Anthony Mundine is expected to call time on his boxing career after the last punch is thrown in his ‘River City Rumble’ with Jeff Horn on Friday.
When it’s all said and done, the 43-year-old should go down as one of Australia’s greatest boxers and dual-sport athletes.
But according to Aussie boxing legend, and former world champion, Jeff Fenech, Mundine could have been so much more.
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“He wants to put bums on seats – all for the wrong reason,” Fenech told Foxsports.com.au.
“When people watch a Jeff Fenech fight, they watch because they know they’re getting a good fight.
“They’re [fans] not worried with Anthony whether it’s a good fight or a bad fight, because the majority want him to get knocked out.”
And while Fenech’s words are undoubtedly harsh, they don’t seem to come from a place of animosity, rather a genuine feeling of ‘what could have been?’
It’s a question we’ll obviously never know the answer to.
Mundine made his fortune playing the bad guy role expertly – as seen in how well the Horn v Mundine PPV numbers are tracking – but obviously never reached his peak overseas.
“Look, I take my hat off to him. What an amazing athlete,” Fenech added.
“I honestly believe that he could have been twice as good as he is now under the right tutelage and if he’d done the right thing, and if he spoke more appropriately.
“This guy is so skilful. As much as he’s done, he’s a wasted talent, he’s an amazing athlete.”
Whether his attitude cost him more in the U.S. than it earned him Down Under is unclear.
Either way, it’s hard to imagine Mundine, at this age, could still have such a strong pull with the Australian public if he wasn’t a guy people loved to hate.
“85-90 per cent of the people watching the fight are watching to see Anthony Mundine get knocked out,” Fenech said.
“Is that good for boxing? Not really. But it’s good for his pocket, it’s great for both their pockets. That’s boxing today.”