The Mundine bout made me feel Green

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I fear I have very little in common with the Bandidos motorcycle club. I can’t ride, I don’t live a life dedicated to the principles of honour and bravery, and while I do like having coffee on Stanley St, East Sydney, none of my friends have ever been gunned down there. Plus, I’m not into boxing.

The Bandidos were out in full force last night, booking a table at the Mundine-Green bout, while I elected to go to sleep so I could get up at 4.45 to watch my pretentious Anglo-French football team lose the European Cup. Which hurt probably about as much as Danny Green’s pride does right now.

Well, of course I went to sleep. Foxtel were charging $49.95 to watch the match on pay-per-view. That’s right, $49.95. More than three movies. Which I thought would buy about 30 seconds of Mundine dancing around the ring before being flattened, like he was in the match against Sven Ottke.

And sure, I could have gone to the pub to watch it, but then I would have been surrounded by boxing fans. Not my idea of a good night out.

The bottom line is that I just don’t like boxing. Watching it makes me uncomfortable. I tend to think it’s a good thing that human society has slowly evolved over centuries to the point where most of us are able to manage our daily lives without feeling the need to punch others in the face. And I don’t much like watching two men hurt each other in a manner which, outside a ring, would see them facing a court – and which is so violent that we refuse to allow women to participate. Call me a wuss – and you’d be right – but watching a really good punch land makes me shudder, not feel exhilarated.

Then there’s the brain damage. It’d be extremely unsafe even if most boxers had more than two brain cells to rub together. Mundine in particular is in no position to be risking blows to the head.

So I, in the interfering manner of most namby-pamby pinkos, think boxing should be banned, just like cockfighting. In fact, perhaps it already is? The Man can be a bit of a cock.

Actually, now that I think about it – sure, I’d pay fifty bucks to watch The Man being knocked out. When’s his world title bout?

In truth, I do admire many things about him. He was a great league player, appearing in several grand finals during a relatively brief period as a player, and giving it away to pursue his dream is quite inspiring. Even though I don’t quite understand why anyone would rather punch people than play football brilliantly.

Plus he’s always entertaining. A controversial or amusing quote is guaranteed whenever he’s near a microphone, which is why he was the best thing about Celebrity Big Brother, apart from the fact it was never repeated. So I’m glad he won last night, because it guarantees more amusing press conferences.

But as a society, it troubles me that we’re still mad about boxing. And we are, literally – the fight sparked a series of brawls. There were 14 in Adelaide alone. (Although living in SA, let’s face it, you must be close to the edge the whole time.) It’s as close as we get to a modern version of the Coliseum. Most combat sports, like fencing and professional wrestling, have been sanitised to the point where no-one actually gets hurt.

So until boxing involves enough protective gear that it’s pretty much safe, I don’t tend to think we should allow it. I just hope no-one punches me for saying so.

Dominic Knight

Photo: Craig Golding

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