The Next Step for the "Real Deal" Geale
(By James Walden - secondsout.com.au)
August 31, 2009
It is the evening of the twenty seventh of May, 2009. Daniel Geale wanders around the ring, knowing he has just pulled the largest upset in Australian boxing in decades. For twelve rounds, he has been at war; handing Anthony “the Man” Mundine the toughest fight of his career, and achieving the victory that no other Australian fighter has been able to earn.
Geale knows its all come down to this; one hundred and sixty amateur bouts, five national titles, and a gold medal at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games. For those in the boxing fraternity, the bout has been no surprise; Geale has been Australia’s hottest prospect for years.
With bated breath, Geale silently prays the verdict of the judges will match what he already knows.
The verdict is in; it’s a split decision. Anthony Mundine has won, handing Geale the first defeat of a twenty one fight career.
His title is gone. It belongs to Mundine now, making him a three-time world champion in two weight divisions.
For Mundine, he hopes the victory will finally prove to his critiques he’s more then a mouth. Geale is a veteran; he’s one of the best amateurs Australia has ever produced. His victory should finally silence the doubters, proving his ability has earned him his place at the top of the boxing food chain.
The crowd erupts as the verdict is handed down.
There are voices in the crowd screaming a fix is in. There are voices in the crowd cheering that Mundine truly is “The Man”. But mostly, the mass of fans agree with the judges; it’s a split decision. It could have gone either way.
In the weeks that follow, the fight is reviewed over and over by the handful of boxing experts across the nation. No matter how many times the bout is watched, the verdict remains unchanged.
The fight was just too close to call. It could have gone either way.
Fortunately for Geale, the International Boxing Organisation agreed.
After an initial appeal, fuelled by rumours of judge harassment by Mundine’s entourage, three judges reviewed the fight with the possibility of overturning the decision.
Unfortunately for Geale, the judges agreed. It was a split decision, too close to call.
Although the decision had to be unanimous to reinstate Geale, two out of three of the reviewing judges had Geale winning the fight. Their decision was simple: Rematch.
Whilst the IBO has ordered a mandatory rematch to take place before 27th MARCH 2010 in order for “The Man” to keep his middleweight title, the sad truth in boxing is that orders, agreements, and often contracts mean nothing. There are no guarantees until the opening bell sounds.
But there is another option for Daniel Geale to get his revenge.
Cus D’Amato, legendary trainer of heavyweight world champions Floyd Patterson and “Iron” Mike Tyson, had a simple philosophy to all but guarantee the success of his rising protégés.
“Any bum can pay for a world title shot; the trick is to get the world title shot to pay you,” said D’Amato.
For Mundine, his philosophy has always been far simpler:
“If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.”
For the “Real Deal”, the solution is evident. Still riding the aftermath of a large audience bout, Geale needs to capitalise on the nations attention, shape up to more mainstream bouts, and find a way to draw wide spread exposure to his slick style of boxing in order to garnish his potential as a crowd pleaser, until a Mundine rematch is too large a financial windfall for either fighter to ignore.
Whilst Geale still sits high on the middleweight rankings, he doesn’t carry the international pull of his American compatriots, all but ruling out a showdown with the divisions kings, Kelly Pavlik and Felix Sturm.
Closer to home, Sam “King” Soliman, a thrice Mundine victim and crowd favourite, is the sole fighter in an abandoned division able to draw the attention Geale needs.
The solution, once again, is simple. It’s time to move.
With the Australian version of the U.S hit television series The Contender, a reality program in which sixteen super middleweight fighters face off in a knock-out competition, currently in production, the mainstream attention given to the division Mundine built a career upon will be endless.
Whether Geale shapes to the series winner, or takes on an assortment of “contenders”, bouts against the series contestants will still likely draw the crowds he has failed to produce before his showdown with Mundine; once again offering fans a chance to see the strengths of the “Real Deal”, and set up a rematch boxing fans are yearning to see.
But there is a larger reason beyond the shores of Australia the timing is set for Geale to move.
The Showtime Six.
Set to commence with a double header bout on 10th October, the six best fighters in two divisions, featuring Mundine conqueror Mikkel Kessler, along with Andre Ward, Carl Froch, Andre Dirrell, Jermain Taylor, and Arthur Abraham, are primed to face off in a year long series of round robin contests, with the WBA and WBC super Middleweight world title belts on the line.
The six fighters, who hold more then nine world titles in two divisions between them, present the epitome of the elite; great skill, tough contests, and big drawcard fighters willing to risk it all for a shot at greatness, and a place in boxing history. With Geale seeking to earn his place atop the mountain of pugilism, a bout against any of these opponents could see him shot into super stardom in the boxing world, win, lose, or draw.
As the verbal sparring between both camps continues to build, with both fighters claiming the other is dodging negotiations, a move to super middleweight could see Geale finally achieve the potential we all knew he had, long before he shaped up to Choc.
After all, as Geale himself said in his post fight comments, “Mundine is not the best out there. It’s time to go back to the drawing board.”
But then again, maybe a rematch with Mundine can be made after all?
It was confirmed on Monday 31st August that Mundine and Geale will announce details of a blockbuster boxing event at the Silverdome Complex in Launceston, Tasmania, on Tuesday 1st September 2009.
While we know both boxers will be attendance at the midday press conference, there is no guarantee that they will rematch in the ring in October. It is possible that they will fight in separate matches co-headlining on the same card in what will be Geale’s homecoming.
Most fans will be hoping that the right decision has been made that will see Mundine-Geale 2 go ahead sooner, rather than later.
Australian boxing fans await Tuesday’s news with great interest.