ANTHONY MUNDINE has predicted WBA light middleweight champion Austin Trout will continue to duck him if he wins the interim title in Newcastle next month, but believes that may pave the way for a fight with Miguel Cotto.
Mundine yesterday announced he would fight Rigoberto Alvarez, the Mexican who Trout won the belt from in February, at Newcastle Entertainment Centre on September 21 with both boxers aiming for a world title bout with the American after that.
Mundine also responded to claims by Trout that he could have been fighting him instead by accusing the champion of reneging on the terms of a deal for the 25-year-old southpaw to come to Australia. The 36-year-old former NRL star said he still hoped to fight Trout after beating Alvarez, whose brother Saul is considered one of the best boxers on the planet, but an interim title would enhance his negotiating power.
''Trout can mouth off if he wants but it is all about negotiating, it is all about being an honourable person and holding your integrity, your honour and your side of the deal or your side of the bargain,'' Mundine said. ''They kept wanting to change the goal posts.
''We agreed verbally to a deal that they didn't want to commit to. When we saw the contract everything had changed. I am nobody's dummy and at the end of the day it is a business too. That is why we are going to fight for the interim title and then, if he wants some, I might give him some.
''But this time there aren't going to be no options because I am the champion too. And I doubt he will fight me. I reckon he will relinquish the title rather than fight me.''
Should that happen, Mundine said he would try to organise a fight with Cotto - the WBA super champion, who would be his most logical target after Alvarez and Trout anyway.
''If Trout relinquished the title that would leave Cotto. That is who I am going after because I believe he ain't the best, I am the best,'' he said.
First up, Mundine has to overcome Alvarez, who has an impressive record of 27 wins from 30 fights.
''When the Trout deal fell through I wanted to fight the next best and Alvarez was the champion that Trout beat on a points decision, so he was the next best,'' Mundine said.
''I know that he will be a difficult foe but I want to make a statement and put my name up there with the best because I believe that is where I belong. This is a chance for me to show my dominance and my superiority at this weight division.''
Mundine said that while the negotiating process had been frustrating, he had been training in anticipation of fighting Trout or Alvarez and was now focused on the Mexican.
''Now we know it is going to be Alvarez, I have got to prepare myself physically and mentally for that fight,'' he said.
''He will be more than willing and he is going to be coming to get what he thinks is his. He is the perfect fight for what I am trying to achieve and proving to the world that I am the best 154-pounder [70kgs] out there.''