Anthony Mundine proved he has at least something left in the tank in Melbourne tonight, much to the disappointment of many boxing fans. The junior middleweight fringe contender managed to steal enough rounds in an entertaining, see-saw fight with Belarus’s Sergey Rabchenko to earn a split decision victory. Mundine was hurt at various stages throughout the fight, but always managed to bounce back and let his hands go. The decision could easily have gone either way, but TQBR had it (grudgingly) for Mundine.
The Aussie took the early rounds hunting, pecking and putting Rabchenko off with his feints. Rabchenko seemed to take a while to warm up, but began to force the action as the middle rounds approached. Mundine surged forward at the end of round 4, catching his man with a slicing right and backing him into the corner.
The visitor continued to pick up steam through 5 and 6, before hurting Mundine with a thudding left rip in the 7th. Mundine looked truly ill, but covered up and managed to weather the storm before coming back hard, pinning Rabchenko against the ropes in the closing second. Both men returned to their corners with a fist aloft.
— Alex McClintock (@axmcc) November 12, 2014
Rabchenko found an overhand right in the 9th, but Mundine’s accuracy allowed him to put on the earmuffs while racking up points in spurts. That pattern was put to an end at the end of round 10 as Rabchenko buckled his legs with a long uppercut and followed up with another stunning body shot. Mundine could do little but hold and watch the clock, which he managed until the round’s end. Effectively slowing the pace in the 11th, the veteran survived, though Rabchenko shaded the round. “Knock him out, Sergey,” said Ricky Hatton in the corner before the final frame. He didn’t quite manage the definitive ending, though he poured it on and the pair traded punches to the final bell.
Mundine ended up taking the split decision by scores of 115-113 and 116-112, with one scorecard of 115-113 going to Rabchenko. Those weren’t crazy scores overall, but considering the scores announced in round 8 under the WBC’s open scoring system were 77-75 Rabchenko, 76-76 and 77-75, and Rabchenko undoubtedly did better in the championship rounds, they were a bit strange.
Mundine’s adviser, “colourful Melbourne identity” Mick Gatto, said after the fight that he’s going to bring Canelo Alvarez or Floyd Mayweather to Australia, a comment that was taken seriously be several major Australian news outlets. More realistic for Mundine would be some of the lesser lights of the junior middleweight division.
On the undercard, junior welterweight Lenny Zappavigna (33-2, 22 KO) surged out of the blocks, knocking down his Mexican opponent Misael Castillo (26-4, 24 KO) with a sharp combination in the 1st round. The only thing worse than Misael’s haircut (a Hare Krishna number) was his performance, as he marched toward Zappavigna and absorbed punches. Still, the Australian couldn’t get the determined Castillo out of there until the end 7th, when a series of left hands prompted the referee to step in and stop the fight.
Australian Heavyweight Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne (22-0, 19 KO) put in a solid performance against New Zealand-based American Chauncy Welliver (55-8-5, 22 KO). Welliver wasn’t in shape (he never is), but gave Browne some work before retiring on his stool after the 5th round. Which is exactly what he was paid to do.