An obligatory note on Mundine vs Geale

While I am admittedly not a fan of “The Sweet Science,” one can barely think without being interrupted by Anthony Mundine giving his two cents on what’s making your synapses fire at that specific second.

He is to everyone’s intelligence what Kanye West was to Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech at the MTV Video Music Awards: an annoying intrusion that gets a whole lot of media attention.

Which, for “The Sugary Inquiry,” is a real blessing. Especially considering the state of the Australian incarnation of “The Nectarous Body of Empirical Knowledge,” Mundine could well be considered the best thing to ever happen to Boxing in this country.

Which is unfortunate in a way, because listening to Daniel Geale talking to ABC 702 about three or so years ago (coincidentally not to long after he ‘lost’ to Mundine) I thought that if I was ever going to think of a boxer positively ever again, it might be the Tasmanian who would convince me.

Mundine does have a certain propensity for alienating large parts (LARGE parts) of the population who don’t share every single one the things he purports to believe in. In fact, this list of Mundine-beliefs has continued to be more and more outrageous as Time passes and Mundine feels its cold grip on his arms and legs. The only thing that seems not to have slowed down is his mouth.

If anything’s clear, it’s that his brain has certainly begun feeling the effects of all that fist headbutting he’s been putting it through for ten years, evidenced by his tirade to the media post-fight and his refusal to acknowledge himself as a loser. It was his chance to go out graciously, but instead he decided to sell everyone the same old FIG JAM. Jam sales have gone down since Mundine last fought Geale.

But while I don’t agree with many of the things that he says (which may make me an uncle Tom) I can certainly give him kudos for his salesmanship. For without Mundine none of the uninterested public would have no idea who Daniel Geale was, nor would we be able to appreciate him for his many positive attributes (namely punching Mundine in the head repeatedly).

Love him or hate him, Mundine gets your attention. He certainly got the attention of Geale, who seems to be as level headed as boxers get.

In an industry where Floyd Mayweather’s the biggest name in his country and Mundine in ours, Geale needed someone with a big mouth to sell himself. He wasn’t going to do it himself. He wasn’t going to racially slur his opponents, convert his religion, tell everyone he is the best athlete in the world, tell everyone he was robbed (we was robbed!).

Geale needed The Man to do that for him. And boy oh boy did he do an admirable job.

How big this fight really was for boxing I’m not really sure; but the fact that Mundine was fighting a guy many believed to have been his conqueror years ago but for a dodgy trio of judges (he was robbed!), and managed to create an atmosphere, a buzz, an anticipation that almost rivalled that of an origin match is a triumph.

The best thing that could have happened is that Geale could have won, and in good style, so he can move on to bigger and much better things. Importantly we will now start to follow and pay attention to the man who is actually the best boxer in Australia, not just The Man who says he is.

I’m still not sold on boxing, not even close. As Simon Barnes said in his book The Meaning of Sport, Boxing cuts the line of make-believe too close for it to be a ‘Sport.’ Instead of replicating a duel, boxing actually is a duel; it is designed for people to get hurt, the rules allow for it and reward it. “The Sugary Quest for Learning About Our Material world” is just as potentially harmful as a fistfight on the street, except that your knuckles don’t get hurt, allowing you to dish out more damage to your opponents’ head. 

But I do think Geale is a pretty good proponent of what is not my favourite sport, and a pretty good bloke to boot.

For this I can thank Mundine, for without him I wouldn’t have had a clue.

But there’s more to thank Mundine for, as his career begins to wind down, as the money dries up, all due to the increasing number of wrinkles on his face.

He was pretty good too. 44-5 is a damn good record, and against some good opponents too. They weren’t all good, by any means. But we really can’t discount him as an athlete because he took some weak fights.

So to Mundine, too, this sportsfan offers a meaningless bouquet of what he calls “respect” and I call appreciation for his work over the years.

Well played sir, you done good. But that’ll do.

As for Geale, there is only one other guy I know in the Middleweight division who is as loathsome as Mundine, and that’s Floyd Mayweather.

Wouldn’t it be great if that humble Aussie could ram a big ol’ freshly baked humble pie down his throat as well?


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Critiques from the arm chair

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