Anthony Mundine insists fight will go on, with or without Shane Mosley

October 22, 2013 in Best Of, Boxing, Humor, Sport by pacejmiller

mundinemosley

“I bet you don’t have the balls to pull out of the fight,” Mundine says to Mosley.

The boxing world is in shock today after American boxing great Shane Mosley quit a fight for the first time in his life, walking out of Wednesday night’s bout against former Australian rugby league star Anthony “The Man” Mundine. Witnesses say a man bearing a striking resemblance to Mosley was seen in green cargo pants, Nike sneakers and a walking frame at Sydney International Airport on Tuesday morning waiting to catch a flight back to the United States.

Mosley, 42, said he had “no choice” but to bail after the fight’s co-promoter, Millennium Events, failed to deliver AU$700,000 as promised by 5pm on Monday afternoon. Mosley had already received AU$300,000 as part of his AU$1 million deal to take on Mundine at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, but his promoter said they “had to protect him” because no fighter should ever step into the ring unless they have received their entire purse before a fight, and “not a cent less.”

“It’s outrageous, egregious, preposterous,” said a lawyer representing Golden Boy, Mosley’s promoter.

Mosley (47-8-1, 39 KOs), who has three losses and a draw in his last five fights and is generally regarded as washed up, said he was bitterly disappointed because he had been planning to make a “big statement” by beating Mundine, who lost his previous fight in a controversial decision (according to himself) against countryman Daniel Geale in January. Mosley said later that things turned out for the best in the end as he had made “an even bigger statement for all of boxing” by walking away from the fight, demonstrating that “money is the most important part of the sweet science.”

“In a world of crooked promoters, corrupt judges and shameless sanctioning organizations, someone — and I guess that means me, Sugar Shane — had to take a stand, or more correctly in this case, walk away,” Mosley said, adding that the AU$300,000 he already received will be put to a “good cause”, without providing any further explanation.

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Mosley at Sydney Airport on Tuesday morning, happy to be leaving with AU$300,000 in cash

For the 38-year-old Mundine (44-5, 26KOs), however, Mosley walking away on the eve of the bout is not a big problem.

“Mosley-Mundine will go on, with or without Sugar Shane,” Mundine insisted. “Seriously, I couldn’t care less.”

The attitude is consistent with Mundine’s earlier statements when Mosley skipped out on several promotional events in the lead-up to the fight, including a press conference, a radio show and a TV appearance on Channel Nine.

“There are all types of rumours but the fight is going ahead, I have no doubt,” Mundine said at the time.

When pressed on how the bout would be possible without one of the billed fighters, Mundine said: “The promoters and I have been looking at all possible alternatives so that we won’t have to refund any of the ticket holders or people who have paid for the pay-per-view. And trust me, we have some great options that might be even better than the original event.”

The first option outlined by Mundine is for him to take on “another Mosley.”

“There are lots of Mosleys out there,” Mundine explained. “And if we do that we won’t even have to change the Mosley-Mundine banners and posters. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

One possible replacement mentioned by Mundine was Oswald Mosley, the English politician known as the founding father of the British Union of Fascists. When told that Oswald Mosley died in 1980, Mundine shrugged and did another quick Google search on his smartphone.

“Well there’s also the author Walter Mosley. It seems he’s American too, from his website bio,” Mundine said as he scrolled down the list of search results. “There’s also a company called Mosley Electronics. I could take on their CEO or one of their electronic products. It’ll be like the Street Fighter II bonus round. Perfect!”

If all else fails, according to Mundine, he could just shadow box for 10 rounds by himself.

“Mike Tyson had a one man show,” he said.

“I know y’all are disappointed, but as the fat lady once sang, the show must go on,” Mundine said. “The only difference now is that instead of predicting victory I will guarantee it. That is of course unless the judges decide to screw me again.”

Analysis: Mayweather toys with Canelo in snoozer

September 15, 2013 in Boxing, Sport by pacejmiller

MayweatherBeast_crop_north

People who wanted to see him lose have gone home disappointed yet again. At the end of 12 rounds at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Floyd “Money” Mayweather cruised to his 45th win in 45 fights (and earning about AU$45 million doing it) by outpointing Mexican idol Canelo Alvarez — and it wasn’t even close. Mayweather danced, moved, blocked, deflected, pot-shotted and countered all night on his way to what should have been a near-shutout, though the ineptitude of (at least one of) the judges gave us a majority decision with laughable scores of  116-112, 117-111 and 114-114.

