Anthony Mundine's supposed last fight has been branded "disgusting", with calls growing for boxing authorities to keep him out of the ring.
Mundine announced his retirement after being brutally knocked out by Michael Zerafa in round one of their Bendigo fight on Saturday night. However, the 45-year-old former world champion (48-11) has said that before and the KO against Zerafa was his fifth such defeat.
Mundine was dropped with a flurry of heavy shots after just 70 seconds before Zerafa, 17 years younger at 28, sent him packing in little more than two minutes with a crushing right-left combination.
"This 'fight' should never have happened. DISGUSTING," leading boxing promoter Lou DiBella wrote on Twitter.
"Australian boxing owed a debt to Mundine to protect him from himself. The man is forty-five and had NO chance. This was wrong."
DiBella said of making calls on the eligibility of ageing fighters: "Not easy decisions, but you need to err on the side of safety."
Mundine is way past his best and the Zerafa fight was an obvious mismatch. 'The Man's' old manager, Khoder Nasser, urged Mundine to retire eight years ago after a loss to Daniel Geale. Main Event did not broadcast the Zerafa fight, which was instead streamed online as a cut-price pay-per-view.
Yet Victoria's Professional Boxing and Combat Sports Board allowed the fight to go ahead. Many felt that decision was a mistake, one which cannot be repeated.
Former world champion Lovemore Ndou urged Mundine to remain retired.
Main Event commentator Ben Damon paid tribute to Mundine's career but offered a simple "no" when asked on Twitter if he should have been allowed to fight Zerafa.
Boxing writer Dan Attias said that boxing authorities could not allow Mundine to fight again, whatever the financial incentive.
Iconic Boxing scribe Grantlee Kieza said that Mundine had suffered a "sad end".
Nine reporter Danny Weidler, close to Mundine throughout his career, said that he wished Mundine had "retired years ago".
Mundine claimed that he was fit to fight but also admitted that his will to box had faded.
"Definitely, that was it for me win, lose or draw," he said after the fight.
"Even if I won I still would have hung them up. I just haven't got the heart any more to do it.
"God has given me great talent both in rugby league and boxing. I'm not the fighter I was five years ago, a year ago or 10 years ago. But I've achieved a lot in my lifetime and hamdullah — it's all for the praise of God.
"I'm healthy but I got caught in the first round. It happens in boxing. Hopefully Michael can go on and be a success and reach all his dreams.
"But he wanted to fight me when he was 15. Lucky you got me when I was 45, not 35."
Zerafa joined Jeff Horn, Charles Hatley, Garth Wood and Sven Ottke by inflicting a KO loss upon Mundine. Now 28-4 (17 KOs), he called out Tim Tszyu for his next fight.
"This is a legacy fight for me. Fifteen years I've been waiting for this moment and I got it and delivered. I just want to give a huge thanks to the Mundine team for the opportunity," Zerafa said.
"Anthony, nothing but love and respect for you – you put this sport on the map, now it's my turn to carry the torch."
There will be doubts over Mundine's retirement announcement, given he gave an almost identical speech after losing to Horn; another awful first-round stoppage.
"No man, I'm done. Jeff proved tonight there is a new generation. Physically I felt fine, mentally I felt fine. But that's boxing," Mundine said, back in December 2018.
"It was God's will for me to be in this situation. The next chapter of my life I have to try to use my legacy and my story to uplift and empower. I know I can touch people and make a change for them. I have to move on now."
Mundine lost a split decision to kickboxing icon John Wayne Parr in November 2019, in between the Horn and Zerafa KOs.
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