO over former heavyweight contender Travis Walker in the fight of the night.  The two came out bombs away in the first round, with the big men exchanging and Leapai eventually rocking Walker badly, who was saved by the bell.  The two continued to trade leather through the second, but in the third, Leapai gassed out and Walker was able to drop Leapai.  Walker was again winning the fourth round when Leapai came back with a rally in the last 20 seconds of the round, leading to a controversial referee stoppage.  This bout proves two things - that Leapai isn't world class, even if he is exciting, and that Walker is seriously done as a contender.  Walker has lost his last four fights against legitimate compeition, with a few wins over novices and journeymen thrown in there for good measure.

Deeper on the undercard, former rugby player Garth Wood scored a 4th round technical knockout over Ryan Coppick.  Coppick reopened a bad cut over Wood's eye, but he was able to survive and eventually score the knockout.  Wood was the winner of Australia's "The Contender" reality TV show for super middleweights, and was supposed to get a shot at Mundine, although it looks like that may be out the window. 

In the main supporting bout of the undercard, another former rugby player, Sonny Bill Williams, scored a first round knockout over his hapless opponent, Ryan Hogan.  Hogan, who was horrendously out of shape, backpedaled for about a minute before he gassed out and Williams caught up with him.

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