Jeff's just jealous, says Man
Anthony Mundine, who has been sidelined from the ring since August,
limbers up before a training run in Sydney's south on Friday.
October 21, 2007
ANTHONY MUNDINE is fed up with the constant barbs from boxing great Jeff
Fenech and has decided to hit back.
As he prepares for a return to the ring after his first full week of
training since suffering an eye infection that still casts a cloud over
his career, Mundine said he'd had enough of the continual criticism from
Fenech and accused the former triple world champ of being jealous of his
Mundine said his decision to return serve was prompted by recent
comments from Fenech in a magazine article that another former
Australian world champion, Jeff Harding, would have knocked him out.
"I've got a lot of respect for Jeff Harding, I think he was a great
champion, but when you start bringing my name into it to sell your
magazines, and you're constantly bagging me and belittling me that shows
that you're out to derail me," Mundine said. "I'm just sick of him
always having a go at me. It's been going on since day one that I came
to boxing. To me that's jealousy and envy."
Fenech, now a trainer, promoter and commentator, has been Mundine's most
outspoken critic since the former NRL star quit the Dragons in 2000 to
follow his famous father Tony into boxing.
But the joint World Boxing Association super-middleweight champion
believes it would be no contest if he and Fenech jumped into the ring.
"He's a limited fighter," Mundine said. "Me and my feet and him and his
feet, if we were the same weight, he wouldn't last four rounds. I
wouldn't even put him in the top 10 Australian fighters of all time.
"All he had going for him was fitness, determination and a will, and
I'll give him credit for those things, but they can only get you so far.
Compared to the skill, ability and God-given talent of my dad and guys
like Lionel Rose, Johnny Famechon, Hector Thompson and Dave Sands, he
was never in the same class.
"I give him credit for one fight and that was when he fought a sick and
a troubled Azumah Nelson [controversial draw, 1991], but when Azumah
came back  and showed it wasn't the real him that night they were
Remarkably, Fenech agreed with Mundine's assessment of his boxing
ability, saying: "When it comes to potential, Anthony is streets ahead
of me. He leaves most people for dead."
But after being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in
2002, Fenech said he did not have to prove anything to anyone.
"Anthony Mundine will never do what Jeff Fenech has done, Anthony
Mundine will never be in the world boxing hall of fame. I got in there
on my first year of eligibility, that's happened to maybe 12 or 15 guys
in the history of boxing," Fenech said.
Yet Fenech insists his criticism of Mundine aims to help motivate the
32-year-old become one of the greats.
"To be honest, I would love nothing more than to see Anthony prove me
wrong on everything I've said," he said. "I cheer for him to win the
fights. I'm not one of those guys who want him to lose, I want him to
After almost losing sight in his left eye when it became infected during
a trip to New Zealand in August, Mundine this week resumed training and
hopes to get a medical clearance to fight before the end of the year.
"I've got the will, I've got the drive, I've got the determination and
I've got the talent, the sheer brilliance, the ability and I've got the
flamboyance - everything that makes the great champions - and in the
future people are going to see that," he said. "When I'm finished my
career even Jeff Fenech will be saying I am the best to have ever come
out of this country."