By Joe Barton
Anthony Mundine admits his long-term goal of becoming an international boxing star was hindered by a decision to delay his foray into America in 2006.
As he announced a highly-anticipated rematch with Australia's dual world champion Daniel Geale, Mundine said he'd gone in the wrong direction in the past which has held him back.
Following his unanimous points decision over Danny Green in May 2006, Mundine asked then-manager Khoder Nasser to help him break into the American market.
Instead, he was convinced by Nasser - who he admits he "fell out" with before splitting from in July this year - to stay local and take on the likes of Sam Soliman and Geale.
"You can look back and say 'I should've done this, should've done that'," Mundine said.
"I wanted to go to America after I beat Danny Green. But I was with Khoder Nasser and he was saying the money is here.
"I took on Soloman, Geale. I yearn the international stardom. That's where I belong.
"I'm (cut from the same) cloth as the Ray Leonards, the Ray Robinsons. I feel I'm in that league."
Mundine scored a technical knockout victory over 41-year-old Bronco McKart in Las Vegas in July and talked up a possible showdown with American Floyd Mayweather Jr but the superstar's camp advised the Australian against pursuing the undefeated fighter.
Geale has spent the past 18 months galvanising his reputation overseas, pulling off stunning victories over Germans Felix Sturm and Sebastian Sylvester, both in Germany, to win his IBF and WBA world crowns.
Despite this, Mundine remains unimpressed saying he could beat Sylvester "with one hand".
But when questioned by Geale about why he hadn't taken his talents overseas earlier and battled with the likes of Sylvester, Mundine responded: "I didn't have the opportunity. And I didn't have the right direction. If I was in your camp maybe that would've changed that."
When asked to expand on that, Mundine later said: "(We) probably could've (taken) the wrong direction. I'm not saying management, I'm just saying wrong direction team-wise.
"I wanted certain fights. I wanted to break through to America but I figured that you can't break through until you've got something they want. I was a risk - I had nothing they wanted."
On top of that, Mundine won't accept Geale has improved since his (Mundine's) 2009 split-decision victory.
"I don't believe he's a better fighter than he was then," Mundine said.
"Sylvester? I'd beat him with one hand. I'd beat Sturm all day.
"I respect Daniel Geale and what he's done. Time and time again, he's proven himself. But we have one problem - I'm better."
Geale has lost just once in a 29-fight career, but it's that one controversial defeat to Mundine in 2009 he's looking to make up for.
That's why he is taking on a fight - and putting his IBF and potentially his WBA titles on the line - he admits is risky.
"To me it's not about revenge. It's about setting things right," Geale said.
"Every fight is a risk. It is a huge risk, but travelling to Germany to fight a guy with 14 defences of his title is probably the biggest risk you can take.
"We're not afraid ... If we have to put both titles up, so be it.
"We know it's going to be hard but we're confident that I'm going to retain my titles and move on to the next thing."Tags: Anthony Mundine