You can’t believe Anthony Mundine is whingeing that he was robbed. You just can’t believe it. That said, it’s Anthony Mundine we’re talking about here, so actually, who’s surprised?
Daniel Geale failed to land a knockout blow last night but he was clearly the better fighter. A bit quicker, a bit smarter, a bit more resilient and as ever, a whole lot more humble.
As a sportsman, Mundine is no longer relevant. He was world class in his day but like Ricky Ponting, he is now in his late 30s and clearly past his prime. Maybe he’ll fight on, may be he won’t. The real question now is whether he is still relevant as a public figure.
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The essence of professional sport is competition. Maybe also beer consumption. But no amount of beer washes down the bitter taste of paying to see part-time fighters beat up haplessly mismatched opponents. That’s if you can even afford a cold one after shelling out forty bucks on the pay-per-view (PPV).
With Wallaby Quade Cooper announcing this week that he will put his rugby career on ice to moonlight as a boxer, it seems the Australian public will be subjected to yet another painful, expensive mismatch. Cooper, who is set to make his professional debut (with no amateur background) on the undercard of Sonny Bill Williams’ February 8 fight in Brisbane, is only one of a parade of footballers who’ve soured the sweet science with their presence in recent years.
Williams, who shares manager Khoder Nasser with Cooper, is a case in point. Since his debut in 2009, he’s fought five times against opponents whose combined record was 18 wins, 19 losses and a draw. Three of those five wins have come within two rounds.
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In a radio interview during the week, Tony Abbott gave a vivid description of his style in the ring when he won boxing blues as a student at Oxford University.
“I was basically a whirling dervish,” he said. “I just went in, arms flailing. My intention in the ring was to knock them out before they had the chance to do the same to me.”
He added: “I had four fights. I had four wins. What do you expect? They were all Poms.”
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I teach angry young men to fight. I know how they feel because I used to be one of them. As a professional boxer and also an Anglican priest, I’ve seen disaffected kids find a sense of worth, discipline and community by entering the ring.
I understand the impassioned debate about violence in Kings Cross and I agree that alcohol and late opening hours are a problem. They are, however, merely drivers of street violence, not the cause. In my opinion, what leads young men to such apparently random and senseless aggression runs much deeper.
I started our Fight Club, essentially a boxing gym at our youth centre in Dulwich Hill, more than two decades ago, when the local streets were awash with heroin. In all those years I have looked many young men in the eyes as we have sparred in the ring and I have learnt a lot about their lives.
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Today we learned that All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams, already infamous for abandoning the Bulldogs and running off to France in 2008, is set to walk out on union and return to the NRL next year.
To be fair, Sonny Bill is hardly sneaking out of the country in the dead of night this time. He deserves credit for at least behaving like a big boy. But the whole situation still reeks of déjà vu.
Williams stands to pocket a tidy $2 million for a single season’s work next year, through a combination of rugby in Japan, boxing in South Africa and league, probably at the Roosters.
Is the UFC brutal or brilliant? Or both? Finn Bradshaw attended his first UFC event on Saturday. This is his account of the experience.
FIRST up, I have to admit I’m not the most knowledgeable fighting fan, whatever the discipline. But when you get the offer of front row seats to the UFC, well, it’s worth a trip from Melbourne to Sydney. Here’s a running diary of the cultural experience that occurred at Allphones Arena on Saturday.
10.30am: Traffic was a nightmare from the airport, so I’m running late. This event is beamed live into the USA, so it starts at the ridiculously early time of 9.30am but it appears I’m about the last person to arrive. The only people not in their seats are the Ed Hardy-clad fans crammed into the smoking cages outside the stadium. Clearly the early bouts haven’t got the fans’ full attention.
10.45am: Making our way through the crowd, some stereotypes are upheld, others demolished. The dress code is what I’d expected: lots of hoodies, tight T-shirts covered in scrawled writing and A LOT of UFC merch. But more women than I expected. Still probably only 10 per cent of the audience, but enough to make it not a total sausage fest.
