THE GREEN-MUNDINE REMATCH. After a draw with Azumah Nelson in 1991 in Las Vegas, Nevada, the great Jeff Fenech came back a year later only to be stopped by the legendary “Professor.” Then after a 12-year hiatus, Jeff came back from retirement in 2006 to defeat Nelson by MD and even up the score at 1-1-1. Both have since been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
This time its Australian archrivals Danny Green (35-5) and Anthony “The Man” Mundine (47-7) in a rematch though both men have now faded into their early 40s and both are a shell of what they were when they met in 2006.
South Australia will host the long talked-about match between Mundine and Green. Sport and Tourism Minister Leon Bignell said the bout would happen on February 3 at Adelaide Oval. Perth, Sydney or Melbourne seemed like more logical locations, but logic has no role in boxing.
At first blush it would seem reasonable to frame this fight as a huge happening the likes of which have not been seen Down Under since Nelson-Fenech II, but upon reflection that would be folly since many see it as a sad joke or even as a morbid curiosity.
Phil Litton of the Sydney Morning Herald had this quick reaction:
“Ugh. It’s already started. Even for boxing, even for a politician [Bignell], describing the latest version of Anthony Mundine against Danny Green as the ‘biggest fight in Australian history’ is taking one almighty tinkle on the toilet of credibility.”
The two fought in 2006 in Sidney’s Allianz Stadium before 30,000 rabid fans and Mundine won on points. The rematch could draw almost 40,000 less rabid but more curious boxing fans to see if Danny can even up the score much like Fenech did against Nelson.
The Early Buzz
As for the early buzz, the quotes— mostly con– have been coming in at a fast and furious rate suggesting that hype will play a major role in selling tickers to this rematch.
“If Danny Green hits him with a very clean punch, Anthony could face a serious health problem …. believe that the fight shouldn’t be allowed to go ahead. Forget the money.” Jeff Fenech
“…while a lot of people will look at this as a gimmick fight, when you throw in the weight and the fact that power is the last thing to go — and Danny’s got plenty — there is a real risk that Anthony could get hurt and hurt quite badly in this fight.”— Cody Kaye (Fox Sports)
“It would be a sad money grabbing spectacle at best and a serious danger to both men’s health at worse.”– Brendan Bradford (syndicated sportswriter)
“He’s got the power. He’s probably going to be 10 kilograms heavier than me. But speed beats power.” — Anthony Mundine
“Australians all let us rejoice, cos this bloke’s about to get a proper tune-up.” — Danny Green
Based on past showings– that have been sparse and against underwhelming opposition– Mundine clearly appears to be a not-so-live underdog, but he continues to be outspoken and insulting towards Green. Mundine said of the 43-year-old Green during an interview with radio station KISS-FM: “He built his name off me, no one would have known who he was if it wasn’t for me, I put him on the map, he’d be fighting RSL clubs if it wasn’t for me.”
Green responded that “’He [Mundine] doesn’t like me, I don’t like him and I don’t like some of the s*** that he says or some of the s*** that he stands for.’ I’ll do it tomorrow if he wants to do it, I’ll do it now I’m warmed up, [and] somebody throw him some gloves…’He’s going to get smoked, smoked like a cigar. “
Green, who has been fighting as a cruiserweight, may have a point since he will need to lose just four kilograms for the match (a shade under nine pounds) while Mundine, a super-welterweight) will have to gain close to ten kilograms. Fox Sports boxing expert Cody Kaye described Mundine’s decision to accept the weight as virtual insanity. “It’s a lot harder for Anthony to put on that weight and for it to translate to genuine muscle and genuine power,” Kaye told Australia’s Fox Sports News 500.
Interestingly, both men during their respective careers beat legends that were well past their prime. Green ambushed Roy Jones Jr. early and stopped him in one round in 2009, while Mundine stopped a badly worn Sugar Shane Mosley in 2013 but was then clubbed all over the ring by Joshua Clottey in 2014.
Stoppage losses to Antonio Tarver and Krzystof Wlodarczyk in 2011 put a halt to Danny Green’s 10-fight win streak that began in 2006 shortly after his loss to Mundine in their first tussle. But the Green Machine has won his last four, defeating Danny Santiago (31-5-1) Shane Cameron (29-2), Argentina’s Roberto Filiciano Bolonti (36-3), and most recently Kane Watts (18-2) this past August for the vacant Australia cruiserweight title.
As for “The Man”, his last fight against brash Charles “The Future” Hatley (25-1-1 coming in) in November of 2015 was essentially over after the second round when Mundine shockingly hit the canvas three times and barely managed to survive the round. He took brutal punishment and while he showed great heart just to survive, the slaughter should have been stopped in that round. Here it is:
Many fans called for Anthony to retire after that beat down, and any thoughts of a final monster payday went down the drain except for the slim hope of a rematch with Green. However, since Mundine has made a small fortune through boxing, maybe something else is driving him.
Green has retired before, saying—with tears streaming down– no amount of money could tempt him to reverse a decision to quit made after having an early-morning Easter Sunday “epiphany.” “Mundine’s manager Khoder Nasser even had this to say at the time: “Danny is a gentleman who was part of the greatest fight in Australian history, he fought back from adversity to become a world champion again and his retirement is a massive loss to boxing.”
The retirement was short-lived. Hopefully, both will retire for good after this one.
Editor’s Note: This article first ran on Nov. 22, 2016.
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Ted Sares is one of the world’s oldest active power lifters and holds several records. He enjoys writing about boxing and is a member of Ring 4’s Boxing Hall of Fame.