Today in Bendigo, Australia, middleweight contender Michael Zerafa almost certainly ended the career of former WBA super-middleweight champion Anthony Mundine courtesy of a quick and comprehensive first-round stoppage win.
Zerafa, much the younger man at age 28 to Mundine’s 45, dropped the former champ twice, the first time with a combination that followed a left hook. Mundine beat the count but was soon sent south again, this time by a right to the temple.
This time the referee decided to end matters without the need for a count. Time was 2:09 of the opening session and Zerafa is now 28-4(17). Mundine falls to, and almost certainly exits the sport with a record of, 48-11(28). Zerafa picked up the vacant WBA Oceania middleweight belt with his quick night’s work.
Mundine, a pro since way back in 2000, has enjoyed a good career, with Mundine achieving wins over the likes of Antwun Echols, Danny Green, Sam Soliman, Daniel Geale, and, towards the end of his Hall of Fame career, Sugar Shane Mosley.
Mundine also fought big fights with Mikkel Kessler and Sven Ottke. Mundine has now lost his last three and six of his last eight. It will be a shock if Mundine decides to do anything else other than call it a career.
Mundine put his mark on the sport but his best years were some time ago. Having now been stopped some five times, Mundine’s punch resistance looks to be almost completely gone.
“Hopefully Michael will go on and become a bigger success. He’s wanted to fight me since he was 14. Lucky you got me at 45 and not 35,” Mundine said in defeat. “It definitely will be my last fight. That’s it for me. Even if I won I would have still hung them up. I haven’t got the heart anymore to do it.”
As for Zerafa, he today came back from a tough and close decision loss to former WBO welterweight champ Jeff Horn in their thrilling rematch; Zerafa having shocked Horn for a TKO win in their first action-packed fight.
Zerafa has also been in with former IBF welterweight champ Kell Brook, dropping a decision, but he looks to be a fully-fledged middleweight and he could go on to feature in some pretty big and interesting 160 pounds match-ups.
Zerafa has been stopped just once, this by Peter Quillin back in 2015. However, next up, Zerafa hopes will be a fight against unbeaten 154-pound star Tim Tszyu. After disposing of Mundine, in what Zerafa called a “legacy fight for me,” he called out Tszyu.
“Excuse my French – but stop f*****g running. It’s time to fight,” Zerafa said in calling out Tszyu. “it’s the best match-up. We’re both number one in our division. He had a four-fight plan that I was in. He’s fought three out of the four and he’s running scared. I’m here, I’ve always been here. Stop running. I’ve called him out. I’ve crashed his fight. Let’s give back to Australian boxing. Let’s put boxing back on the map. It’s my time.”
A fight between Tszyu (son of course of the great Kostya Tszyu) and Zerafa could be a huge fight for Australian boxing. Who wins? Tszyu would likely be the pick in the opinion of most, but Zerafa has shown he is both tough and can pack a punch.