Well, it’s finally happening. After all of the trash talking, after all of the excuses and more than a decade after their controversial first meeting, Anthony Mundine and Danny Green will sort their differences out once and for all this Friday night at the Adelaide Oval. About bloody time!
They might both be over the hill now, but back in 2006 both men met at their prime. The fight was the biggest in Australian boxing history, with 40,000 turning out at the Sydney football stadium and a record -breaking pay-tv-audience tuning in on the box. Fans were treated to a great fight, with Mundine proving too slippery for Green to handle, winning by unanimous decision. Green was unable to land to land any of his power shots, with Mundine’s speed and footwork helping pick Green off on the counter.
On the night, Green congratulated Mundine in his post-match interview saying, ‘He just beat me fair and square. I have no excuses at all.’ This isn’t the narrative Green stuck with, however, and he has for many years made the excuse that he had to drop so much weight to make the fight (which was fought at super-middleweight) that his power game was taken away. This is a bit cheeky though, as it negates the fact that he didn’t land a power shot all night, and as Mundine pointed out in yesterday’s presser, Green had previously fought at that weight for years.
Since his loss to Garth Woods in 2010, Mundine’s form hasn’t been super impressive. Among a few lesser-lights, he managed to defeat an over-the-hill Shane Mosely, but lost to Daniel Geale in 2013 by unanimous decision and also lost to Joshua Clottey in the same way. His most recent effort was an 11th round TKO loss to American, Charles Hatley. If there’s anything that softens those losses a bit, it’s the serious hip injury that has plagued Mundine for the past five years. After surgery on the hip post-Hatley fight and a long rehab process, Mundine said at yesterday’s presser he feels like he’s 20 again. We’ll see how true that is on Friday, because he’ll need to be cherry ripe.
Danny Green’s recent form reads better, though in truth the calibre of opponents since his last defeats (back to back losses against Antonio Tarver and Krzysztof Włodarczyk in 2011) have been pretty average. Green does boast wins over Manny Siaca and the great Roy Jones Jnr, though that was back in 2009-10. A great deal has been made of Green’s punching power, especially given his natural weight advantage, though in truth he hasn’t knocked anyone out since Danny Santiago in 2012. Does he still have what it takes?
This one’s pretty straightforward. Mundine will look to do exactly what he did in their previous encounter with great success. His game is built on footwork and counter-punching. He’s incredibly hard to hit cleanly, and though he’s not the most powerful puncher himself, he’s accurate and has the ability to win rounds. He’ll clearly be looking to take this one the distance. He’s a superb athlete, has a couple of years on Green and was the one to finish the stronger last time they met.
Green will be looking for an early KO. No questions about it. He caught both Jones Jnr and Manny Siaca early and if he can knock them out, he’ll be sure he can do the same here. He’s won on points in his last three fights, and mentioned yesterday that he’s ready to do the distance if he can’t find the killer blow, but none of them were at Mundine’s level.
Whatever your thoughts are on Mundine you’ve got to give him credit, going up 13kgs is a massive amount of weight to give away. Rightly so, this could well be the sticking point. From a historical standpoint, heavy hitters match up well against lighter, smaller fighters in their own weight class, let alone giving weight away. Green will be able to fight dirtier here, using his size and strength advantage to force the fight. Mundine will have to be at his absolute slippery best to win, though he’s a wily, experienced campaigner. Despite this, he’s also not exactly known for having the best chin, having been knocked out three timese in his career. Given the power and weight advantage, you’d imagine Green will only need to get one through for things to get ugly.
Green win by KO/TKO ($2.20)