Never before, never again: The Anthony Mundine era is over

And so ends the Anthony Mundine era.

Twenty-five years ended in a flash – 96 seconds to be exact. Detractors are relishing the chance to throw jabs from afar, but Mundine (48-9) was as humble as they come in defeat.

The 43-year-old's short-lived knockout loss to Jeff Horn (19-1-1) at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night proved Mundine was never going to pose a genuine threat. While Father Time has whittled down his in-ring ability, even Dean Lonergan admitted 'The Man' is still a "promotional genius".

We first met Mundine as an 18-year-old footballer blessed with raw talent and athleticism, coming off the bench for St George at Penrith Park in 1993.


He soon developed into arguably the most flamboyant athlete Australia has ever seen, winning a Super League premiership with the Brisbane Broncos before leaving for the squared circle.

It was a move that in time proved a masterstroke, not just for Mundine, but for domestic boxing. He was its face for the best part of two decades, but his last dance showed the sun has set. Knocked down by Horn's left, Mundine showed little will or ability to rise back to his feet.

"Im done. It proved there is a new generation now. I knocked on father [times] door for a long time," Mundine said.

"Ive had a great career, 25 years, I just want to give back and empower people now. All the hype and all the bullshit I talk… Im really a cool cat. Im down to earth and humble. Im portrayed in a different light. I stand up against injustice, and I will continue to do that.

"A lot of people want to talk trash now, bag me out, make fun. Nothing will get me down, Im a real positive thinker and a really positive person. It couldnt have happened to a better guy than Jeffery.

"I just want to say, all the trash I talk, in the end were in an entertainment business and Im just trying to get bums on seats. Obviously a lot of people dont like it, so youre going to get detractors.

Next generation: Jeff Horn stands over Anthony Mundine as he hits the canvas.

Next generation: Jeff Horn stands over Anthony Mundine as he hits the canvas.Credit:Darren England

"Now its onto the next generation, and Jeff is leading the charge."

Its in boxing that Mundines brash mentality was allowed to flourish. His outspoken nature put him offside with the majority of punters in Australia, but it wasnt necessarily always fair.

People tuned in to watch Mundine get beaten. Only nine times did he stand in the ring after the final bell and not have his hand raised.

He won three world championships, pocketed a few handy pay-days along the way, and ultimately kept boxing in the public eye in Australia. His job is done – no amount of money could tempt Mundine out of retirement, nor should it.

Thats not to say he went without controversy.

Rants about religion, homosexuality and oppression have perhaps fairly turned him into Australian sports most polarising figure.

Now the end of his sporting career marks the start of a new chapter for Mundine, who wants to use his profile not to divide Australia, but to unite it.

"I always respect people, it doesnt matter to me whether they are black, white, brown or brindle. I just try to keep shit real," Mundine said.

Humble in defeat.

Humble in defeat.Credit:AAP

"Sometimes the media, the mainstream public and the masses get sidetracked. I just want to help people, I just want to bring people together, I just want to unite people.

"I just think since colonialism, the indigenous race has had a rough trot and it is still happening today.

"If you want to make real change you need to implement it and work hard towards it, like any dream. Im fighting for equality."

And so it ends for The Man, a rugby league premiership winner and a three-time boxing world champion.

Never before, perhaps never again.

Caden Helmers is a sports reporter for The Canberra Times

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