Mun­dine’s event­ful ca­reer is con­clu­sively ended by Horn, writes Neil Devey

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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

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