Mayweather was dominating so much that he didn’t need to take any real risks. That’s probably why the fight was so boring. If there was any tension at all, it was from the anticipation that maybe Canelo could catch Money with a big shot, a big shot that looked less and less likely as the fight progressed. Big fights at this level are rarely the slug fests boxing fans hope for, but this one was a snoozer. And to be fair, it wasn’t all Mayweather’s fault.

I was surprised, not by the outcome, but by the way the fight progressed. The fight was made at a catchweight of 152 pounds, which favoured the natural welterweight (147 pound limit) Mayweather over the natural junior middleweight (154 pound limit) Alvarez, but the 23-year-old young gun did little to impose his 15-pound advantage over the 36-year-old veteran on fight night. (Canelo weighed in at 152 but ballooned to 165 while Floyd dropped from 150.5 to 150)

It was almost as though Canelo resigned himself to the fact that he would have to knock Mayweather out before the opening bell. I thought he would rush Mayweather early, catch him off guard, and put the pressure on early; not allow the master craftsman to adjust so he could dictate the pace. But instead, Canelo was super cautious in the first few rounds, feinting more than punching, and even then mostly throwing just straight body blows. I suppose the strategy was to try and take Mayweather’s legs away from him early to slow him down a little, and then come on strong in the middle to later rounds to take advantage of their perceived fitness advantage from the 13-year age difference.

It was a horrible idea, because it allowed Mayweather to relax into his game plan without any sense of real danger, and more importantly, rack up a huge lead on the score cards. With Mayweather’s unmatched accuracy, foot speed and defense, it was always going to be impossible for Alvarez to outbox him, but that was exactly what he tried to do. There were a couple of rounds where neither guy did a lot that could have gone either way, but after six I had Mayweather winning each and every round.

Then Canelo’s corner finally urged him to start putting on the pressure, and he did, but it wasn’t enough as Mayweather found an answer for every onslaught. The most success Canelo had was when he had Mayweather on the ropes (an extremely rare sight all night, mind you), where he would tag him with successive heavy body blows. But those punches are never as impressive to the judges as the snapping counters Mayweather landed to Canelo’s head.

Instead of Mayweather tiring and slowing down, it was Alvarez who started to look like he needed a break. His stopped using his jab and allowed Mayweather to get into his pocket and tee up sharp lead rights and one-two combos. On the other hand, Canelo’s power punches started getting wider and more telegraphed, allowing Mayweather to easily dodge or deflect them.

It was a boxing clinic that purists will appreciate, but it was also frustrating to watch Canelo get so frustrated by his ability to catch his opponent. It wasn’t that Mayweather was unwilling to engage in exchanges — it was just that he didn’t need to. Even when they did exchange, Mayweather seemed to get the better end of it, always finishing off with a sharp punch before tying the young man up. Before the fight analysts said that Canelo was probably still a few years off reaching his prime, and they were probably right. He never gave up, but he just seemed more and more deflated by his failure to launch any sort of meaningful assault as the fight wore on.

The experts, most of whom picked Mayweather, only gave Canelo a puncher’s chance. That’s what I gave him as well. And it looked like that’s all he had all night long. At least he is US$5-12 million richer, and losing against the pound-for-pound king won’t drop his stock by much.

Compubox numbers are generally misleading, but here they paint a compelling picture. Mayweather landed 232 punches at 46%, while Alvarez landed just 117 punches at 22%. Game. Set. Match.

At the end of the day, it was a very disappointing superfight because it did not come anywhere near to fulfilling the hype. A lot of early posturing, very sporadic action, no knockdowns, no big shots landed, no fighter in any serious trouble, and an early foregone conclusion regarding the result. Canelo (who fell to 42-1-1) was supposed to be an exciting young stud who would give Mayweather a run for his money and even potentially end the unbeaten reign, but instead he simply walked right into the Mayweather steam train. Apart from the huge speed disadvantage in hand and particularly foot speed (not to mention technical skill), Canelo also failed to make the fight more interesting because of a silly game plan. You just don’t try to outbox the best boxer in the world.

I still think stylistically, the only guy out there who could potentially give Mayweather trouble is a prime Manny Pacquiao (and even then Pacquiao would be a major underdog), but we all know that ship has already sailed. A bout with the recently-KO’ed Pacquiao could still become an eventual reality, but let’s just see how the Filipino congressman does in his upcoming November 23 bout against Brando Rios first.

