Mundine beats Wood to square ledger
According to Anthony Mundine, his rematch win over surprise conqueror Garth Wood in Brisbane on Wednesday night would herald his boxing resurrection.
But critics will call it a reprieve, after Mundine postponed retirement talk by drawing on all his reserves to avenge last December’s shock loss and claim a unanimous points decision.
While Wood immediately called for another rematch, Mundine - boasting a nasty cut above his right eye - appeared to cling to a belated overseas move for big money fights after the middleweight bout.
“If I can beat Garth Wood ... then I believe I can beat anyone in the world right now,” Mundine said post-fight.
“Garth has a very tricky style. You have to be a very seasoned fighter to cope.
“A lot of people wrote me off before tonight - this is for the fans.”
Mundine won over the judges 96-92 96-92 95-93 to extend his record to 41 wins and four losses.
Wood is now 10 wins, two losses and one draw.
He was cautioned early about blows to the back of the head, prompting some constructive words of advice from a lippy Mundine.
Wood continued to cramp and frustrate Mundine and finished round three strongly with some quality shots.
Mundine looked unhappy early, complaining of rabbit punches and low blows.
Both traded shots looking for an early exit in round five, and Wood returned to his corner with a cut under his right eye and soon Mundine was bleeding above his.
The fight was delayed in the eighth round as Mundine received attention to his widening wound.
Wood was caught with a big left hook late in the ninth and wanted to fight on but was forced to endure a standing eight count after being deducted a point for holding.
He was then floored by a right uppercut early in the 10th, prompting another count.
Wood tried to lift with former three-time world champion Jeff Fenech in his corner but Mundine could sense victory, waving to the crowd before the final bell.
Pre-fight Wood’s manager Michael Karagiannis made the extraordinary threat that they were already planning civil action against organisers should the bout end with “a stench”.
In the past, Mundine has been accused of preferential treatment from officials in Queensland - the only Australian state without a government legislated boxing authority.
It still added another remarkable chapter to Wood’s amazing story.
Barely a year ago he was working three jobs to support his two daughters.
But Wood has not looked back since earning a shot at Mundine as a reward for winning the Australian version of “The Contender“ boxing TV reality program in 2010.
Amazingly, Wood only made the show after someone withdrew days before filming.
Wood described the TV show as “rehab” after hitting the bottle hard when his partner - his high school sweetheart - left him just months earlier.
He is reportedly guaranteed $500,000 for Wednesday night’s fight - last year he was fighting for less than $1000.
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