Boxers Jeff Horn (left) and Anthony Mundine (right) are held back from each other during the weigh in before their bout at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Thursday, November 29, 2018. Horn and Mundine will clash in a catchweight fight on Friday at Suncorp Stadium (AAP Image/Darren England) NO ARCHIVING
Boxers Jeff Horn (left) and Anthony Mundine (right) are held back from each other during the weigh in before their bout at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Thursday, November 29, 2018. Horn and Mundine will clash in a catchweight fight on Friday at Suncorp Stadium (AAP Image/Darren England) NO ARCHIVING

Mundine has hooked us in again

Anthony Mundine's first professional fight in 2000 was the first introduction to the sport of boxing for thousands of Australians.

For those too young to witness Jeff Fenech's big fights, Jeff Harding or even the early world title wins of Kostya Tszyu - or perhaps unexposed to the sweet science until a huge rugby league star gave them reason to watch - Mundine's debut was a new beginning.

That first night was unforgettable. Soloman Haumono broke the ropes tackling his opponent on the undercard, then The Man walked to the ring, showered in fireworks, and put on a show as he made light work of Gerard Zohs.

It was our little slice of Las Vegas, and OK maybe not the spectacle of a Tyson-Holyfield, but it lit up Australian boxing.

That was fight number one. Tonight, Mundine walks out for fight 57.

It's been quite the career too. Although criticised for his choice of opponents at times, Mundine has won world titles and tangled with true elite level fighters.

Sven Ottke, Mikkel Kessler and Shane Mosley are probably all bound for the Hall of Fame. Aussies Danny Green, Daniel Geale and Sam Soliman all won world titles, and all three tangled multiple times with The Man.

Others made their names on his undercards before stealing the spotlight for themselves.

The Man set the table for others to dine at, or at least pick up a chair and try.

Through it all Mundine has shown us he has something special. Charisma, showmanship, the ability to sell tickets, grab attention. It all matters at the upper echelon of the sport.

Some around boxing circles suggest it's exactly what Jeff Horn lacks and is perhaps why he is tangling with a 43-year-old tonight at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

Mundine has us all transfixed. Again.
Mundine has us all transfixed. Again.

Horn is quality, a legitimate world champion, but he needs the spotlight that comes with a Mundine fight. Sure, boxing fans know Jeff Horn, but not the casual fan, and that's where the money is made.

Like it or not, Mundine sells. Mundine-Green, Mundine-Green II and now Mundine-Horn are only accompanied by Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao on the list of the highest selling fights in Australian pay-per-view.

Boxing is all marketing these days - Risk vs Reward. Dress up a fight as credible, sell the audience, take the money and don't get hurt in the process. You could define Horn-Mundine right there.

Surely the sluggish Mundine we saw against Danny Green in their Adelaide Oval rematch cannot hang with the intensity of Jeff Horn?

Horn's work rate won him the fight with Pacquiao, and Mundine's saw him lose a controversial fight with Green.

But, that's the thing with Mundine. You just don't know what you're going to get.

He has struggled to get up for fights. There's talk for some, he didn't even train.

But at the same time he's shown he rises to the big stage, when people expect him to be beaten. Look back to Mundine-Echols, Mundine-Green I or Mundine-Rabchenko. Probably his finest nights in the boxing ring.

Even at the age of 43, Mundine is still slick enough. Maybe not with the hand speed and footwork of earlier days, but skilful all the same.

Mundine is tougher than he's given credit for too. He was dropped five times by Joshua Clottey, but he kept getting up.

Mundine should walk out to Don’t Stop Believing.
Mundine should walk out to Don’t Stop Believing.

There's talk of an early stoppage, but neither fighter is really known for their power. It's more likely to go the distance and coming down to skills and heart. This plays into Mundine's hands.

Horn's last fight with Terrence Crawford highlighted the Queenslanders' weakness. He relentlessly came forward against a slick fighter and struggled to work the American world champion out.

Mundine can give Horn similar problems. His jab will score all night, the only question is, does The Man have 12 hard rounds in him?

The Pacquiao fight also lingers. Horn took some big shots and is susceptible to damage, given his reckless approach. Not to mention, everyone already chalking up the win to the younger fighter. The pressure is all on Horn.

They say it will be Mundine's last, but he did say in an interview this week he'd go around again if the offer was right and the name was big enough.

Who knows what twists and turns remain.

While most of Australia just wants him to shut up, perhaps Mundine will be the one to silence us all.

As a wise man once said, to be the man, you've got to beat The Man.

Tonight, either we witness the passing of the torch, or perhaps the final flicker of a stellar boxing career.

Whatever happens, The Man has hooked us in yet again.

News Corp Australia


Why Bundy council is looking to take control of key roads

premium_icon Why Bundy council is looking to take control of key roads

Push to support development at port

Jobs or environment: Jewel puts us at crucial crossroads

premium_icon Jobs or environment: Jewel puts us at crucial crossroads

Resolving issues that arose from highrise saga will take time

With livestock on the road, who gives way to whom?

premium_icon With livestock on the road, who gives way to whom?

It is a legal grey area for motorists