OVER A WEEK on from their competitive 12 round clash in Melbourne, Aussie legend Anthony Mundine says Sergey Rabchenko has every reason to hold his head high.
The former three-time world champion scored a split decision victory over Rabchenko at a packed Hisense Arena last Wednesday and is now targeting showdowns with the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jnr and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
But he feels Rabchenko also has the potential to get in among the 154lb division’s elite.
“Even though he lost, Sergey won in the respect that he gained experience from the fight,” Mundine said.
“He’ll now know what he needs to do to adjust if he’s in a fight like that again and I think it’ll make him a better boxer.
“How he takes the defeat is down to him, but I think he can bounce back and get in the world title picture again.
“He was undefeated going in so he had all the confidence in the world and he believed no-one could beat him. When you lose it is about how you react mentally and Sergey needs to learn what he can from the experience and come back stronger.”
One area that Mundine is happy to concede that Rabchenko does not need to work on are his attacks to the torso.
The Ricky Hatton-trained Belarusian hurt Mundine on more than one occasion and the Aussie veteran is willing to take his hat off to him for that.
“He was definitely one of the best body punchers I’ve faced,” Mundine stated. “He’s very cunning. He counters with body punches, which is hard to do. When you go to throw, he makes you miss and rips underneath. It’s all about timing and he’s got down pat.
“In round seven he got me with body counters about three times and after that I made sure my defence was a lot tighter so he couldn’t do it again.
“Those kind of attacks will make him a difficult opponent for most people at 154 and I wish him the best.”