Mundine, Hodges join forces for final fights
FORMER Brisbane Broncos stars Anthony Mundine and Justin Hodges started training together 20 years ago and even though their time in the NRL is done, they are still backing each other as fighters for what could be the last time.
At 44, Mundine, hopes to summon some of the old magic that took him to the world super-middleweight title 16 years ago, when he fights martial arts great John Wayne Parr on the DDP Promotion at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday night.
At 37, Hodges hopes the boxing skills he learned from Mundine almost two decades ago will be enough to overcome former NRL giant Darcy Lussick when they clash in Sydney next Friday. He says it may be his last fight given his advancing years and the dangers of the sport.
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Mundine and Hodges have been training together at Chris McCullen's Logan gym, encouraging each other to rekindle the speed they showed as Origin flyers.
At 75kg, Mundine will be 4kg heavier for the Parr punch-up than when he lost to Jeff Horn at Suncorp Stadium 12 months ago.
He says he expects an onslaught from Parr.
``What else can he do but come out swinging?'' Mundine asked. ``He's robotic. John Wayne knows he can't outbox me. He's going to do whatever he can by any means necessary to win the fight.
``I'm expecting a few sly elbows in close. He's a tough guy and he's going to fight rough but I'll back my skills in there up close and at long range.''
Mundine said training with Hodges had made his gruelling training camp more enjoyable.
``Whether I fight on or not after Saturday night we'll have to see,'' Mundine said. ``It's based on performance. If I win and I'm feeling great why not?''
Hodges said Mundine had been an enormous influence on his love for boxing that started when he was just a kid in Cairns hammering away at a heavy bag in the backyard.
He took up boxing training in earnest with Mundine in 2002 in Sydney when Hodges was playing with the Roosters and hopes the skills he has practised since then will be too much for the 193cm, 110kg Lussick, who now plays with the Toronto Wolfpack.