ANTHONY Mundine says his best fights have been when he is the underdog and predicts a win over IBF middleweight world champion Daniel Geale will put him a step closer to his dream bout against Floyd Mayweather.
With bookmakers and critics predicting a Geale win, Mundine insists he is ready to prove them wrong and will then pursue big-name opponents to cement his legacy.
‘‘I have always thrived under pressure, when I played league and in boxing,’’ Mundine told Fairfax Media on the eve of Wednesday night’s bout at the Sydney Entertainment Centre.
‘‘My best fights have been when I am against the odds, and I am against the odds again so I am going to come out swinging.’’
Mundine, who hit the scales at 71.95 kilograms in Tuesday’s weigh-in and then engaged in some last-minute mind games with Geale, refuses to consider the possibility of a loss ending his 13-year boxing career.
Mundine says the fight will be the beginning of a new phase in his career if he can win a fourth world title – one of which includes the IBO middleweight belt he took from Geale in 2009.
‘‘There is a lot of interest around the boxing world because this guy is really a unified champion and I am the only man who beat him, and I am going to do it again,’’ Mundine said of Geale’s wins over Germany’s IBF world champion Sebastian Sylvester and WBA title-holder Felix Sturm.
‘‘This will put me up there with the best pound for pounders and catapult me to the fights I want to get. I want to fight the best – I don’t care if they are middleweight, junior middleweight or what weight division. I want to fight the best of all time and that is Mayweather, but this fight is going to get me in the position to fight an Austin Trout, a Miguel Cotto, a Sergio Martinez or whoever comes up and is the best deal for us.
‘‘But I have got to get past this test first, and he is a champion, so I am going to have to go and take it from him.’’
As the pair came face to face for the last time before stepping into the ring – Geale weighed in slightly heavier at 72.5 kilograms – Mundine did his best to get under his rival’s skin by blowing bubblegum in his face.
Geale said he was used to Mundine’s antics and was determined not to let the 37-year-old rile him.
‘‘There has been a couple of times I started to get angry but I take it all in my stride. He wants me to get upset and I understand that.’’
After losing their previous bout, Geale said he was motivated by revenge. ‘‘A statement needs to be made. All the talk has been done and I am just excited by this.’’