Anthony Mundine explains “blatant robbery” against Daniel Geale

January 31, 2013 in Best Of, Boxing, Humor, Sport by pacejmiller

Anthony Mundine hits Daniel Geale on the fist with a perfectly timed chin

Anthony Mundine hits Daniel Geale on the fist with a perfectly timed chin

In one of the most shocking and disgraceful decisions in boxing history, Anthony “The Man” Mundine was blatantly robbed in Sydney last night against Daniel Geale in their high-anticipated rematch. Despite dominating the historical 12-round championship fight (that was not reported by any mainstream media outside of Australia), Mundine suffered his fifth career defeat with scores of 117-111, 117-111, 116-112, all in favor of reigning IBF Middleweight champion Geale.

A shattered and bewildered Mundine fled the Sydney Entertainment Center as soon as the decision was announced, but after finding time to compose himself later in the evening, told reporters what everyone clearly knew — he was robbed.

“I walked straight into an ambush, that is the best way I can sum it up,” he said, fighting back tears. “I obviously had to knock him out. I knew that, I said before the fight that the only way they were going to beat me is if they rob me, but I didn’t think it was going to be so obvious and I didn’t think it was going to be so blatant, as blatant as the headbutts and elbows I was constantly getting away with during the fight.”

Mundine said he intentionally took all those stinging jabs and crushing body blows from Geale because he believed demonstrating his endurance and “ability to take a punch” was going to impress the judges more than landing any meaningful punches of his own.

“I knew I had to prove to the judges I didn’t have a glass head after two previous incidents that didn’t reflect too well on me,” Mundine explained, referring to this:

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and this:

“Both those incidents were intentional, though,” he added, “because no one would agree to fight me if they knew how unstoppable I truly was.”

Mundine didn’t think his second fight with Geale was even close, and said he believed every boxing expert and audience member who thought Geale easily won the fight had obviously been bribed. Either that or because “they hate me for all the racist, inflammatory, nonsensical, moronic and boneheaded things I have said throughout the years,” he said.

“I thought I was dominant enough to get the victory,” Mundine said. “Honestly, I thought it was eight rounds to four — all day. That is why I was so buoyant after the fight but they took my fourth world title off me, man.”

Mundine explained that he only “acted like I was losing” all throughout the fight because he didn’t want to appear too cocky, unlike Geale, “that shameless showboater,” he said. “My corner was only pretending to be desperate but we really thought we had the fight in the bag all along. I only acted like Geale’s punches hurt me because I felt sorry for him after I accused him of being a fake Aborigine and said those insensitive but true things about his wife and kids.”

Mundine even claimed that his corner secretly applied make-up in between rounds to make it look like his face was bruised and swollen from Geale’s punches. “I decided if I was going to be the good guy I was going to go all in,” he added.

The man who calls himself “The Man” said the reason why his face and body language were so convincing was because he got acting tips from his good buddy Russell Crowe in exchange for giving Crowe singing lessons for Les Miserables.

Crowe, who was ringside, tweeted after the fight: “Geale v Mundine, bullshit biased commentary, bullshit biased result. Nobody won that fight. 15 rounds next time.” He later clarified that he didn’t think the fight was “actually a draw” as the tweet suggested and said that if 15 rounds was good enough for him in Cinderella Man, based on a true story set in the Great Depression, then it would be good enough for Mundine-Geale III in 2013.

Crowe then directed reporters to this award-winning article which showed what a true stand-up guy he was.

Sonny Bill Williams, another truly stand-up fellow who walked out on his footy team midway through a season for more money overseas, didn’t just believe, but actually thought Mundine won the fight when the decision was announced, tweeting last night: “Hanging out with @Anthony_Mundine celebrating a victory.”

Williams was stunned when told later that Mundine in fact lost the fight. “I thought when they said the winner was  ‘still the IBF champion of the world’ they were referring to Choc. I didn’t realise Choc has never held the IBF title. In any weight class. Ever. It was still a good night out though.”

Mundine admits had he pressured Geale more he might never have left the fight in the hands of the judges. “If I would have put the second and third attack, now I kick myself, I probably would have knocked him out,” he said. “That is how dominant I was. I was hitting him hard with all parts of my body and I was hurting him. My cheekbone was doing serious damage to his left jab and I think my ribs might have even fractured his right fist.”

