Of all the ways Anthony Mundine envisioned his career between the ropes ending, this surely wasn’t it.
In less time than it would take to make a bowl of two-minute noodles, the 43-year-old Australian boxing legend was splayed across the canvas after a blistering left-hook from Jeff Horn landed right on the button.
The former rugby player looked every bit of 43 from the opening bell. ‘The Hornet’ stung Mundine with an overhand right in the first exchange of the fight and refused to give his withered rival a chance to recover.
Mundine attempted to shake off the cobwebs and fire back with his rangy jab but quickly ate a hard punch. Then another. And another, until he went crashing to the mat.
It was a picture-perfect performance by Horn and precisely the type of showing he needed to have against an over-the-hill Mundine.
“I was expecting a tough fight from Choc,” Horn said after the fight. “(But) I felt really really strong at this weight.”
The Queenslander was undecided on which division his next fight will be contested in. “We’ll see what opportunities arise.” He quipped.
Horn has flirted with the idea of rematches against Manny Pacquiao and Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford in the past but most industry insiders agree that his chances of luring either fighter to Australia for another go-around are slim at best.
Regardless of his next move, dispatching of Mundine in front of 25,000-plus spectators in his own backyard was a true passing of the torch moment for Horn, anointing him as the biggest box office attraction in Australian boxing.
“That’s the next generation, man,” Mundine admitted in defeat. “I was ready. I was prepared well. It’s just boxing, you get caught sometimes.”
When asked if this was the final time we would see him step between the ropes, Mundine didn’t hesitate, stating his “time’s up.”
Of course, in the world of prizefighting no retirement is ever set in stone but in this case, I sincerely hope this one sticks.
The truth is, ‘The Man’ has been playing with fire for the past few years and last night he got burned badly.
Mundine flirted with the idea of retirement after a one-sided whooping at the hands of America’s Charles Hatley in 2015.
Since then, the aging boxer has continued to get punched in the face both behind closed doors and in public, suffering defeats to Danny Green and now Horn.
It’s certainly not the storybook ending that the former two-weight world champion hoped for, but it’s not the worst one either.
The former Brisbane and St George player exits the sport as one of the most memorable Aussie boxers of all-time.
Always the villain, always wearing the black hat, Mundine riled up fans to the point where they would splurge on buying his fights in hopes of seeing him get knocked out.
I guess it’s fitting that they finally got their wish.