Anthony Mundine’s decision to forego a quest for the International Boxing Organization’s junior middleweight title next week in Australia is his own – and not based on undue influence or conflict from the IBO – according to its president, Ed Levine. Mundine had been scheduled to meet Robert Medley for the IBO’s vacant 154-pound championship on Jan. 11 in Sydney, but the fight – if held at all – will no longer be for the IBO belt and is more likely to be fought at middleweight, Levine said. A January 6 report in the Sydney Morning Herald cited Mundine’s displeasure with the IBO stemming from review of his May defeat of Daniel Geale for the organization’s 160-pound title – which Mundine relinquished upon requesting sanction for the 154-pound bout with Medley. Levine, however, said it’s more likely Mundine’s decision is based on other factors. “Our opinion is that Mundine’s current failure to honor his contractual obligations to the IBO and Medley are purely based on his inability to make the weight and/or his reluctance to accept two international officials and the costs attendant to putting on a world title fight,” Levine said.
Mundine defeated Geale by split decision to win the IBO middleweight belt. According to Levine, an appeal to the IBO from Geale’s management resulted in a review of the bout by three “senior IBO judges,” which then resulted in a narrow split decision opinion in Geale’s favor.
Some reports, including the Sydney Morning Herald’s, erroneously indicated that a unanimous decision in Geale’s direction after the review would have mandated the original decision be overturned.
“That is total nonsense and completely incorrect. The IBO would never overturn an official result,” Levine said. “What was said by the IBO is that if the three appeals judges ‘unanimously and clearly by a wide margin’ scored the bout for Geale, title recognition could be withdrawn or an immediate rematch ordered.
“A mere close unanimous re-scoring of the contest would have led to Geale being made a mandatory fight for Mundine. Effectively, the close re-scoring getting a narrow split decision to Geale resulted in the same decision, a mandatory position for Geale but not in an immediate and direct rematch. Mundine was given the opportunity for an intervening optional defense.”
Levine said fights will be scheduled soon to fill the vacancies at 154 and 160 pounds.