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Mundine holds out plucky Kiwi

Friday, January 31, 2014

BRISBANE - It would hardly have made Floyd Mayweather sit up and take notice.

But Anthony Mundine still hoped he had taken the first step towards challenging the world's best pound-for-pound fighter with a unanimous points decision over Kiwi Gunnar Jackson in their WBA light middleweight bout in Brisbane on Wednesday night.

Mundine could have been forgiven for simply being happy that Jackson had turned up after a chaotic lead-up to what the former NRL star dubbed a "fill-in fight". However, Mundine at times may have regretted that he had as the plucky Kiwi went down swinging in the 10 round bout.

Mundine (46 wins, 27 KOs, five losses) hopes the fight will lead to a match-up with the renowned Joshua Clottey, who has gone the distance with Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.

At 38, Mundine hopes remaining active in 2014 and racking up wins over the likes of Clottey will force Mayweather's hand by year's end.

Still, staring down Mayweather appeared a world away after he held out Jackson, a 27-year-old drain layer who agreed to fight barely a week ago.

Initial opponent Carson Jones last week pulled out because of the flu and his replacement — American journeyman Billy Lyell — failed to sign his contract on time.

That forced Mundine to ask Jackson (18 wins, six knockouts, five losses, three draws) if he was doing anything this week and wanted to visit Queensland for the first time.

"Gunnar the Stunner" — named by his parents after '80s thoroughbred "Go Gunnar" — had not trained in four weeks and had just days to prepare for the biggest fight of his unheralded career.

His trainer Chris Walker said ideally Jackson would have needed a six week lead-up but had kept his fingers crossed for a boilover after his charge had "remained reasonably active over December".

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