Danny Green wasted no time in landing a smack between the eyes of an old foe yesterday following the collapse of Anthony Mundine’s bout with three-times world champion Shane Mosley.
Mosley flew back to America when it became evident the $700,000 he was still owed from his $1 million purse would not be forthcoming before tonight’s light-middleweight fight took place, as stipulated in his contract.
Only 1500 tickets had been sold for the 9000-capacity Sydney Entertainment Centre, while pay-per-view sales were said to be well short of the 80,000 budgeted for.
“I’m very disappointed with this turn of events because I was planning on making a big statement by beating Mundine, but I was left with no choice but to withdraw,” said 42-year-old Mosley, who reportedly gets to keep the $300,000 he has been paid.
A subdued Mundine, who labelled Mosley “a sooky American”, washed his hands of responsibility for the cancellation, saying Vlad Warton’s Las Vegas-based Millennium Events company was the promoter, not him.
But Green wasn’t letting his former conqueror off the ropes so easily, contrasting yesterday’s farce with the two occasions he brought American stars Down Under for big-money fights.“If Mundine had seriously wanted to fight Shane Mosley, he would have made it happen himself,” Green said.
“He’s just showing utter contempt for the sport of boxing.
“I paved the way for him to do it. I put my house on the line two times and put millions into bank accounts. We had to pay Roy Jones Jr $2 million US, and Antonio Tarver $1.25 million US, just for them to get on the plane.
“That’s how a fighter of substantial international clout operates.
“Now he goes and does this. He’s going to potentially ruin it for other fighters who may want to bring big names here down the track. They’ll all be sceptical now. And it just proves once again that Mundine is insignificant on a world scale.”
Mundine and manager Khoder Nasser said they were willing to fly to Los Angeles this week to talk to Mosley’s handlers Golden Boy Promotions about the possibility of rescheduling the fight under their own promotion.
“We will do all we can to try and bring this promotion back to life in our hands,” Nasser said.
“Anthony is devastated and has waited all his career to fight someone who is of this stature and someone who has been in the mix with the best fighters over the last five years.
“The fight came about because Vlad Warton was able to deliver Shane Mosley and that was too good an offer to ignore.”
The irony of Nasser coming to the fight’s rescue won’t be lost on fans who paid to watch the last show he promoted – the Sonny Bill Williams-Frans Botha fiasco which was advertised as a 12-rounder but only went 10 with Williams hanging on for dear life at the end.
Mundine said he was devastated after three months preparing for the Mosley fight.
“We’ve always run our promotions. I’ve had 45 fights and never had a problem. I just want to make it clear, it was nothing to do with us,” he said.
“I am just a fighter and I want to take it into my hands and make it happen.”
Warton, who promoted former light-welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu, wasn’t at yesterday’s media conference.
And proceedings took a further twist when Jeff Fenech, one of Australia’s greatest boxers, said he had taken a significant financial hit by advancing $460,000 to Warton to get Mosley to Sydney.
Fenech said he didn't know Mosley was due to be paid before the fight.
"If I'd have known that, I wouldn't have given him - I gave him $460,000," he said.
"I certainly wouldn't have done that if I thought the fight wasn't going to go ahead because my guarantee was that when the fight went ahead, (with) the pay-per-view money and the pub and club money that I'd be paid back, but now it doesn't look like it.
"It's going to be a little bit tough for a while."
Mundine had taken a different tack in the build-up to this fight. He was far more low key than usual, possibly because he wasn't the promoter, and seemed keen on the wider Australian public finally getting behind him.
Sceptics will ask whether the cancellation was a publicity stunt to generate interest in a bout further down the line, and even Green acknowledged the possibility.
“No ticket sales but there will be now,” Green said. “The machine is in motion.”
But it’s hard to imagine why enough fans not moved to invest in the original bout would now get on board.
And perhaps that’s the most damning aspect for Mundine. It’s not that Australian sports fans hate him, it just seems they no longer care.- with Australian Associated Press