Daniel Geale, the most exciting prospect in Australian boxing since Jeff Fenech, put an end to Anthony Mundine’s boxing career last Wednesday night in Sydney. Mundine will probably fight again but he won’t have any bearing on the world of professional boxing.
Sadly, the Mundine vs Geale fight will be remembered for what was said outside of the ring instead of what happened inside it. I understand promotion is important in boxing – boxers have to sell their fights – my problem is when the banter turns ugly. This can happen if showmanship is allowed to escalate to the point of doing damage to society. Most of the sporting world seems to be proactive in stamping out racism, but last week boxing unashamedly promoted it.
Anthony Mundine’s behavior has been appalling and if he was on the other side of the fence he would have been shunned the world over for fuelling racial division. Calling indigenous Australian sporting legends Uncle Toms and suggesting he was robbed of victory because of a racist conspiracy would be laughable if it wasn’t so divisive.
Mundine’s loss has opened the door for the biggest grudge match in the history of Australian sport. There is little doubt Mundine will step into the ring against Danny Green. This fight will be white vs black and it will be promoted as such. As a proud Australian, I am disappointed we have stooped to this new low.
In some ways I am as much to blame, as I would crawl over broken glass to watch this fight. I will be cheering on Green who is also far from blameless for his part in what will be a dark day in Australian race relations. The promoters and the fighters will enjoy a huge payday and the rest of the country will draw their own line in the sand and bay for blood. I am not a hypocrite – I want to see this fight as much as any boxing fan, but there is a part of me that is ashamed of supporting something which will do so much harm and precious little good.