A famous manager and personality in the ranks of professional wresting for many years was one Jimmy ‘The Mouth of the South’ Hart. This colourful character turned getting up people’s noises into almost an art form. But his carrying on was part of the colourful, scripted world of professional wrestling. Nobody, least of all himself, took his nonsense seriously. The title of Mouth of the South instead has a much more fitting aspirant – Anthony ‘The Man’ Mundine.
Normally I’m all for getting behind Aussie athletes on the world stage. Mundine is however a major exception. This clown’s behaviour has too often been ridiculous if not outright disgraceful.
After the destruction of the World Trade Centre, for some reason, probably because he is a Muslim, Mundine was asked for his opinion. He then gave a stumbling speech that the
Mundine’s opinion was also sought on the passing of Sir Donald Bradman. Did he take the opportunity to reflect on the passing of that giant of the sporting world? No. Instead this prince of arrogance took the opportunity to boast that his own sporting record will eventually eclipse Bradman’s. Give me a break!
After leaving the rugby league ranks and while first trying to make his name as boxer, Mundine made a big issue of taunting and challenging Lester Ellis, a former world titleholder. Ellis had in fact been fully retired from the ring for six years by that time, and won his world title way back in the mid-1980s. He also fought in a much lower weight class than Mundine to begin with. Ellis accepted the challenge and one look at him as he entered the ring, showed just how out of condition he was. The taller, fitter and much younger Mundine had the best of things from the start and Ellis’s trainer threw in the towel during the first round. Mundine then celebrated this nothing win with back flips and other carrying on as if he had just won a world title! Give me a break!
Mundine also tried hard to get former triple world titleholder, Jeff Fenech, to come out of retirement and face him in the ring. Fenech wisely refused. His rejoinder to Mundine’s attempted taunts was to suggest that instead of expecting Fenech to fight three classes above his own, that Mundine try going up in weight class and taking on someone else such as Fenech’s mate ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson. Mundine was pretty quiet about that suggestion.
What was going to be next? Challenge the aging, stroke-ridden Johnny Famechon? Dig up Les Darcy’s corpse? Scout the old folks homes for more names from the past to challenge? Fortunately he finally stopped trying to make his name at the expense of other great names from the past.
Mundine also joined the motley collection of people assembled for Australian Celebrity Big Brother. Now to be fair, I wouldn’t have minded changing places with him and being trapped in a house with the likes of the lovely Imogen Bailey!
A viewer favourite from the first Big Brother, Sarah-Marie, was also a member of the cast. On learning that Mundine was following in his father’s footsteps as a boxer, she innocently asked ‘your father was a boxer too?’ Mundine’s response – ‘Yes,
Huh? Mundine Snr was obviously a reasonable pugilist. You don’t get major title shots if you aren’t. Mundine Snr had a shot - and lost. That was it. Let me now run a few other names past you in no particular order: Lionel Rose, Johnny Famechon, Jeff Fenech, and Barry Michaels. Each one of these fighters achieved more than Mundine Snr. What about naturalised Australian fighter Costa Tszu? How many better-credentialed names would you like? And let me be fair – Mundine Jnr has held up a world title belt. Yes Mr Mundine Jnr – your dad could fight and probably still could give me a hiding, but
All of Mundine’s supposedly colourful carrying on presumably attempts to emulate the great Muhammad Ali’s behaviour. Ali’s calculated taunts etc did a lot to get inside the heads of truly fearsome opponents such as Sonny Liston and George Foreman, to Ali’s advantage. But as much as Ali got up people’s noses, I don’t recall him being quite as offensive as Mundine. He also was able to string a coherent sentence or five together. And had a helluva of lot of ring savvy and ability to back it all up with.
I have to say it. What’s with the wardrobe? Hats and suits like a pimp-gangsta-rapper-wannbe. Oh please!
OK – I have let rip against Mundine, yet to be fair I have to admit that once he started concentrating on doing some of his talking in the ring, he hasn’t done too badly. He goes down in history as a world titleholder – something that very few people ever get to do.But … please Anthony – stick to working the ring, and enough of the Mouth of the South.