International Boxing Organization
International Boxing Organization


Meeting his hero has Choc on a Sugar high
(by Jacquelin Magnay -

DaRing kings... Sugar Ray Leonard and Anthony Mundine came face to face yesterday at a promotion in a Sydney hotel. Photo: Ben Rusht

08/27/2009 - ANTHONY MUNDINE bounces around the room, the spring in his step even more pronounced in front of one of his idols, the great Sugar Ray Leonard.

Leonard is 53 but has the taut body of a 30-year-old. In the back of the room, Wendell Sailor notes wryly that ''you can't hide work on a black man''. Translation: Leonard looks terrific - and naturally, without the aid of cosmetic surgery.

Indeed, Mundine is more wizened, perhaps slightly annoyed that a couple of the television types keep asking him about Danny Geale, the Tasmanian who lost a contentious points decision to Mundine in their recent IBO middleweight fight. The authorities have ruled Mundine must agree to a re-match or surrender the belt.

''I am going to get him,'' Mundine says.

''Anyone who knows boxing knows I beat him over four or five rounds. He is going down.''

Mundine said the key issue was money, with Geale seeing him as ''the cash cow''.

The scene is chaotic as only a big-talking boxing promotion can be. Types wearing earpieces and black mini-skirts talk discreetly, burly bodyguards swagger and cameramen and photographers jostle and cajole.

Leonard and Mundine stand nose to nose in the time-honoured boxing pose - then burst into giggles. The Man dons the white gloves (what else?) while Leonard dons the black ones and they rough-and-tumble. This is in the midst of the penthouse suite of The Ivy. Bizarrely, in the adjoining bedroom, three polite Sydney FC players - Clint Bolton, Mark Bridge and Alex Brosque - sit on the end of the king-size bed playing Xbox on the big screen.

They are doing so without distraction - until The Man and Big Dell spy each other. Hugging would be too unmanly, so they greet with a couple of air swings and a quick wrestle. The two used to play alongside each other in the 1997 Brisbane Broncos side.

''A couple of times back in '97, I loosened him up,'' says Mundine. ''It's all about technique.''

''I'm more of a heavy hitter,'' retorts Sailor.

''He wouldn't fight me again, I'd whip his arse'' says Mundine

''I haven't got much arse,'' laughs Sailor - knowing full well that everyone and his brother saw his ample derriere when he lost his shorts in a tackle during a live match a couple of weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Leonard reveals how he rated Mundine alongside the greats of the 1980s, such as Tommy Hearns and Marvin Hagler. ''I fight those guys who I consider great and I've fought those guys, or those individuals, who I consider great,'' he said.

''Except one guy here I call 'The Man'.''

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