GREEN-MUNDINE II — Although widely lampooned when the match was made, the Feb. 3 encounter between Danny Green and Anthony Mundine was yet a compelling attraction Down Under. The bout at the Adelaide Oval reportedly drew the second highest rating for a pay-per-view boxing event in Australia, surpassed only by the first meeting in 2006.
When the smoke cleared, the 43-year-old Green (36-5) avenged his loss in the first meeting, upending his 41-year-old rival on a majority decision. Mundine (47-8) did some of his best work in the late rounds and the consensus of the ringside media was that a draw would have been a fair verdict, notwithstanding the fact that one of the judges had it 98-90.
The 10-round contest nearly ended in the opening round when Mundine clipped Green with a cheap shot, a punch that landed as the referee was breaking the fighters as Green was looking the other way. He was dazed but, given time to recover, the bout continued. In round seven, Green was penalized for excessive use of his elbows.
Green and Mundine engaged in a war of words before their 2006 engagement at the Sydney Football Stadium. The trash talk grew so intense that it dictated separate pre-fight press conferences. Mundine won a clear-cut, 12-round unanimous decision. Green attributed his showing to burning off too much weight in the days leading up to the fight. It was contested at 168 pounds.
A lot of water went under the bridge since that shindig. Mundine won the WBA super middleweight title and made four successful defenses. He then dropped down in weight and competed as a super welterweight. Green became a world titlist at 175 pounds and won several minor titles as a cruiserweight. For this fight, Mundine came in at 174 ¾ and Green at 182 ½.
Danny Green has been a popular performer in Australia since representing his country in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. Anthony Mundine, a second-generation prizefighter, has had an even higher profile. On the short list of greatest overall athletes in boxing history, Mundine at one time was the highest paid player in the Australian Rugby League. An indigenous Australian, he is one of Australia’s most polarizing personalities. He has described Australia as one of the most racist countries in the world and threatened to sit during the playing of the Australian National Anthem at yesterday’s fight. (The authorities nipped that controversy in the bud by playing the anthem while both fighters were still in their dressing rooms.)
This match ended like so many “grudge fights” do – with the fighters embracing. Interviewed in the ring, Danny Green spoke highly of his rival and asked the audience to give Mundine a round of applause.
Will they do it again, seeking to break the 1-1 tie in a rubber match? There would be a precedent for it. We are reminded that Julio Cesar Chavez and Frankie Randall were both in their forties when they completed their trilogy. However, the event was hyped as the farewell fight for both men.
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