Anthony Mundine defends embattle cousin, Blake Ferguson

ANTHONY Mundine has jumped to the defence of his embattled cousin, former NRL star Blake Ferguson who will be sentenced on February 3 after being convicted of indecent assault.

After converting to Islam, which does not allow drinking alcohol, Ferguson has again found himself in the headlines for the wrong reasons after being spotted drinking at hotels in Sydney and Brisbane in recent weeks.

But Mundine, who has been training in Brisbane ahead of his fight against unheralded New Zealander Gunnar Jackson on Wednesday night, told APN he believed Ferguson has made positive changes to his life after taking on 'The Man' as his mentor.

"I've seen him develop plenty. He's come a long way and I'm proud of the kid. He's changed his whole mentality around," Mundine said.

"Hopefully the court case goes well in February. Whatever happens, we'll address that at the time and then move on.

"He's 23 years old. What do you want him to do - sit down at home and stay in a box?

"He wasn't out causing a ruckus; he wasn't out fighting or doing stupid things. He was just out relaxing and having a good time."

One thing Mundine hasn't done too much of is relax while preparing for his fight against Jackson, ranked the No.137 middleweight in the world.

Jackson only received his call up after first choice options - Americans Carson Jones and Billy Lyell - pulled out.

Mundine, desperate to take on highly-rated opponents to earn a crack at WBA super welterweight super world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr, said he believed he was yet to reach his peak despite being 38.

"As you saw last fight (a six-round TKO win against Shane Mosley), you won't see me slowing down anytime soon," he said.

"I feel as though the next three or four years will be the best in my career."

Mundine said he wanted to use his fight against Jackson as preparation for a bout against interim WBA super welterweight title holder Erislandy Lara from Cuba.

"He (Lara) is an unbelievable fighter. The only loss he's got was against Paul Williams - a controversial loss, and he's knocking everyone out," Mundine said.

The Sydneysider said a win against Lara would entitle him to a crack at Mayweather who is expected to confirm this week that his next bout will be against Brit Amir Khan in Las Vegas in May. The fight is expected to earn Khan about $A6.65 million.

"I've always talked it up to him (Mayweather Jr). He fights guys that he knows he can beat," Mundine said.

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