Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Former world champion boxer Anthony Mundine has beaten long-time rival Danny Green on a unanimous points decision in a non-title World Boxing Association (WBA) super middleweight bout. Mundine, an ex-rugby league star promoted the much-anticipated fight that attracted around 40,000 spectators and a national record for a pay-per-view television event.
“Who’s the man, who’s the man?” Mundine asked the crowd after the fight. Western Australia’s Danny Green (the “Machine”) was defeated after 12 rounds at the Sydney Football Stadium by “the Man” Mundine. Mundine has improved his overall record to 26 wins and three losses. His victory sets up a world title bout against Denmark’s Mikkel Kessler.
After the bout Mundine praised his opponent’s tenacity: “I just wanna’ thank Danny for a great fight… I was starting to get loose man, Danny was starting to put a lot of pressure on me, he’s got a good long jab, I had to evade that,” said Mundine. “I utilized my speed to catch him and it paid dividends. I was looking for the knockout, I caught him with a few great shots, [and] he can take a great punch. He put up a good performance. He come around, he come prepared – I was the better man tonight Dan, thank you very much. We can do it again maybe, soon.”
Green agreed that Mundine fought the better fight. “He just beat me fair and square. I have no excuses at all, I trained unbelievable, my preparation was great… Anthony was the better man tonight,” said Green.
The WBA fight consolidated six years of taunts and hyperbole to settle a long-running feud between the men and their supporters. According to media reports the battle was personal from the outset with Mundine’s mother Lyn yelling at her son from ringside to “Knock him out Choc, shut him up my baby”.
Sports media commentators reported that the pace remained hectic in the first four rounds as Mundine stood firm and used his jab as Green mixed his trademark “power punches.” As the fight wore on, Mundine appeared in greater control and in better condition. However, Mundine did end up on the canvas in the seventh round, after being pushed through the ropes by Green.
Throughout the fight, Green’s power punches “missed, missed and missed again”. In the final “ferocious” round, Mundine rocked Green with a combination to the head, taunting Green to “Come on.” Green attempted plenty of combinations, but Mundine’s speed caused problems. After 12 rounds, Judge Pinit Prayadsab from Thailand gave the fight to Mundine 118-11, South Korean Michael Lee scored it 116-113 and Australian Derek Milham had it 118-112.
Australian newspapers report that the appreciative crowd included corporate CEOs, former world heavyweight champion Joe Frazier, bikie gangs, peroxide blondes and rugby league players. Referee Terry O’Connor described the event as a fight Australia can be proud of. “They both gave their all, it was a great fight.” He described the atmosphere at Aussie Stadium as “fantastic” “It was the greatest fight I have refereed, it was brilliant,” O’Connor said.
The “Man v Machine” event fight, promoted by Mundine’s Boxa International and the “Green Machine” promoters is believed to have beeen the “biggest boxing match in Australian history”, grossing an estimated $20 million. Each boxer is reported to be earning a seven-figure sum, while spectators have paid up to A$1000 for a seat at the bout. Foxtel reported record sales for their exclusive pay-per-view event, claiming that subscriptions outsold the Lennox Lewis v Mike Tyson heavyweight bout. Heavy betting ensued with one punter laying a $500,000 bet on Mundine to take the honours.
Of his upcoming bout with Denmark’s Mikkel Kessler, Mundine said: “It was a close fight last time. I think he’s the best fighter out there, but I’ve shown I can match it with him. I’m ready.”