(Photo © Martin Meissner)
Whilst recently attending the Sergio Martinez -V- Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. WBC middleweight title fight, I ran into a very interesting observer, Daniel “The Real Deal” Geale, who was just a few weeks removed from the biggest night of his career when he headed to Germany and unified the WBA title with his IBF crown. Here’s what he had to say…
Anson Wainwright - Firstly I’d like to congratulate you on your recent terrific win over Felix Sturm to unify the IBF and WBA middleweight titles. Could you tell us about that?
Daniel Geale – Thanks. Yeah, glad to be here. We went over to Germany expecting a tough fight. We knew fighting a champion like Felix was going to be tough, especially we knew if it came down to the decision, in most cases, it would be tough to win but I put a lot of faith in my management. We have a great team. I’m with Gary Shaw. I knew the playing field would be kept as even a possible. I only had to go there and do my job. Throughout the fight, I felt I had the upper hand; I was stronger throughout. I caught him a lot and hurt him a lot of times. I felt the scoring was fair and I won the fight.
AW - What was going through your mind when it had gone the distance and you were waiting for the scorecards?
DG - I guess going out there when they announced the decision, I was very confident. I asked my corner what they thought and Gary actually said, “You won the fight but don’t be surprised if you don’t get it.” I was very confident and my coach was happy with the way I performed. I felt like they shouldn’t be able to take it off me. We were extremely happy; they awarded the right decision and we would definitely have been disappointed. You could look at Sturm and tell he was the loser that night; he wasn’t looking the best. I felt pretty good.
AW - While people speculate on your next move, you’re now the middleweight to watch. What would you like to do next?
DG –Yeah, for us, the reason we’re in Las Vegas, we’re having a look at the winner (Martinez). We’d love to fight the winner; there’s a lot of other stuff that has to happen. There’s big talks about a fight with [Gennady] Golovkin we’re keen about as well. At this stage, we’re definitely looking at Martinez. I’m pretty happy with whatever happens. We have lots of people knocking on the door, lots of options. We have to take our time and make the right decision. That’s all I want.
AW - Outside looking in, it would seem that a fight in Australia in front of your home fans would be good. There are, after all, several options.
DG - Definitely, I love fighting in Australia. Now especially after coming back the second time winning in Germany, I think the people in Australia would come out and support me. It has been hard in the past; people in Australia are a little funny about boxing. They’ve followed Danny Green and [Anthony] Mundine for a lot of years but they never really fought too many well-known high ranking fighters, fighting anybody and getting a crowd, so it’s hard to crack into that market. Whereas around the world, we’ve sort of made our mark on things and I believe, at this stage, I’m in a position that I feel I have to travel. I have to fight in other countries to make a name for myself.
AW - Over the past few weeks, the middleweight division has been pretty hot. What are your thoughts on the 160-pound division?
DG - Yeah, well, for me, it’s exciting; the middleweight division is very exciting. There are some great fighters around. What I like about it is a lot of the top fighters are willing to fight each other. It hasn’t been the case in the past; a lot of great fighters don’t fight each other. Sorting out who’s the best, that’s the way I think it should be; that’s what I’ve said all along. People in Australia listened to me but I don’t think heard me when I said I want to fight the best and now they’re seeing that it was the truth and I’m willing to travel. But I just hope it keeps going; I hope we can secure the big fights.
AW - Tell us about your Las Vegas experience?
DG - It’s all exciting in Las Vegas; it’s my first time here, so it’s pretty big. I have travelled the world a fair bit but Las Vegas is in a league of its own. It’s great to have this experience and go to Chavez-Martinez; I can get an idea how things are run, how things are set up. It seems everything is done really well over here. I guess the biggest thing I really enjoy here is people love their boxing in the States. It’s a bit lower in Australia; other sports get a lot more attention. In America, it’s a big talking point. I’m really excited; I want to get over here and fight.
AW - When you leave Las Vegas and what will you be doing?
DG - We’re in Las Vegas on business. Then we’re heading to Anaheim [California] with the family to Disneyland and spend a bit of time before heading back to Australia. It’s exciting; my family has never been out of Australia before. Like I was saying, Las Vegas is huge for me and I’ve travelled the world. For them, it’s unbelievable, something they’ll remember for the rest of their life.
AW - Though it’s still very early days, do you have a working date to when you’re looking at fighting next?
DG - We haven’t secured anything but we’re looking most likely early in the New Year. I said before the Sturm fight, I’d love to be in there before the end of the year but things slipped away. I came here for this fight; I guess [that] puts me back a little bit. I think now we’re looking at early next year. Hopefully we can secure something big.
AW - Did you get a hero’s welcome when you got back to Australia?
DG – No, there was a bit of a reception at the airport. I arrived at 11.30 at night. There wasn’t too many [fans], mostly friends and family but there was some there which was really nice. I guess the first few days after I arrived home, I was doing the media thing; I was doing interviews and shows, things like that which was pretty similar to last time we got back from Germany. It’s not huge news in Australia; it does get some news. I’m not forgotten when I arrive back in Australia. If I had just won the IBF/WBA middleweight titles, coming back to America, I think it would be a lot different. In Australia, it isn’t massive waves. Hopefully the more I can win, it’ll lift boxing in Australia and people can realise I am doing something, something important and hopefully boxing as a whole lifts a little bit.
AW - Do you have anything you’d like to say in closing?
DG - I guess my message to people is I’m still as hungry now as I was before I went to Germany the first time and before I won any titles. I’m still very, very hungry. I’ve got two titles now so that gives us a lot more bargaining power but I’m still willing to fight people as long as management says that’s the right thing to do, the right move. I’m willing to fight anybody. We’re really happy to be in this position but, at the same time, I want more titles and I want to fight the best.
We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive article comments sections.