Two well-known Australian fighters and globally respected middleweights will tangle on Saturday when IBF Champion "Real Deal" Daniel Geale (28-1, 15 KO) battles veteran Anthony "The Man" Mundine (44-4, 26 KO).
The bout is a rematch of their 2009 meeting, which is still the only defeat Geale has suffered in his career. Mundine came away with a close split-decision win over Geale in a great fight.
Here are the highlights:
These men predominantly fight in their native Australia. Their first meeting took place Down Under, so it is only natural the rematch would take place in front of the home fans as well.
Both men have been on a roll of late.
Geale has won his last seven fights, which include capturing the IBF title with a win over Sebastian Sylvester in 2011. He has defended his title three times, and most recently, he scored a split-decision win over Felix Sturm in September 2012.
Mundine has won his last four fights after suffering a disappointing KO loss to Garth Wood in December 2010. He immediately avenged the defeat the following April and stopped two of his last three foes.
In his last fight in July 2012, Mundine scored a TKO win over Bronco McKart.
The 37-year-old is an outspoken, flamboyant and polarizing figure in the Australian sports world. He is a former rugby footballer and has consistently spoken out on controversial issues regarding race and politics.
This rivalry has seen its fire stoked by Mundine's charges that Geale doesn't deserve to associate himself with Aboriginal culture (Adelaide Now).
It is difficult to determine which part of Mundine's charges are gamesmanship or a true expression of his feelings, but either way, it is hard to categorize any darts he launches Geale's way as anything but fighting words.
The time for talking is just about done. It is time to settle matters in the ring, and here's how you can catch the action:
When: Wednesday, January 30, 4 a.m. ET
Where: Entertainment Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
TV: Main Event PPV (Australia only)
The Book on Geale
Resilience and deceptively quick hands are Geale's best attributes. He is a very technically sound counterpuncher with moderate power and an impressive work rate.
He generally out-hustles opponents and capitalizes on their mistakes with counters and timely combinations. Having shown marked improvement since he lost the split-decision to Mundine in 2009, the Real Deal has reason to be optimistic.
After all, he certainly had his moments in the first fight.
Mundine is pushing 40 years old, so the perception that his opponent may be washed up has some credence.
What Mundine still has is power, and Geale must be careful to avoid getting caught with a big shot. A big left hook dropped him in the second round of the their first meeting and gave place to Mundine's slim victory.
Picking his spots and attempting to wear down the brazen challenger is his best approach.
The Book on Mundine
Who wins this fight?
Love him or hate him, Mundine has had a very solid career. He has proven power in both hands and solid hand speed.
In his first fight with Geale, he proved he could take his countryman's punch and recover without major peril. The question for him in this fight is can he adjust to Geale's improvements?
The champion will be more confident this time around, and he has something to prove. As long as Mundine doesn't get old overnight, this fight will be another entertaining affair.
In a best case scenario, the challenger will hurt Geale early in hopes of discouraging him. He definitely holds the power edge over him, and he'll need to remind Geale of that early.
Mundine had success working behind the jab in their first meeting, but he was caught a few times with counter rights as the fight drew on. It is important that he continues to snap the jab and employs some feints to disturb his opponent's timing.
With Geale coming on in his career and with Mundine up there in age, a KO or stoppage is probably his best shot at winning the rematch. It's hard to see him outboxing Geale for 12 rounds.
Geale will win a close decision. That seems to be a trend in his fights, as he doesn't have explosive power. But his work-rate and accurate punching tend to appeal to the judges.
That will be the case in this one as well. We could be looking at a trilogy here.