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The Sydney Morning Herald

Never say diet: Mundine faces weighty decision

Author: Jamie Pandaram
Date: 17/04/2008
Words: 578
Source: SMH
          Publication: Sydney Morning Herald
Section: Sport
Page: 34
HE BOASTS of never having dieted before a fight, but Anthony Mundine will have to replace the hamburgers with health shakes for his planned drop to the middleweight ranks.

The WBA super-middleweight champion fights Sam Soliman for the third time next month, and has been ordered to defend his title against Mikkel Kessler three months later.

However, Mundine is contemplating a move down to the middleweight division where American stars Kelly Pavlik, Winky Wright and Jermain Taylor make for tantalising big-money fights. Mundine needs exposure to the American audience in order to further his appeal and pulling power; one of those names on his list of victims would make Mundine a genuine global star.

"I've never had to diet for a fight, I love my fried chicken and my hamburgers too much," Mundine, 32, said. "But you look at the top guys I have fought in the super-middleweight division: Mikkel Kessler was much bigger than me, Danny Green was much bigger than me, Manny Siaca was much bigger than me.

"[Roy Jones snr] believes I will be a monster down in middleweight. I believe I will be faster, I will be lighter, I will hold my strength, my power down there, and I'll be a lot more dangerous. And the fighters I will be fighting won't be as big."

The super-middleweight division is dominated by Europeans, with Welshman Joe Calzaghe the undisputed ruler of the class - although he could forfeit three belts if he defeats Bernard Hopkins in a light-heavyweight contest this weekend. While Mundine would ideally love a shot at Calzaghe, he admits the obscurity of his name in American boxing circles puts him down the pecking order on the champion's wish list.

"[The WBA] mandated Kessler to fight me after Soliman, so we have to look at that and see whether it is a financially viable and good business choice to fight, or do we go to middleweight and look for a big opportunity," Mundine said.

He returned to Sydney on Tuesday from a month-long training sojourn in the United States with Roy Jones jnr and his father, Roy Jones snr. Yesterday, he gave boxing tips to Home and Away actor, Mark Furze, in his Redfern gym as part of the National Careers Development Week campaign (ncdw.com.au). While he is excited by the prospect of becoming a multi-division champion, Mundine said he was not overlooking his May 28 bout against Soliman in Melbourne.

"I want to bring an axe to a mosquito. I will win, that's in no doubt. It's just a matter of how I win. I want to be destructive, I want to be as dominant as I can."

Meanwhile, Nader Hamdan has followed Danny Green into retirement, weeks before a scheduled bout against British light-heavyweight Gareth Hogg.

A shoulder injury played a role in his decision, although Hamdan, 34, said no future bout would be able to match the intensity and emotional reward of his failed world title bid against Mundine in February, in front of thousands of cheering home fans.

"I know I will never be able to top the emotional high from my fight against Mundine. All I ever wanted was a title shot, and I finally got it," he said. "I can sleep happy knowing that was my last fight and I gave it my all."

 
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