Boxing: Quiet Kiwi has Mundine's camp puzzling

By Laine Clark

Gunnar Jackson (right) is confident on facing Anthony Mudine. Photo / APN
Gunnar Jackson (right) is confident on facing Anthony Mudine. Photo / APN

It seems cynics weren't the only ones asking "who is Gunnar Jackson?" before Anthony Mundine's WBA junior middleweight title fight against the Kiwi in Brisbane tonight.

Mundine's next opponent is so unheralded the Australian boxer's camp did not recognise him.

"Gunnar?" asked Mundine's manager Khoder Nasser as he looked around the room before yesterday's press conference.

Sitting patiently in the front row barely a metre away from Nasser, Jackson quietly got up and took his place next to Mundine in front of the TV cameras.

Still, Mundine would have just been thankful New Zealand middleweight champ "Gunnar the Stunner" had arrived after a chaotic build-up to the fight.

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

So Nasser had to ask Jackson (18 wins, six knockouts, four losses) to ditch his usual work juggling drain laying and being a janitor.

Nasser shouldn't feel too bad about not being familiar with Jackson - even boxing experts would have been scratching their heads pointing out the Kiwi yesterday.

Jackson sits more than 100 places below Mundine, who is No 4 in the WBA junior middleweight standings.

Mundine insisted it was still a worthy stepping stone toward meeting Floyd Mayweather by year's end, with a mooted next fight scheduled against the renowned Joshua Clottey, who has gone the distance with Manny Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto.

"Last year I fought [Daniel] Geale in January and [Shane] Mosley in November, I can't be that inactive at this stage of my career," said Mundine (45 wins, 27 KOs, five losses).

"I have to fight every three months or 10 weeks [to be in contention for Mayweather]."

Mundine admitted, though, that Jackson was a "fill-in fight". "But for me this guy is more dangerous than Mosley," he said. "He has nothing to lose and everything to gain.

"For him, I am his Mosley and [Manny] Pacquiao. I know he will give his all, it's a big opportunity for him."

Jackson, 27, was as unassuming behind the microphone as he was while he was waiting for the press conference to start.

"I thank Anthony for the opportunity. I am confident I will last the 10 rounds," he offered.

Jackson is fresh from a month off boxing but insisted he "remained active" in December.

Mundine was also low key yesterday - for him.

"People have heard me talking for the past 15 to 20 years, but I never got recognition for my achievements because of my talk," he said.

"I don't need to talk any more. I will let my fists to the talking."

- AAP

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