A FIGHT 11 years in the making took 30 minutes to settle on Friday night when Danny Green produced one of the gutsiest performances of his career to beat Anthony Mundine in front of 27,860 fans at Adelaide Oval.
It had everything Green has stood for in his career after the first round was surrounded by controversy when Mundine threw a cheap shot which connected with Green’s chin as he was looking the other way.
The punch sent a dazed Green sprawling into the ropes and the doctor almost stopped the fight but the pair boxed on for the full 10 rounds before Green won on a majority points decision.
In typical Green fashion he was all class after the fight, paying tribute to Mundine and declaring the fight had nothing to do with race.
“Hey it’s a fight, they’re all dirty, that’s the game,” Green said of the controversial first-round punch.
“I’m feeling 53, tomorrow morning I’m going to feel 63, but forever I’ll feel 23.
“It’s nothing to do with revenge, I want to say to Australia, this has nothing to say with black or white, it is a fight, it is sport. “It has nothing to do with colour, I won a fight against another man, that is it.
“I’m an old man but I gave it my best.”
The judges scored the fight 94-94; 96-94; 98-90 giving Green a majority points victory.
After the spiteful opening, the crowd started chanting ‘Danny’ as Mundine tried to land the big one to end the fight.
Green didn’t look right but still he stayed out there and with 15 seconds to go in the fourth round he fell.
Rounds five and six were largely uneventful, as Mundine continued to probe Green who went on the counter-attack with an uppercut.
There was more grappling in the seventh round as it became very clear Mundine was trying to end it before Green was docked a point for a wayward elbow.
Mundine landed three decent lefts in the eighth round and his confidence continued to grow but Green continued to chip away and it paid off.
Arguably the most anticipated fight in Australian boxing history based on unprecedented public interest and a decade-long wait, the pair drew a big crowd to Adelaide Oval and didn’t disappoint.
Before the fight, legendary ring announcer Michael Buffer confirmed the bout had broken the Australian pay-per-view record set by the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao.
Detractors of the fight argued the two fighters are past their best and this was one final money-grab before they disappear into retirement.
But it was hardly a mismatch. At 41 and 43 they are equally past their best and this was more than just another professional fight.
Yes, this was their superannuation fight but it was also their legacy and it was personal, based on a 10-year verbal feud that could only be settled in the ring.
Mundine and Green have won seven world titles between them but the enduring memory many will have of them was last night.
Eleven years after their first fight in Sydney when they met at super-middleweight (76kg) and Mundine was too fast and too good in a fight that went the journey, this time they got back in at 83kg for their rematch.
Green weighed in at 82kg which was his lightest since his famous first-round knockout of Roy Jones Jnr in 2009 while Mundine was lighter at 79kg but still had 10kg on his previous bouts.
Mundine had not fought since 2015 when he lost on TKO to Charles Hatley while Green fought as recently as last August and has won his last four bouts.
He has not lost his last five meaning Mundine is likely to march into retirement with a 47-8 record and Green 36-5 but history will have trouble splitting them as they’ll forever have a 1-1 head-to-head rivalry.
At the start of the last night’s main event brawls broke out in the crowd, which led to the arrests of six people.
Three outlaw motorcycle gang members were refused entry to Adelaide Oval earlier in the night after being identified by detectives.
Later on four more bikies were plucked from the crowd and removed from the venue. Two were from interstate.
A condition of Adelaide Oval’s liquor licence stated that gang members or associates would be refused entry.