Spinning Around Saturn with Anthony Mundine
He remains the “single greatest Muslim Aboriginal self-made millionaire rugby league legend to win three boxing titles…”
“They call it an act of terrorism, but if you can understand religion, and our way of life, it’s not about terrorism. It’s about fighting for God’s law, and America’s brought it upon themselves.”—Anthony Mundine
“The point I was trying to get across was that it was in a war state of mind, and there is always going to be tit for tat, so why put yourself in a situation where you can endanger people. I have got nothing against any American; I have got nothing against any human being. It breaks my heart that people think I would even have that line of thought about being happy about people dying. That is crap and I want to clarify that because it is wrong.”—Mundine
“This myth that Anthony Mundine is the greatest, that he’s a champion fighter – it’s over.”—Jeff Fenech
“…arguably the greatest crossover athlete in boxing history.”—Steve Bunce
“Having turned to boxing with no amateur career at the relatively advanced age of 25, he was fighting world class opposition by his 8th, 9th and 10th bouts (KO3 Kevin Pompey, W12 Sam Soliman & KO2 Guy Waters) and scoring wins with a mixture of blistering handspeed and pure balletic movement.”—Mark McKenna
“For pure athleticism, Anthony Mundine is unrivalled. A prodigiously talented league player (he represented the Dragons and Broncos in 127 games), Mundine was a grand finalist and State of Origin representative before switching to boxing several weeks into the 2000 season.”—News.com,au, October 22, 2013
Anthony “The Man” Mundine (46-5) was born on May 21, 1975 and is an Australian boxer and former highly paid rugby player. Such was his natural talent that the brash Mundine could have played basketball had he not turned to football. He also was a two-time WBA super middleweight champion, IBO middleweight champion, and interim WBA light middleweight champion. He is the son of iconic boxer Tony Mundine (who retired in 1984 with a remarkable record of 80-15-1 and a reputation of being one of the country’s most accomplished indigenous fighters). The Mundines are members of the Bundjalung people.
Anthony has notches on his boxing belts to drool for including wins over then-top contender Daniel Geale, a prime Danny Green, Lester Ellis, Sam Soliman (thrice), Ryan Waters, Bronco McKart, Garth Wood, Rigoberto Alvarez, and a prime Antwun Echols. He is also the only man to have stopped Sugar Shane Mosley. In a rare show of good sportsmanship (and perhaps a trend toward mellowing), Anthony said after the Mosley stoppage, “My heart goes out to Shane. I know he’s winner. He’s not one to pull out for nothing. He’s one of the greatest fighters to have ever lived.”
Most of his opponents have come in with stellar records with only two coming in with losing marks. Aside from a KO loss to Sven Ottke in Germany in December 2001, two wins in New Zealand in 2003 and 2011, and a recent blow out of Bronco McKart (54-9-1) in Las Vegas, all of Mundine’s fights have been in Australia.
He made his pro debut amongst incredible fanfare. Within twelve months, he won the Australian and Pan-Pacific titles and after 11 straight wins, he challenged World Champion Sven Ottke. Unfortunately, his lead-up to the Ottke match was disrupted and overshadowed by his anti-American comments associated with the September 11 terrorist attacks. A contrite Mundine later apologized but lasting and irreparable damage had been done
The then IBF middleweight world champion Daniel Geale earned revenge for his only professional loss up to that time by easily outpointing Mundine on January 30, 2013 in Sydney. Two judges scored it 117-111 and the other 116-112.
However, after beating Mosley in November, Mundine won his 46th career victory with a lopsided point’s victory over gritty Kiwi Gunnar Jackson in Brisbane on January 29, 2014, after which he said that he wanted another fight in April and then every two months as he tries “to fight more, talk less and work his way to a title shot later in the year.”
In this respect, he is scheduled to fight former IBF welterweight world champion Joshua Clottey (37-4) on April 2 in New South Wales for the WBA International light middleweight title, hoping that a win over the inactive “Grand Master” with the fan-unfriendly Turtle Shell defense will propel him to a big money fight in the States.
“Anthony has to continue to fight, keep the rankings pressure on, perhaps leapfrog a fighter and maybe get into that situation where one of the big guys has to fight him,’’ Mundine’s manager Khoder Nasser said. Meanwhile, Mundine expects to keep losing money as he chases his world title dream. “And I am going to make it,” Mundine told the Newcastle Herald when asked about fighting in the US. “It’s just a matter of time…I’m losing money out of my pocket in order to chase my dreams, but I know if I get my dream then that will be reimbursed.” But then he added “…it’s not about the money to me, it’s about my legacy and legend I want to build and prove a lot of people wrong.”
Yes, Anthony seems to cry poor mouth as he pursues his dream of making BIG money against a Mayweather, Pacquiao, or Canelo, but before he garners too much sympathy, it should be noted that as he ponders his “sorry” plight in his Italianate mansion in Blakehurst, he remains the “single greatest Muslim Aboriginal self-made millionaire rugby league legend to win three boxing titles.” Indeed, some have described him as dumb like a fox.
