Green vs Mundine; what it really is all about!

13.09.05 - By Paul Cupitt: Itís the Ali-Frazier of Australian Boxing, a sporting rivalry that every Australian has their own opinion on boxing fan or not. On one hand you have the flashy skills of the self proclaimed ĎBlack Supermaní and former NRL star Anthony ĎThe Maní Mundine, who has made as many headlines with his calls and taunts outside of the ring as he has in, while on the other hand you have the devastating puncher from Western Australia, Danny ĎThe Green Machineí Green, who does most of his talking in the ring..

The outspoken NRL star Anthony Mundine made the shock announcement that he was leaving his $600,000 a year contract with rugby league club St George-Illawarra to become a professional boxer. From his first professional bout Mundine attracted large media attention, most of them wondering if he could produce his form on the rugby league field in the boxing ring and follow in his fathers footsteps to become one of Australiaís greatest ever boxers.

In just his 11th professional fight Mundine challenged long-time IBF super middleweight champion Sven Ottke from Germany, losing by knockout in round 10. However two years and eight wins later Mundine achieved his goal when he outpointed American Antwun Echols over 12 rounds in Sydney to win the vacant WBA super middleweight title. In just his 2nd title defence Mundine lost his title to Puerto Rican Manny Siaca via 12 round split decision.

Mundine came back with three straight stoppage victories before challenging again for the WBA title, this time losing by unanimous decision to the new champ Mikkel Kessler. In his most recent outing, Mundine stopped African Rashid Matumla in round 6 last Wednesday.

Sydney Olympian Danny Green turned professional in 2001 and built up an impressive 15-fight winning streak, all inside the distance. Following his 5th round knockout win over Jason Delisle, Green signed to fight WBC super middleweight champion Markus Beyer. Green had the German down in rounds 1 and 2, but was controversially disqualified in round 5 after a cut over Beyerís left eye was ruled to be caused by an intentional head butt.After failing to secure a rematch with the German, Green met former WBC champion Eric Lucas of Canada for the interim title. Lucas, who had dropped a controversial 12 round decision to Beyer earlier in the year, was stopped in 6 rounds. It took Green another 12 months to finally get the rematch with Beyer. In a disappointing and unusually tame performance by Greenís standards, he lost by majority points decision.

Green came back with a win over journeyman James Crawford, before signing to fight American Scott Pemberton in a WBC Eliminator. The Pemberton fight was cancelled two weeks ago after Green broke 2 bones in his back while sparring, and is expected to be out of training for at least a month.The fight itself has the makings of either a classic or a mismatch. Green has had trouble with boxers of a similar style to Mundine, where Mundine has had trouble with similar boxers to Green.

Green has shown problems against a quick, accurate jab like in the early rounds against Eric Lucas, as well as trouble against fast hands and a tight defence in his rematch loss to Markus Beyer. There is no super-middleweight with the hand speed of Mundine. ĎChocí also has a tight defence, so one could easily say Mundine will be too quick and crafty for Green and that if Beyer can outbox Green, then Mundine will take him to school.

On the other hand, Mundine has had trouble with tall, strong fighters who possess world-class power and a hard accurate jab, as shown in his losses to Manny Siaca and Mikkel Kessler. He has also shown a questionable chin particularly in his loss to Sven Ottke. Danny Green is a tall fighter with a hard accurate jab, as well as incredible physical strength and world-class power, so it is just as easy to say that Danny Green will prove too strong and powerful for Mundine and that if Ottke can knock Mundine out, then Green could definitely knock him out.

But really, what is this fight all about? Is it that Australia has two world ranked fighters in the same weight class and the public just wants to know who the best really is? Or is there more behind the Green-Mundine rivalry. An unbiased look at the two fighters and it seems right now that none of them are headed towards world-class greatness. Both fighters have shown inconsistent form against world-class opposition. Mundine looked like a man who had been boxing for 15 years instead of 5 when he put on a clinic against Antwun Echols, but he looked like a fighter with no game plan when Manny Siaca put him under pressure, while Danny Green appeared ready to beat any man in the world when he stopped Eric Lucas in 6, but gave the impression of being a one-dimensional fighter in his rematch with Markus Beyer.