Pacquiao knocked out cold by Marquez!

December 9, 2012 in Boxing, Sport by pacejmiller

Photo: Julie Jacobson/AP

What a fight, what a stunning KO! This was an outcome few people saw coming, but boy was it a glorious finale to a rivalry between two ultimate warriors. In their fourth and best fight, Juan Manuel Marquez KO’d Manny Pacquiao with a crushing right hand counter at full force that connected flush on the Filipino’s chin with a second left in the sixth round, sending Pacquiao crumpling to the canvas like a sack of potatoes. It was every bit as devastating as the Pacquiao punch that KO’d Ricky Hatton or the Sergio Martinez punch that KO’d Paul Williams. I’m not sure if there was a count but it didn’t matter because Pacquiao was out cold for several minutes afterwards, though fortunately he was eventually able to get up and congratulate his conqueror.

It was a remarkable action fight full of twists and turns. Pacquiao (who weighed in yesterday at the welter limit of 147 pounds) started out the aggressor and most probably took the first two rounds by landing more punches and more effective punches than Marquez (143 pounds). The lead left hand proved effective for Pacquiao while Marquez appeared willing to spend more time to figure things out, using body blows to try and slow his opponent down and set up power shots up top.

It turned out to be the right strategy for Marquez, as just when it appeared Pacquiao might start cruising to a points victory, Marquez turned the tables in the third round with a huge overhand right after a body feint than floored Pacquiao for the first time in their four fights. It was a demonstration of the kind of power that the “new” Marquez possessed at welterweight, and it showed that his muscles were not just for show.

Pacquiao got up and survived the round, and it seemed like Marquez might begin to overpower the Pac-man. But instead, Pacquiao was able to find his legs and gutted out a fourth round that could have gone either way.

In the fifth, Pacquiao grew even more aggressive and evened the tables with a straight left hand that struck Marquez on the chin, forcing the Mexican to land his glove on the floor. The knockdown was not a devastating one but it showed that Pacquiao still carried some sting in his punches. As expected, Marquez came back valiantly with some big blows of his own, until Pacquiao unleashed a punishing right hook that clearly hurt him. This time, it was Marquez that had to hang on until the end of the round, and to his credit he did so fighting out of the corners.

Things looked great for Pacquiao for most of the sixth round as he busted up Marquez’s face with more sharp punches, widening the gap on the Compubox scores (which Pacquiao dominated 94 at 37% to 52 to 21%). He appeared to be hurting his opponent and even prompted suggestions that he might finish Marquez off soon.

But I don’t think it was a lucky punch that turned out the lights for Pacquiao because Marquez had clearly been timing that right hand counter all night, and he just happened to land it perfectly. Pacquiao was getting confident and perhaps a little careless, and it was obvious he was trying to finish off the sixth round on a strong note. And so when Pacquiao lunged forward with a right hand with a second left in the round it played right into Marquez’s hands. The Mexican warrior craftily evaded the blow and launched a beautiful right hand that connected right on the button – from behind you could see the crushing force jolt Pacquiao’s cranium. He collapsed face first to the canvas and seconds later Marquez was celebrating on the corner post.

What a sensational, action packed fight. No matter who you were going for, you have to admire the skills and hearts of the two fighters.  It certainly lends credibility to the argument that Marquez is the better fighter and has been all along, or at least the suggestion that Marquez is Pacquiao’s kryptonite.

I’d prefer to see the two of them fight someone else now or retire. In the aftermath of the KO there were immediate rumblings about a fifth fight, but I think Marquez has nothing left to prove against Pacquiao. Yes, Pacquiao was winning the fight up to that point (leading 47-46 on all three scorecards and probably would have gotten the sixth round too had the fight not ended there) and had hurt Marquez, but that KO was a perfect ending to their rivalry — there could not have been a more definitive conclusion after so many close fights. If they keep fighting, when will it ever end?

This whole time boxing fans were thinking Floyd Mayweather Jr was Pacquiao’s fated rival but as it turned out Marquez held that role all along. I guess now we will never see Mayweather-Pacquiao, but at the same time I don’t think too many people care anymore after being jerked around for so many years. Pacquiao said immediately after the fight that he is not going to retire and is going to come back, but I think it’s a good time for him to hang up the gloves. No shame in going out on a punch like that from an opponent like Marquez. But on the other hand, if they fight again, I’m pretty sure I’ll be watching.

