Nasser and Mundine split: Where to now for the sports agent?
Anthony Mundine [AAP]
Khoder Nasser, probably the most powerful sports manager in Australia, has reportedly split from his long-time client Anthony Mundine.
The news came from the Daily Telegraph a few days ago – and I heard from a source that Mundine was the one that had made the decision.
It is unclear whether the split came before or after Mundine debuted in the US with a win over Bronco McKart.
Nasser is seen by many as a controversial figure in Australian sport.
He has advised Mundine for more than a decade, from the transition from the NRL to boxing. He has been Sonny Bill Williams’ agent since 2008 (negotiating that infamous mid-season departure from the Dogs to Toulon) and is also the manager of Quade Cooper (and Cory Paterson).
In that trio he has the ear of three of the top athletes in Australia and New Zealand.
Each commands huge pulling power and interest. Nasser has secured massive deals for his clients and while he may have plenty of critics, you can’t argue with his results.
Mundine has had massive pay-days as a boxer while SBW has enjoyed big salaries in France and now has a lucrative 12-game contract in Japan.
Greg Bearup wrote a fascinating profile of Nasser for The Sydney Morning Herald – back in 2010.
In it he revealed that Nasser was old-school, unconventional and driven. He has no full-time staff, doesn’t use a computer, dresses modestly and doesn’t have contracts with his clients – it’s all done by a handshake.
He also quotes the praise of Johnny Lewis, Australia’s iconic boxing trainer.
Lewis says he is the best boxing manager/promoter Australia has ever produced and credits him with reviving the sport here through his savvy management of Mundine.
“Anthony may be The Man, but Khoder is The King,” Lewis tells me. “If I had a young boxer with big potential, I’d get down on my knees and beg Khoder to manage him. I think he’s a genius.”
In a 2010 documentary on Mundine, Nasser was described as the mastermind of the Mundine camp.
Another great trainer, Billy Hussein, said Nasser was “the best manager we’ve got in Australia, if not one of the best in the world. He just does his job, goes under the radar and you can see what he’s done for Anthony – he’s done a wonderful, wonderful job.”
All of Mundine’s 48 fights have been on pay-per-view – that is impressive by anyone’s standards.
A devout Muslim and a son of Libyan migrants, Nasser is not your normal Australian agent. He’s not like powerful agents Ricky Nixon and Sam Ayoub, who have faced their fair share of scandals. But as Bearup’s piece shows, Nasser is ruthless, driven and will do anything to get the best for his clients. That last bit is what any sports star wants in a manager.
Love him or not, Nasser has been effective. In some ways, he has kind of been Australia’s answer to David Falk.
Not as powerful as Michael Jordan’s former manager – and certainly not in the corporate world – but he has pulled the strings for some of this country’s biggest sporting names and they have been rewarded handsomely.
So what does the future hold for Team Mundine and Nasser himself?
Well, it’s hard to say. No reasons have been given for the split, but Mundine’s foray into the US may have played a big part.
Nasser will have been consumed by SBW’s recent deal but Mundine will need a massive effort for his dream of a Floyd Mayweather bout to come off. Despite the spin, Mundine’s US debut didn’t set the world alight.
It was a solid start, but most reasonable judges believe that that the 37-year old former Dragons five-eighth has left his run at the heartland of the sweet science too late.
Nasser has been in Mundine’s corner for over 12 years. A change this late in the game might be a bad move for ‘The Man’, or it might be just what he needs as he aims to climb the last hurdle.