Mundine’s eventful career is conclusively ended by Horn, writes Neil Devey
Jeff Horn crushes Australian rival Anthony Mundine
THE curtain crashed down on the career of Australian boxing’s most divisive figure as Anthony Mundine departed the stage on the back of a humiliating 96-second defeat.
Not many fancied Mundine to upset hometown favourite Jeff Horn at the Suncorp Stadium (D&L Events and BOXA Promotions). At 43, he had fought fewer than two rounds since his contentious February 2017 points loss to cruiserweight Danny Green, and he looked drawn at the weigh-in for this 156 1/2lb catchweight bout. But even “The Man’s” most scathing critics could not have anticipated the sad nature of this devastating first-round loss (set for 12).
Mundine, from Sydney, has often been a slow starter, watchfully working his way into fights. Here he looked extra cautious, timid even, as Horn set about testing him to the midriff. A right hand over the top then had Mundine in half-retreat, before Horn closed in to land an arcing left to the jaw which looked solid but nothing more.
Yet it was heavy enough to dump Mundine on the canvas and heading to retirement after 18-plus years in the sport. Referee Phil Austin began the count, but after getting past ‘five’ he realised Mundine was cooked and called it off at 1-36.
Perhaps it was for the best that Mundine discovered his punch resistance had gone so early in the bout rather than take a beating. But for all he has given the sport down under, both good and bad, the former WBA super-middleweight titlist deserved a better send-off.
“That’s life, man. You can’t cry over it, it’s meant to be and we’ve got to move on,” Mundine said.
In contrast, for 30-year-old Horn this was the perfect return to the venue at which he defeated Manny Pacquiao in July 2017 to win the WBO welterweight title. After making one successful defence against Gary Corcoran five months later, former geography teacher Horn was schooled by Terence Crawford in June this year. No shame in that. And losing the belt freed up Horn to tread a wellworn path and meet Mundine for his biggest payday so far.
Fellow Aussie former world champions Green, Daniel Geale and Sam Soliman had each reaped the financial reward of getting it on with Mundine – all three facing him more than once. His mouth and his talent make him an irresistible pay-per-view draw to thousands in Australia. Now it was Horn’s turn, even if this was against a shadow of the boxer who outclassed Green in the country’s highest-grossing PPV event in May 2006, or even the one who overcame the thenunbeaten Sergey Rabchenko four years ago.
“I don’t feel like I’ve really had a fight to be honest,” Horn told Australian radio the following morning. “It’s a good feeling to not have any of the bruises and marks on you the day after, so it’s a great result for me.
“I watched the replay and he did land a couple of grazing shots, but nothing heavy landed, nothing that I can remember anyway, so they were pretty light.”
Now with business taken care of on the home front, Horn’s team are again looking overseas.
“We’ll be looking at all opportunities in three weight divisions really,” his trainer, Glenn Rushton, said. “Jeff can fight at welterweight – I know he can make welter. He showed tonight he can easily adapt to either super-welter or even middleweight.
“You’ve got to go where the big fights are. We want the big fights. There’s no point fighting the easy fights.”
One fighter who had similar ambitions was Tamworth’s Kye Mackenzie, ranked No. 2 at lightweight by the WBO and even talking up a fight with Vasyl Lomachenko. Alas, Mackenzie was put in his place over six rounds by Perth furniture removalist Francis Chua, who took up the sport last year, aged 32. The scores were 59-56 (Allan Burford) and 58-56 (Cyril Cairns) in favour of southpaw Chua, against Phillip Holiday’s 58-56 card for Mackenzie. Tony Kettlewell officiated.
Brisbane’s Cameron Hammond continued his climb up the rankings with an entertaining 10-round points win at welterweight over Venezuelan Frank Rojas. Adam Height (100-90), Derek Milham (99-92) and Rodney Marsh (9892) all scored for Hammond. Paul Tapley was the referee.
THE VERDICT Not the way Mundine would have wanted to go out.
HUMILIATING: Horn dispatches Mundine in 96 seconds