REGARDLESS of age, weight-class and purpose, if the names are big enough, it will sell.
That’s the golden rule of boxing, it has been for years, and in the case of a potential November fight between Jeff Horn and Anthony Mundine, it would appear to ring true once again.
Horn, in fairness, was a WBO world welterweight champion only a few months ago, and last July he beat Manny Pacquiao in front of 50,000 of his countrymen in Brisbane. He’s 30 years of age, presumably still ambitious, and has lost only one of 20 pro fights (to the wonderful Terence Crawford, no less). That’s not the issue.
Mundine, however, is now 43 years of age and best remembered for losing to IBF super-middleweight champion Sven Ottke in 2001 and then winning the WBA’s 168-pound title in 2007. He has competed as a cruiserweight, light-heavyweight, middleweight and super-welterweight, and his last fight, a second-round stoppage of Tommy Browne at middleweight, was only his third in four years.
Then again, none of this really matters.
Horn, a former welterweight champion who once toppled the great Manny Pacquiao, will always carry name value, especially in Australia, and Mundine, also a former world champion, as well as a famous rugby league player, has an even greater profile on that side of the world.
It’s why they are being linked to a fight at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. It’s why, despite there being many reasons for it not to happen, it probably will.
“We have already conceded a lot to Anthony and his team,” Horn’s manager, Glenn Rushton, told the Courier Mail.
“We have agreed to a 50/50 split and to the fight being a co-promotion rather than our promoter Dean Lonergan staging the event alone. But we are not budging on the 70kg (154 pounds). Anthony agreed to that at the start of negotiations before changing his mind, but we are staying firm.
“Jeff is already coming up from 66kg, so he is giving away a lot of size to start with. We cannot afford to make a mistake with this fight. We are rebuilding Jeff towards becoming world champion again and we are not going to give Anthony the head start he wants.”
There’s always one major stumbling block that must be overcome when dealing with big names trying to get together for a big fight: big egos. For better or worse, it comes with the territory.
My earliest memory of Tomasz Adamek places him in a ring in Chicago with Paul Briggs, a bulky, stiff-armed puncher, and essentially outworking the Aussie-New Zealander for 12 rounds to lift a WBC world title. A breakout moment for the Pole, it put him on the map, delivered the first of his two world titles, and delighted a Chicago crowd chock-full of his countrymen.
But that’s only the half of it.
More important, given what happens next, are the following details: Adamek vs. Briggs was a light-heavyweight fight; it was contested at a weight of 175 pounds; it took place in May 2005.
Now, some 13 years later, Adamek is set to fight American Jarrell Miller back in Chicago, live on DAZN. It’s at heavyweight. Miller, known as ‘Big Baby’, will weigh over 300 pounds. Adamek is 41 years of age; Miller is 30. It is, for all these reasons, a poor fight; one you hope only ends up being poor and stops short of being dangerous.
— przemek garczarczyk (@garnekmedia) August 8, 2018
Frankly, Brooklyn’s Miller needs better. He needs better to aid his own development and he needs better for any of this – this route to Anthony Joshua – to mean anything. Because, let’s face it, beating Tomasz Adamek on October 6 means no more than beating Johann Duhaupas in April or beating Mariusz Wach or Gerald Washington in 2017. In fact, it could be argued it means less.
Adamek, after all, once an exciting, world-class light-heavyweight and cruiserweight, has never really flourished up at heavyweight. He has campaigned there for the best part of a decade (ever since beating Andrew Golota in an all-Polish showdown in 2009) and defeated some solid fringe contenders along the way – Chris Arreola, Eddie Chambers, Steve Cunningham, to name a few – but the move always seemed less of a natural progression and more a move motivated by a desire to earn heavyweight cash.
What’s more concerning than the fact his best wins came against heavyweights of similar size is that Adamek, 53-5 (31), has lost three of his last seven fights, all the while campaigning in and around the C-level of the heavyweight division. That doesn’t bode well ahead of a fight with Miller in October. Nor does the fact he’s 41. Nor does the fact his fighting weight is 220 pounds, approximately 80 pounds lighter than Miller.
Still, these details pale into insignificance and become largely irrelevant when you remember 1) Tomasz Adamek is Polish and 2) there’s a big Polish community in Chicago and 3) that Jarrell Miller’s next fight is in Chicago and needs to be relatively straightforward.
It’s then it all makes sense.