Press Play: Daniel Smart from Doghouseboxing.com catches up with super talented 3 time, 3 division world boxing champion, Anthony "The Man" Mundine. In this expansive interview, Mundine talks about his background in professional rugby league, his limited amateur experience before turning professional, his work with the various charities, and his current negotiations with future hall of famer and former P4P king, 'Sugar" Shane Mosley on a superfight later in the year possibly being held in Australia.
This is an interview and a special piece I have wanted to do for a long time. Anthony “The Man” Mundine is a controversial yet humble character. Yes, that’s right, humble. In this wide ranging interview, we peel back the layers of the man that is perhaps the most controversial figure in professional sports. Behind the trash talking, the on camera bravado and the outrageous statements, I found a man who is a proud father and family man, an advocate for Indigenous Australians and the underprivileged from all races and creeds, and a man who is still hungry for more success inside the “squared circle”.
Anthony Mundine. You heard the name, now what does one think? Cocky, Brash, Arrogant, even at times distasteful? Maybe, maybe not? Draw your own conclusions. Before you do, consider this…a wise man once said “almost nothing is as it appears to be”. Often we all play characters in various stages in our lives, whether it be for self preservation, self promotion, or just by being self.
After I started talking to the man affectionately known by all as “Choc”, I soon began to see he fit into the “self promotion” category for a greater purpose. To entertain, to provide a good life for his family, and to achieve a burning ambition of adding more to his 3 world championship belts.
“Choc” is a supremely gifted athlete. “The Man” was once the highest paid professional rugby league player in Australia who represented New South Wales in the annual “State of Origin” series played down under every year. This is the pinnacle of any rugby players career, a feat achieved by Anthony. He was also a member of the Brisbane Broncos championship winning team in 1997, playing in the all important centre position.
Due to various reasons and being disillusioned with his rugby career, Mundine decided to leave, and turn his hand to boxing. Like his famous father, trainer, and former Commonwealth light heavyweight champion, Tony Mundine (challenged the great Carlos Monzon for the WBA middleweight crown in 1974 and also compiled a huge 80-15 64KO record), he decided that boxing was his destiny, and so began a career that his netted him 3 world titles, tens of millions of dollars, PPV records, and highly successful business ventures in the process. All this from a man who had only 4 amateur fights.
“I just felt it was my destiny to turn my hand to boxing and to win world titles. In my 10th pro fight, I fought Sven Ottke for his world title and was beating him right up until the 10th round. I then fought Antwun Echols (twice fought Bernard Hopkins, taking him the distance in their 1st fight) for my first world title in 2003, just 3 years after I turned pro”.
Team Mundine is currently in negotiations with former pound for pound king and future hall of fame legend, “Sugar” Shane Mosley for a mega fight looking to be held in Australia later this year. On Mosley, Mundine had this to say, “He’s a living legend, an icon of the sport. People think Mosley’s on the decline, but I think he’s got a lotta fight left in him. Like I said, he’s a legend of a fighter, and has been for many years. It would be an honour and a privilege for me to fight someone of that calibre”.
Only 3 weeks ago, Mosley fought the very tough Pablo Cesar Cano, who has challenged the legendary Erik Morales and the very talented Johan Perez for credible world titles. Mosley came away with a unanimous decision win in Cano’s hometown of Cancun, Mexico. Like Mundine, I personally think Mosley has some more good fights left in him. This fight will be huge in Australia if it gets made, facts are facts, Mundine puts bums on seats and you add Mosley to that equation, we could well see Mundine breaking his own PPV record here in Australia.
The lighter and more compassionate side of Mundine is never heard of, sadly. This is where you are supposed to say, “Anthony Mundine has a compassionate side?” YES, he absolutely has. Speaking to his business partner and good mate, Ben Thompson, Mundine spends most of his weekends helping out with various charities all around the country. Not only does he spend a lot of time working for the betterment of his people in Indigenous Australian communities, he spends time assisting the battlers of Australia, namely the homeless and the less fortunate. Mundine has also been known to donate big money to various organisations that cater for this demographic. He also works a lot with disengaged youth. Interesting to note is the fact that he himself, never talks of such personal generosity, and when he does he generally doesn’t go into detail about it. Those that know him, know he is very generous with his time and money.
“Basically it’s all about giving back to the community, I really enjoy doing that. If I can help inspire somebody or help someone make the right choices in life instead of the wrong, then basically I am doing my job. I will continue to do this work during my career and after my career, there is only one race, the human race”.