There is a widespread theory that foreign boxers coming to Germany can only be certain of victory by knocking their opponent flat out because it's so rare that judges in Germany award a decision in a visiting fighter's favour.
In May last year an Australian boxer flew half way around the globe to fight for a world title in the land of lager and lederhosen and blew that supposed theory to bits. 31-year old middleweight Daniel Geale (27-1-0) took the IBF belt from local favourite Sebastian Sylvester (34-5-1) in Neubrandenburg to become the new and current IBF world middleweight champion.
His points victory by split decision over Sylvester was possibly the best boxing performance of his career and now, not content with one world title, he's back in Germany again for another one to keep it company. WBA super champion Sturm (37-2-2) has agreed to put his belt on the line along with Geale's IBF version in a mouth-watering middleweight unification bout.
The narrow victory over Sylvester last May in East Germany is the only occasion Geale has fought outside of his native Australia. He could be taking a huge risk coming to Germany again to face a man that's gone the full distance nine times in his last thirteen unbeaten bouts. Geale is confident that staying power won't be a problem for him but remains guarded about his tactics. "I train hard to last all twelve rounds. There have been a few things we have worked on, however I don't want to give anything away".
The only blot on Geale's impressive record is a split decision defeat to fellow countryman Anthony Mundine (44-4-0) in 2009. He lost the IBO world title that night but has nevertheless continued to move onwards and upwards ever since. The defeat was a disappointment but rematching Mundine is not a priority right now. "I've moved on. I want to fight the best fighters in the world. I would like to settle the paper record on that but right now I have bigger things in mind" says Geale.
The Tasmanian has defended his IBF world title twice already, both times in his home town of Hobart, Tasmania and both times earning the judges favour with two victories by unanimous decision. Now he heads into a career defining fight and nothing is going to distract him from it. "Sturm is going to be the biggest fight of my career. I am focusing only on winning that".
Felix Sturm is also under no illusions that Daniel Geale will be a push-over and he too knows just how important this fight is for his own legacy. "This is what every fighter wants, it's a dream come true. This is the biggest fight of my career, bigger than the fight against Oscar De La Hoya" claims Sturm.
Sturm's recent record when compared to Geale's is slightly less impressive but he hasn't lost a fight in six years. Two of his last three fights were won by contentious decisions against two of Britain's finest that many thought had gotten the better of the 33-year old German. First Matthew Macklin lost by split decision and then Martin Murray managed a draw in a fight everybody; except of course the judges, thought he had won - including Geale. Murray has announced that he will be at the fight in Oberhausen this Saturday and could be in line to face the winner.
The Leverkusener's last outing was a reasonably comfortable win over fellow countryman Sebastian Zbik in April this year. Typically, Sturm didn't impress too much in the early rounds but once Zbik showed signs of fatigue, Sturm smelt blood and went for the jugular, retiring his spirited opponent by the ninth round.
Credit should be given to Geale for going after a unification fight rather than being content to defend his belt against easy pickings. The "Real Deal" is giving boxing fans what they want and if it weren't for the WBO forcing their former champ Dimitry Pirog to face a mandatory challenger, Geale could have been facing the highly rated Russian instead. "I want to fight all the top middleweights" says Geale.
Geale is not worried about the possibility of unfair or biased scoring either. "I have every faith in my team to have made the playing field as even as possible and then I need to make sure I do everything I can to get the decision".
When it comes to talking to the media, Geale comes across as the typical boy next door. He talks with a genuine humility, is polite and avoids aiming disparaging remarks towards his opponents, preferring to let his fists to the talking for him. It's hard to imagine how such a pleasant, mild mannered man can draw up the aggression needed to stand in a boxing ring and smash people up for a living. "I have good motivation to get in there to win a fight. I fight for my family and my want to be the best I can be" says the likeable Australian.
This fight has all the hallmarks of being a fantastic spectacle for fight fans. Both rank in the world's top five at 160lbs and both are in their boxing prime. Expect Geale to come out fast and land the most punches in the early rounds. If he can keep the pressure on Sturm and have enough in the tank to go the distance then he has every chance of gaining a points win. However, Geale would be wise to seek a knockout blow and avoid any potential for a home-town decision in Sturm's favour.