As for me, I was wrong again in my prediction. From now on I’m going to live like this guy.

Fight Prediction: Pacquiao-Marquez IV

December 7, 2012 in Boxing, Sport by pacejmiller

The fourth fight between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday night in Las Vegas is what it is. No one (other than the people making a lot of money from it) is “excited” about it. Sure, it’ll likely be a close, exciting fight, like the previous three times they met in the ring, but will it really “settle things once and for all” like the fighters and promotions claim? Wasn’t that what the third fight was supposed to do?

Pacquiao-Marquez is a strange rivalry. Trilogies usually have one guy winning and first fight, the other guy winning the second, and then a third fight to determine the ultimate victor. In this case, Pacquiao is officially undefeated against Marquez after three fights (going 2-0-1, although the first fight, a draw, would have gone Pacquiao’s way had one of the judges scored round 1 correctly and given Pacquiao a 10-6 round instead of a 10-7 round after he dropped Marquez three times), but many experts and fans believe Marquez won all three.

So what does this fourth fight achieve? It won’t change the results of the first three bouts. Maybe Pacquiao will knock Marquez out. Maybe Marquez will finally get the victory he deserves. Or perhaps, there will be another controversial decision. Then what? Are we going to see a fifth fight?

Even Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, has said it before: that Pacquiao and Marquez could fight each other a hundred times and it will be close and controversial every time. Should we believe anything different will happen this time?

Interestingly, when I looked around online for predictions, boxing experts and writers are predicting a close but uncontroversial Marquez decision. The reasoning is that after the outrage surrounding fight no. 3, which many felt Marquez won comfortably, the judges will be, consciously or subconsciously, influenced to favour Marquez in their scoring. These are, of course, the same people that predicted Pacquiao would steamroll Marquez and knock him out in their previous fight.

There are other factors too. Marquez is looking huge, buffed and cut, meaning he has transitioned to welterweight extremely well and appears to have added power without losing much speed. Pacquiao, on the other hand, hasn’t looked impressive since he beat Antonio Margarito more than two years ago (and hasn’t knocked out or even knocked down an opponent since Miguel Cotto a year before that). He’s obviously slowing down and appears to have lost the devastating form that took him to the very top of most pound-for-pound lists, they say. All other things being equal, the logical outcome is a Marquez points win.

The few that are backing Pacquiao insist he is a different fighter and will finally knock Marquez out. They say Pacquaio had leg cramps last fight (and that he won’t have them again this time), he was distracted (watching a Boston Celtics game before the fight) and his personal life was in complete disarray (his marriage was on the rocks and he was gambling, philandering and drinking).

I’m not sure I buy all of that because we never hear any of the negative stuff about Pacquiao until after his fight or just before his next fight to explain lacklustre performances. It just comes off like a poor excuse. And let’s not forget, Pacquiao supposedly turned his life around prior to his previous fight with Tim Bradley, and he lost that one (though to be fair, everyone apart from the judges thought he won, albeit not very impressively).

Pacquiao supporters also point to suggestions that Marquez, wary of the judges, will be going for a knockout himself and negate his biggest strength: counterpunching. That’s unlikely to me, because he’s a counterpuncher by nature. Marquez said it himself that he will be more aggressive but won’t be looking for the KO, though if the opportunity presents itself he would go for it.

What holds more water is the way Freddie Roach has been talking about Pacquiao. Freddie talks up Pacquiao’s conditioning and form before every fight, but this time he seems genuinely excited. He was eager to point out how Pacquiao has knocked down his sparring partners four times during the camp, which has not happened in a long time. That means a lot more to me than all that religious awakening stuff.

And I also haven’t forgotten that Marquez is 39 years old. Granted, he’s aged well and is no ordinary 39-year-old, but there is a chance his counterpunching reflexes and speed are just that little slower than last time.

So how do I see the fight panning out? Honestly, I don’t know. Conventional wisdom suggests another close fight, one that could go either way. Everyone is guessing that it will either be a clear(er) Marquez decision or a Pacquiao KO. Given that I’ve been wrong in just about all my boxing predictions ever, I thought I’d go out on a limb and guess something different from the mainstream. Accordingly, my prediction is that Pacquiao will shock everyone and win a clear cut decision. I don’t think he will knock Marquez out, but I do believe there could be knockdowns and there will be punishment.

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