So while itís not a foregone conclusion that none of these men will be remembered as all-time great world-class boxers, I think itís safe to say neither man is going to be mentioned alongside the names of Ray Robinson, Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali when talking about all-time greats.I think in order to be able to answer the question of what this fight is really all about; a closer look at who both of these fighters really are is needed. Most Australians know who Danny Green and Anthony Mundine are now, but if we go back to January 2002, when this rivalry starts, did regular Australians know who both Danny Green and Anthony Mundine were then? Ever since Mundine has turned pro, Australian boxing legend Jeff Fenech has voiced his disapproval at the huge media coverage of Mundine after only one professional fight, where other Australian boxers donít receive media coverage until they are fighting for a world title. Following Mundineís knockout loss to Sven Ottke, Fenech labelled Mundine Ďsleeping beautyí, which only added to the rivalry between the two men. Following Mundineís comeback points win over Brad Mayo, Mundine called out Jeff Fenech for a fight later that year, and also called a man named Danny Green a bum and claimed he would knock him out. Most of us (me included) thought, Ďwhoís Danny Green?

Danny Green was one of Jeff Fenechís latest signing, and was 7-0 with 7 knockouts at that stage. Most people, outside of hardcore Australian boxing fans, didnít know who Danny Green was. Now Iím not trying to discredit Green here with what I say, but why should they know who he was? Iím sure if I asked average Australians who Daniel Geale, Billy Dib and Jamie Pittman were, they would look at me like I had two heads.

Those three fighters at this point in their career have all achieved what Danny Green had at that stage of his career, and that is in no way knocking their current achievements, Iím just pointing out that boxing is no longer a mainstream sport in Australia and mainstream media coverage is normally reserved for the big names like Kostya Tszyu rather then prospects like Geale, Pittman and Dib or at this stage, a 7-0 Danny Green.

Now most of you will probably ask what Anthony Mundine had done at that stage of his career to deserve the media attention he received, and you have a good point. If Mundine wasn't the ex Rugby League star, with the Australian Boxing Legend father who isn't afraid to say what he believes, then Iím sure he wouldnít have received the mainstream media coverage he has as well. But Mundine at that stage was all of those things as well as Australiaís best self-promoter, so itís easy to see why he has received the media coverage he has.

So again, what is this rivalry really all about? Because it started when neither boxer was a major world-class contender, it canít be that Australians just want to see which of our world-class super middleweights is the best. What Danny Green vs Anthony Mundine is really all about, is Anthony Mundine!

We all know Mundine is a love him or hate him type guy, everyone knows that, itís a fact. So what did those people who donít love Anthony Mundine think when they heard there was an Australian (Australian being the key word) fighter in the same weight division as Mundine who might have the tools to beat him? They began to support that other Australian fighter. Again, I am not having a go at Danny Green here; if I am having a go at anyone itís the Australian public outside of hardcore boxing fans and the mainstream media, but these Australians who donít like Anthony Mundine needed someone positive to vent their dislike towards ĎThe Maní into, and that man was Danny Green.So what did the mainstream Australian media do when they figured this out? They started covering Danny Green and talking up the fight between the two of them, and can you blame them? The media has turned this into THE biggest rivalry in Australian boxing history, and one of, if not the biggest rivalry in Australian sporting history.

This whole rivalry is because sport in Australia is huge, and a lot of people donít like Anthony Mundine, who is and was even at that stage one of Australiaís biggest sporting stars, and thatís where Danny Green comes into it.

This rivalry is a product of media hype based around the fact that a lot of people want to see Anthony Mundine get knocked out because of his out of the ring actions, and those who are fans of Mundine want to see Mundine permanently silence the critics in a big way. The Mundine fans needed a villain and the Mundine haters needed a hero, and Danny Green fits the description for both parties perfectly. So what the Mundine-Green rivalry is really all about is Anthony Mundine.

We can argue over who is the better fighter and who is going to win their fight if and when it does happen, and youíll probably find that the majority of people interested in this fight have no room for middle ground, they are 100% behind Mundine and think he is that much better then Green, or 100% the other way. I think if anyone stops and takes a rational look at it, they will agree that these two fighters are a lot more even people think, if one is to completely outclass the other it is for the simple reason that in boxing matches styles make fights and one manís style suited the other. However the fact remains, this fight has been made because of Anthony Mundine, love him or hate him, heís the best self promoting sports star in the country.

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Article posted on 13.09.2005

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