George Costanza once said ‘its not a lie if you believe it!’. Is Anthony Mundine a believer?
I’m not a Mundine hater, I just wish he would take a drink from the reality cup. If he did then I think he would start getting the respect that his talents deserve.
Anthony is a tremendous athlete – to excel in two sports so far removed is an achievement few have mastered and one which he should receive much praise, however, he is about as close to being his self proclaimed title as ‘Australia’s greatest ever athlete’ as Sir Les Paterson is of being our next PM.
Lets face some facts across his sporting journey.
Anthony once said Laurie Daley was running on old legs and claimed he was Australia’s best 5/8 and wasn’t getting picked for Australia due to politics and race (complete crap given that many other Aboriginal players made it to the top). The reality is that he was a gifted player who once represented NSW off the bench, which in my opinion was about right. Fittler and Daley were in a different class and 99.9% of rugby league followers would agree.
When it comes to Boxing Mundine has far exceeded most pundits’ expectations and he has forged a fine career. The reality is though that his career has been highlighted by some fantastic performances, yet for the most part he has wasted his time and talents fighting opponents well below his level and staying in his comfort zone.
It all started so well, after desposing of the standard cab drivers and bouncers while he gained some experience he then went overseas to fight the well credentialed Sven Ottke in only his 11th figth. In a gutsy performance Mundine was ahead in the fight until Ottke stopped him. All credit to Mundine for a brilliant effort for such an inexperienced fighter. The world was his Oyster…
In my opinion since then he has only really had three fights of substance. The Danny Green bout where he dominated and scored a unanimous victory, his defeat of Antwun Echols and a loss to Mikkel Kessler. All three were tough world class opponents and Mundine demonstrated his ability and class by his performances. In my making thats 4 times in 12 years Mundine has truly tested himself. Perhaps you could throw in the first fight against a young Geale as well.
Perhaps I’m being too harsh. That’s for more experienced fight fans than me to judge I guess.
What has come between the big fights has been a mixture of some decent fights but plenty of dud ones as well. Who could forget when they dug up poor old Lester Ellis who obviously needed one last pay day.
At the end of the day I just wanted to see Mundine head to the States and test himself to see just how good he was. This never really happened. Some may say he just could never get a fight OS after his September 11 comments but the reality is there is always an opportunity for a hungry fighter. Geale had to go OS for his title as have most of our top fighters over the years. The reality is that Mundine has grown lazy on pay per view pay days and happy to be the big fish in the small pond.
On Wednesday he will face Geale in another fight that ‘matters’. Its should be a close one and either result would not surprise. If Mundine looses his career will effectively be finished on the big stage.
I wonder when Anthony looks in the mirror at night if he really believes he is as good as he thinks or if he is just playing us all as fools to cast himself as the bad guy to help promote his fights. Perhaps he is insecure deep down and shoots from the hip as a defense mechanism? Only Anthony will know.
One day maybe when he is old and grey he will sit back and reflect on an opportunity missed. An opportunity to promote the Aboriginal cause with more class, an opportunity to fully test himself in the ring, an opportunity to represent his country with distinction. The window has just about closed.
The reality is Mundine was a top rugby league player good enough to represent his state and a world class fighter, who was just not quite good enough when up against the very best. As a Nation we should celebrate this, however the egotistic mouth and bravado means that the majority of Australians think nothing more of Mundine than as a loud mouth Ali wannabe who won’t shut up.
His legacy will deserve more but Anthony only has himself to blame.