Young Victor Boxing


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.
Brad Walter
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 success.

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 [1992] and showed it wasn't the real him that night they were worlds apart."

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 win."

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."

Source: The Sun-Herald








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