Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Mundine-Parr: Combat Sports Next Curiosity

One of the biggest events in Combat Sports history was when two-division MMA world champion Connor McGregor, one of the biggest stars in not just the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), but in the entire sport of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) stepped out of his comfort zone to challenge future Hall of Famer Floyd Mayweather in the Boxing ring in August 2017. Although the fight was “A Curiosity” as this observer said prior to it and one that was heavily criticized by some fans and those inside Boxing, it did succeed as a Pay-Per-View attraction in generating 4.3 million buys at a near $100 price tag.

While the actual fight did surprise many including yours truly in being more than an event, the outcome was what many expected. Floyd Mayweather stopped Connor McGregor in the tenth round of a fight that did have periods where it was competitive. The fight may not have surprised many in terms of the outcome, but it did show that there is interest in seeing fighters from different primary combat sports disciplines squaring off against each other that in some ways conjures up memories of the original tournament format the sport of MMA was based on many years ago. Even though the sport of MMA has moved far beyond the days of one night tournament style competition, there remains the same “Curiosity “ of what would happen if two fighters from different primary disciplines squared off against each other.

Such an occasion will take place on November 30th at  CBUS Stadium in Queensland, Australia as former IBO Middleweight world Boxing champion Anthony Mundine will face former multi-time world Kickboxing champion John Wayne Parr in a fight fought under traditional Boxing rules scheduled for ten rounds. This fight pits two of the top stars of Australian combat sports against each other under circumstances where much like Mayweather-McGregor the interest may be as much about the event as what will take place inside the ring.

For Anthony Mundine, this will be his first fight in exactly one year since being knocked out in the first round at the hands of former WBO Welterweight world champion Jeff Horn in November of last year. As some might recall in this observer’s coverage of that fight, Mundine was not able to offer much resistance as the former Middleweight world champion was knocked out in 1:36. At forty-three years old at the time of that loss, I frankly did not think Mundine, who has a record of 48-9, with 28 Knockouts, would be back in the ring as coincidentally his fight against Parr will come exactly one year later.

As for John Wayne Parr he has one advantage that Connor McGregor did not have prior to facing Floyd Mayweather. Parr does have Professional Boxing experience and will enter this fight with a record of 10-3, with all ten of those victories coming by knockout. Although Parr has never been stopped in his thirteen previous bouts as s pro boxer, his last bout in a professional Boxing fight was over sixteen years ago when he lost a twelve round unanimous decision to Sakio Bika, who would eventually go on to win a world championship.

Parr is more known for his success as a kickboxer under both traditional and Muay Thai formats where he has won world championships in multiple weight classes and various Kickboxing promotions including the ISKA and K-1 where he amassed a combined record of 99-33, with 46 Knockouts. When you factor in his thirteen bouts as a pro boxer, Parr has competed in one hundred-forty-five professional fights in his combat sports career. Although Parr has not competed professionally in Boxing in many years, he does know how to get an opponent out of there should the opportunity arise. Much like Mundine however, it is logical to ask at forty-three years old and after so many fights across two combat sports and three disciplines how much John Wayne Parr could have left to give as a fighter.

When yours truly was informed about this fight, several thoughts did come to mind. Obviously, I asked myself the same question in regard to both fighters, what do they have left to give? I also found myself as someone who spent several years of his career covering Boxing as an overseas correspondent for The Fist in Australia, and as someone who to this day tries to cover as much of the Australian Boxing scene as I can, legitimately wondering what may or may not happen when the two fighters square off, knowing what both are capable of in their respective primary disciplines, and having seen what both can do at their respective best.

The same “Curiosity” that tends to reel in fans ranging from the casual to the aficionado can indeed even intrigue those of us who cover combat sports full time. Speaking only for myself, even with all the negative things that can be associated with Boxing and by extension all combat sports, which unfortunately tends to get more attention than the good combat sports have to offer, this is one of the rare times in over two decades that there is no real analysis that this observer can offer because quite frankly, the reader’s guess is as good as mine as to what may or may not happen.  Although we obviously won’t know the answer until after Mundine and Parr meet, it definitely has me “Curious.” We will simply have to see what Anthony Mundine and John Wayne Parr have to offer on November 30th.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

Mundine vs. Parr takes place on Saturday, November 30th at CBUS Stadium in Queensland, Australia. The fight as well as a five fight undercard can been seen globally on FITE.TV for $24.99. FITE TV is available on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices/platforms/Smart TVs such as Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. For more information about FITE TV including schedules, where to download the FITE app and how to install the app on your preferred streaming device please visit: www.FITE.TV

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