“Think of any sportsmen… Mundine is still first off the rank. There’s nothing like me. To come so far in such different sports. Never before. Never again.”—Mundine (May 2009)
For any number of reasons, “The Man” lacks the popularity that would seem to correlate to his outstanding athletic resume (though he has a strong following among the aboriginals). Certainly part of it has to do with the fact he is an outspoken, self-promoting type and this has contributed to a stormy relationship with the media. Moreover, he seems to go out of his way to polarize and some even think this may have included his conversion to Islam in 1999 which was greatly influenced by the teaching of Malcolm X but this clearly is a stretch. Nevertheless, he has been described as “the most polarizing athlete in Australian sports history.”
Said a poster named Nick G recently: The real reason he can’t get the big fights is because they still remember the way he ran off at the mouth when the Twin Towers came down. America didn’t want a bar of him after that and that still applies today.” http://www.cqnews.com.au/news/mundine-tilt-title-hangs-all-right-moves/2161014/
Then this from the urban dictionary, “Anthony Mundine: A famous boxer from Australia. Unless you are reaching the end of your career as a boxer, you won’t have much chance of facing him as he only likes to do mismatches and fight people way beneath him.”
And this about gays, which Mundine posted on Facebook: “Like my dad told me GOD made ADAM & EVE not Adam & Steve…I got nothing against it cause I got friends family that are but promoting it to the youth & masses isn’t right…but each to there [sic] own.” A virtual slap back was fast in coming. Those involved with the indigenous production house behind the series Redfern (Blackfella Films) called the comments deeply worrying and upsetting.
In November, Aussie boxing legend Jeff Fenech was questioned by police over a fire bomb that destroyed a cafe owned by his bitter rival Mundine. Fenech had labeled Mundine “the most hated Australian ever” after he (Mundine) appeared to laugh on hearing Fenech had lost his money on the cancelled Mosley fight. Said a “concerned” Fenech, “I feel really bad about the firebombing. I honestly do. Anyone who’s worked hard to establish a business shouldn’t lose it like that. It’s bloody terrible. I hope the police sort it out.” http://www.boxingnewsonline.net/latest/news/jeff-fenech-denies-fire-bombing-anthony-mundine-s-café
And this from Xavier Toby in the Huffington Post in May 2013: “It’s as if Mundine is trying to be Muhammad Ali, but even mentioning those two names in the same sentence leaves me feeling dirty. Ali did pick on his opponents, but with such flair and intelligence it became less about his opponent and more about the theatre of the whole thing. Mundine is an embarrassment and I wonder if this is the result of an existence surrounded by people who just say ‘yes’. To every one of your ridiculous ideas, stupid comments and ill-thought out rants….”
Then Mundine declared that he would boycott the singing of the national anthem at his fight against the well-liked Tasmanian Daniel Geale because he believes that the song’s lyrics promote the country’s inherent agenda of white supremacy. Mundine said, “The truth is, that anthem was composed in the 1800s when Aborigines were considered fauna.” This inspired the following post by antmang: “Mundine, you are a dead set goose; people are just tired of the utter dribble that comes out of your mouth. You have made absolutely no sense in anything that you have ever said. Just do us all a favour and keep your lips closed. You are an embarrassment to this country. The only reason anyone in this country watched your fight, was to see your backside get kicked! You have bad sportsmanship & you are very very far from ‘the best ever athlete’ you moron.” The notion that Mundine would snub the national anthem was averted, as it was smartly performed before both men entered the ring.
Among Mundine’s other incendiary comments was the claim that Geale didn’t represent the Aboriginal community, citing his “white wife and kids.” He later took back the comments. Refusing to shake hands with Daniel Geale following their fight did nothing to enhance Anthony’s popularity.
This link connects to an article that lists in detail Anthony’s foot-in-mouth outrages over the years: http://www.news.com.au/sport/boxing-mma/anthony-the-man-mundine-is-a-multi-sport-superstar-and-human-headline/story-fndkzthy-1226744430716
If he loses to the Grand Master in April, the end of his boxing days would surely have arrived. But then Mundine just might have another path possibly as a spokesman for a minority in a country where a national Sorry Day (now called the Day of Healing) has been held every year since 1998 and where four years ago the then prime minister Kevin Rudd apologized in parliament for laws and policies that “had inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss” for Aborigines.
Taking an entirely different perspective, Martin Newman, co-editor of the Daily Mirror, writes in the Huffington Post, “Mundine may not be the most eloquent orator, and he may not be the obvious choice as a mouthpiece for political change in Australia, but maybe he has a decent point or two to make…. More people like Mundine are needed to start talking about solutions.”
Stay tuned as Anthony Mundine continues on his Saturnian Sleighride.
Ted Sares is a private investor who enjoys writing about boxing. A member of the Elite Powerlifting Federation, Ted is one of the oldest active competitors in the world and holds several state records.