Just when womens boxing thought it was making progress, it has been dealt a brutal double left jab right cross combo right where it hurts the most – between the legs.
Next year female boxing will make its Olympic debut at the London Games, but celebrations and preparations have been soured by a push by the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) to have the competitors wear skirts in the ring.
I kind of thought if there was one sport you didn’t want to piss off then it’d be boxing and the girls aren’t happy.
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In his life before politics Tony Abbott was something of an amateur boxer. So it’s fitting that as opposition leader he has chosen just to punch on and attack the Government.
The normal necessities required of an Opposition Leader – to be occasionally positive, to be temperate in tone, to formulate policy and to back claims with facts seem to be of little interest to Mr Abbott. Not a day goes by without some photo opportunity of Abbott and a fish, or box of Weet-Bix or some awkward embrace with factory workers.
Abbott calls for an election every day as if to will one on the country and acts as if he’s in the middle of an election campaign. Despite all the evidence to the contrary he believes that the Parliament should dissolve itself and yield to his immediate self interest.
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Did you hand over $50 to watch the Danny Green fight last night? If you did - and watched all 29 uninteresting seconds of it - you might be feeling a bit of a mug. But so did Green, at least for a while.
Today’s red-hot story online is last night’s non-fight between Green and his overweight rival, Paul Briggs. Green was initially fuming, claiming there was “no way” his jab a matter of seconds into the fight could have knocked Briggs out. But Briggs went down and stayed down.
Adding massive insult to the apparently slight injury, bookies suspended betting on the fight hours before it started after Briggs suddenly firmed for a first round knockout. The Daily Telegraph has detailed coverage of the whole affair, including a video interview with a fuming Green. But today Green said he has watched the footage again and thinks it was a legitimate blow that knocked Briggs out. Maybe the chap doesn’t know his own strength?
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It’s not hard to get a fight in Fred Brophy’s boxing tent – the last travelling tent left in Australia, or the world. It just gets hard when you get your fight. I wanted a fight.
I saw Brophy first at the Birdsville Races in 2008 but I knew about the tent – the round or two for a pound or two – to borrow a line from the other great boxing tent man Jimmy Sharman.
I talked about wanting a fight in the tent before heading up to Mt Isa for the rodeo, from the comfort of inner city Melbourne. No one believed me. I’m a girl and I’ve never even done a boxing class.
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What the hell happened?
Like the other 15,000 fight fans at Acer Arena last night, I’m still trying to work out how a tattooed knockabout - who nobody rated a chance – managed to knock Roy Jones Jr out.
Oh – and he did it in less time than it takes to brush your teeth.
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Welcome to Thursday @ The Punch
Fact: today is the 34th anniversary of ‘Thriller in Manila’. Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali fought for 132 minutes for $US5 million. It’s been described as the ‘fight of the century’. What’s your take on the event or boxing in general? Share your thoughts here.
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A funny thing happened on the way out of the glamorous Punch TV studios yesterday. As we stood in the carpark waiting for Penbo to remember where he’d left the Commodore, a heavy-looking dude called out: “Oy, what’s this show The Punch and how come I’m not on it?”
It was world cruiserweight champion Danny Green, stepping out of the shadows with his hand extended and a mischievous grin spreading across his face.
We explained that despite Penbo and Tors being, ahem, avid fight fans, it was in fact a politics and current affairs show (although I reckon there’s a spot for Greeny on the panel somewhere down the track.)
The mood was upbeat until we got around to the topic of the paedophile Dennis Ferguson, whose situation we had just spent a fair slice of the show discussing with Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek.
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Is it cos he is black? Is it cos he is Muslim? Is it cos he is free?
You suspect Anthony Mundine would like to believe his immense unpopularity in this country is attributable to redneck prejudice against all these things, but the truth is simpler.
We can’t cop Mundine because he isn’t what he says he is – a world champion. Not even close. In the alphabet soup of boxing, he has latched on to obscure titles simply because other, better fighters simply didn’t know (or care) they existed. Claiming them as world titles is like getting into law at Bond University and telling everyone you graduated from Harvard.
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