Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Boxing

The Man, the mouth – the colourful career of Anthony Mundine

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And just as that, it’s done. One left hook towards face and also the eminently colourful 25-year journey of Anthony Mundine, from NRL grand finals and State of Origins, to boxing world titles and bouts in Germany, north america and across Australasia, has expired.

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At 43 years old, and well past his prime, ‘The Man’ has finished. There should be no more jaunts during the ring, no more outlandish claims of a fairytale NRL return, no more crazed headlines or outrages.

Knocked down and beaten easily in under 97 seconds, on Friday night at Suncorp Stadium by Jeff Horn, it was a tragic way for this impressive sporting odyssey to terminate. Like him or loathe him, Mundine deserves respect for his feats within the footy field current gloves on.

The Sydneysider was arguably Australia’s first real cross-over star, a multi-skilled athlete who went on the top available as one code to the top level in another. It is something few others were capable of.

But Mundine probably will not purchase a great deal of respect due to public way this career has experienced. His media profile and outspoken personality has always clashed with the wider Australian public. He acted pantomime villain role perfectly producing millions doing it.

In general Australia likes its sports stars humble, quiet, respectful, restrained, wholesome. Think Steve Waugh, Harry Kewell, Ian Thorpe, Cameron Smith etcetera. Not brash or arrogant teetotalers.

‘Choc’ has always marched on the beat of his own drum. He’s got always railed against stereotypes and preconceived ideas techniques athletes should talk and act. In many ways he’s got been more American within his approach, outlandish and unpredictable, a variety of Aboriginal Floyd Mayweather Jr or Charles Barkley, instead of a Cathy Freeman, Lionel Rose or Mark Ella.

This trash-talking African-American style has rubbed many Australians in the wrong way. And so do his ill-informed rants about homosexuality and 9/11, which undoubtedly damaged his international boxing prospects.

In his 57 fights, that are up back to 2000, Mundine boxed only 3 times in the states, Germany and Canada. One of those particular bouts, an IBF super-middleweight world title deal with Sven Ottke, resulted in his first loss. As the old boxing idiom goes – in order to allow it to become you should conquer the usa, and Mundine had never been capable of.

That’s not to imply he didn’t achieve about the canvas – he did. He claimed WBA, IBO and WBA belts at three different weights and beat opponents like Antwun Echols, Danny Green, Sam Soliman, Daniel Geale, Rigoberto Alvarez and an ancient Shane Mosley. As part of his pomp he was fast, stylish and possessed fantastic defence. He was elusive, swift and pretty to watch. He entertained.

But he have also been bested via the likes of Ottke, Manny Siaca, Mikkel Kessler, Garth Wood, Joshua Clottey, Charles Hatley as well as in rematches by both Geale and Green. Now Horn is usually put into a combination.

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Without an amateur career to fall back on Mundine was often playing catch-up. His incredulous features supreme greatness were never quite fully matched by his talent. As father time embroiled with him, as it does each and every pugilist, ‘The Man’ was robbed of his highest quality – speed.

At Suncorp Stadium he looked an old man, away from his depth, frail and brittle. It just took a handful of punches for Horn, anyone 13 years younger, to set him down. Boxing is a cruelest of sports when any weakness, age included, is really so ruthlessly exploited. And so it was on Friday.

How could he be remembered? That continues to be to wear. In the pursuit for be Australia’s version of Muhummad Ali, Mundine has burnt many bridges. He would do anything whatsoever, say everything to sell a battle. But those times are completed. His actual persona may very well be vastly dissimilar to his media one, when he does plenty for his community the ones in need of help, however, many won’t care. Some wounds take an age to heal.

Some contrition was in mid-air in Brisbane when he admitted after his loss that Horn fully deserved with the win. “I’ve were built with a great career,” Mundine said. “Jeff proved he was the greater man – that’s the next generation. I past it on.”

He evened aimed to explain his combustible media image using a final mea culpa.

“All the shit I talk, it is important to build your strugle. Is it doesn’t entertainment business – I want being remembered for someone that’s real, that speaks the simple truth.

“I mean into the Australia public, I have been previously doing this for Twenty-five years now, all of you played a big role in supporting me and achieving behind me. Whether you liked or you didn’t much like me, my time’s up.”

A future just as one Aboriginal activist, or maybe even as politician, beckons. Whichever way the human-headline Anthony Mundine now turns, it unlikely for being dull. Exactly like his sporting career.

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