Well Anthony Mundine this last week again followed the unwritten textbook set out by his hero, Muhammad Ali, lippily causing scenes in the interests of generating excitement for the promotion of his fight with Jeff Horn.
The problem is that he took the following of the Ali model a couple of steps too far, in my opinion, the result being an ageing, sluggish Mundine being in a ring he had no place being in.
Fortunately Mundine’s notorious ‘glass jaw’ (actually more a ‘glass forehead’ in this case) kept him from sustaining the type of damage inflicted on the super-humanly resilient Ali. Or maybe it was just (fairly well hidden) good sense.
He certainly excelled himself in the lead-up ‘make-’em-hate-me’ publicity for the bout.
Estimates are that somewhere between 85 and 90 percent of the fight crowd were actively barracking for Mundine to lose.
Getting that many people off-side is a rare talent, and one that Mundine afterwards conceded was all part of the ‘show’.
The funny part though, is that all those people who so desperately wanted to see Mundine prone on the canvas were also the ones who were so vocally critical of him for getting himself there so quickly.
It was a good ‘earn’ for Mundine. Somewhere in the vicinity of two and a half million dollars, which, after the fight, calculates to a none-too-shabby $26,000 a second.
For that type of money I’d probably go in there myself, but it does reveal a dark side. As the fight showed, Mundine never stood a chance.
Here was a fighter well past his prime, but still with a flair for promotion, taking a large sum of money to get clobbered for our entertainment. Him going down after a minute and a half is probably what we deserved.
You could watch the fight for $59.95 on pay-per-view.
I suspect Mundine is much brighter than we tend to give him credit for, but, for an athlete of such multi-faceted abilities he could, I believe, have been smarter.
The round ball is where it’s at; I read this week that playing soccer for Barcelona will net you in excess of ten million pounds per year, and with that you can have a ‘little-lie-down’ on the park whenever you like and there’s nobody punching you in the head.
Speaking of mis-matches, Tiger Woods played Phil Mickelson last week in a made-for-TV contest in Las Vegas.
Woods holds the record (by miles) as to the number of weeks rated as the world’s number one golfer: Woods was number one for 683 weeks, 281 of these were consecutive.
Mickelson has never been the number one player, not even for a week.
The prize money was $12 million, and apparently the twosome had a side bet of $1 million between themselves.
Mickelson won the match. You could watch this golfing contest for $19.95 (US) on pay-per-view. I do wonder about this emphasis on television mega-bucks as the means of compensation for the participants in these sports.
Call me old fashioned but for my mind live television and pay-per-view should be a substitute for the people who, for whatever reason, can’t physically attend the actual event.
For me, the stadium should sell out and then the people who couldn’t get a ticket should be able to watch it on the box.
Where are we when people would rather watch sport from their lounge chairs rather than attend the thing, even if attending the thing is entirely possible?
We increasingly find ourselves watching sporting events on television with nobody in the grandstands. (I do note, thankfully, that Newcastle, with the Knights and the Jets would seem to be one of the rare exceptions)
Are we heading towards a situation where players play in front of cameras rather than people and we all watch from our living rooms?
Can live spectator-less sporting events generate the levels of excitement and atmosphere required to make for quality viewing?
And how does all this tally with the moves to build all these enormously expensive new stadiums?