Fight animals

Boxing is the red light district of professional sport.  It is marginalised and corrupt.  It is self regulated and embarrassing.  Organising a fight shouldn’t be so tough.


No one should be surprised that Sugar Shane Mosley fled Australia the day before his fight with Anthony Mundine.  No one should be surprised that the promoter, Vlad Wharton, missed a pecuniary deadline.


This is professional boxing, punch for pay, and someone is always trying to land a shot outside the ring.  The credibility of Australian boxing, which was already at an historical low, has taken another beating.


Pity the next promoter who tries to tempt a name fighter to Australia.


But contracts are broken all the time in boxing.  Fighters have been screwed by promoters forever.  There should be no surprise that Mosley’s contract wasn’t honoured.  The surprise is that he had enough fortitude to walk out on the fight.


Mosley wanted his money upfront, as most fighters do.  A guarantee wasn’t good enough.  By 5pm on Monday the money hadn’t arrived.  The Mosley entourage moved to an airport hotel.


This was no bluff.  Mosley had already missed two scheduled press conferences to hype the fight.


Tuesday morning, despite pleas from Jeff Fenech, Khoder Nassur and a guarantee from Main Event, Mosley flew home.  He can’t be criticised.  As a legend of boxing, he didn’t need to put up with this garbage.


Had Mosley accepted the fight, another promoter might’ve taken advantage of his age and good grace, you fought on a promise in Australia…


Simply, Mosley had no option but to walk.


Mundine was seething.  ‘It’s a classic case of a sooky American,’ he said on Tuesday afternoon.  ‘To want to be paid a million dollars before a fight is beyond demanding, but it’s what these big names want.’


Big names can do that.  This was supposed to be the biggest fight involving an American since Danny Green knocked out Roy Jones in 2009.


It is obvious Mosley isn’t a big name anymore.  Mundine is too old to be a big name.  The respect he craved remains unfulfilled, despite numerous world titles.


Fighting Mosley should’ve been an easy bout to sell, but less than 2000 tickets had been sold.  Pay-per-view sales were low.  There was no interest for a reputed name like Mosley to get his money.


Ten years ago, there is no way Mosley would’ve come to Australia for a fight.  Ten years ago he was earning ten million per bout.  He was a great fighter but Mosley is 42.  He has retired once and has one win from his last five fights.


The big names don’t want to fight him, which is why an offer of a million bucks for a fight against Mundine was too good to refuse.


In the promotional ads, Mosley’s words had to be captioned.  He sounded like a man who has been fighting for three decades.  He sounded like a man who needs to stop fighting.


He sounded like a man who needed a million bucks, which is why he came to Australia.


‘It’s disappointing,’ Mundine said.  ‘I’ve put myself through hell to prepare for this.  I’ve never trained harder for anything, because it was such a big deal to beat him and then get to America.’


Despite being the underdog, Mosley had a huge chance of winning.  Mundine doesn’t have a world class chin.  He’s fighting below his natural weight, and he wasn’t going to outbox Mosley.  I expected Mosley to knock Mundine out.


But Mundine wasn’t important enough for Mosley to stick around, no matter the guarantee.  Mundine is virtually unrated by most sanctioning bodies.  Had Mosley won, he would’ve beaten a fringe contender.


Those in America would’ve shrugged their shoulders, big deal.  Had Mundine won, he would’ve beaten up another faded veteran, big deal.


Mundine doesn’t have the skills or the profile to secure a major fight.  He is kidding himself if he expects to step into the ring against Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao.


Victory over Mosley might’ve gotten him to America but it would have been on an undercard, against another faded veteran.


‘I’m shattered for the fans,’ Mundine said. ‘A lot of people wanted to see me in the ring against this guy and a lot of people had already paid for their ticket.’


Mundine remains determined to make the fight happen, but Wharton will be out.  Mundine wants his own team to promote the fight.  There is talk that Khoder Nasser could be back.


Nasser, it must be remembered, presided over the farce between Sonny Bill Williams and Frans Botha in February.  That fight was reduced from twelve rounds to ten.  Depending on who you believe, Botha found out half an hour before the fight or half an hour after the fight started.


At least Botha got into the ring.


Mosley issued a statement saying he was disappointed, but he didn’t look too fussed walking around the airport.


‘I was planning on making a big statement by beating Mundine,’ Mosley said.  ‘But I was left with no choice but to withdraw.  The fans in Australia have welcomed me with open arms, and I hope to return to fight for them one day in better circumstances.’


Those circumstances require a million bucks, paid on time.   Mosley isn’t going to get punched for less.  He still has his name, and it’s worth a million.


Mosley should walk away from this experience and retire.  He is a cinch for boxing’s hall of fame.  There is nothing left to prove.


Mundine should retire too.  Only 1900 people in Sydney wanted to watch him fight live.  Barely anyone bought the pay-per-view.


No one cares anymore.


But this is boxing.  That no one cares anymore is just the beginning of its problems…




About Matt Watson

My name is Matt Watson, avid AFL, cricket and boxing fan. Since 2005 I’ve been employed as a journalist, but I’ve been writing about sport for more than a decade. In that time I’ve interviewed legends of sport and the unsung heroes who so often don’t command the headlines. The Ramble, as you will find among the pages of this website, is an exhaustive, unbiased, non-commercial analysis of sport and life. I believe there is always more to the story. If you love sport like I do, you will love the Ramble…


  1. Andrew Starkie says

    Well said. Sad, but all true. Boxing needs Geale back on top.

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