|Fight not to go the distance||8/11||Bet365|
|Horn to win in rounds 7-9||11/2||Coral|
In a week when boxing’s most unconventional of prodigal sons, Tyson Fury, returns to the pinnacle of the sport, Anthony Mundine – a man with a meandering story of his own – is in pursuit of his own improbable dream, aged 43.
Mundine’s middleweight clash with fellow Australian Jeff Horn will, naturally, not draw the attention of the potentially seminal clash in Los Angeles later the same weekend.
However, the bout offers a singular curiosity and bookmakers are offering markets for those inclined to see opportunity where others scream ‘farce’.
Jeff Horn has the currency in the fight, and in fighting Mundine he is deviating from a positive sequence of performances at the glittering end of the Welterweight division presumably tempted by easy money with minimal risk attached.
After all, in the period since Mundine returned from retirement, for the curio of fighting a fossilised version of Danny Green in February 2017 at Light Heavyweight, Horn has boxed 32 rounds with Manny Pacquiao (W12), Terence Crawford (LTKO9) and Gary Corcoran (WTKO11).
The former Rugby League player – a 4/1 underdog with Paddy Power – has managed just two. Both in his low-key stoppage win over Tommy Browne at Super-Welterweight back in February.
This disparity of activity should be a key factor, added to the relative youth of the 30-year-old Horn and the veteran status of Mundine, who debuted in 2000.
In truth, the ‘veteran’ prefix cannot summarise any fighter of 43 and particularly one with large swathes of inactivity in his latter career. For context, Ricky Hatton is three years his junior and retired in 2012.
Mundine is old. By any measure and regardless of how fit he appears on the scales. He is far removed from a prime in which he was an inflammatory character, if better than often his critics would concede.
True, some of his best victories were against peripheral figures or ageing names but there remained merit in his triumphs against Shane Mosley, Danny Green, Sam Soliman, Bronco McKart, Daniel Geale and in out boxing notorious slugger Antwun Echols too.
But, the last of those names is from 2003, the Mosley win 2013, at a point where Sugar Shane was a lot less ‘sweet’, himself aged 42 and chasing the boundless brilliance of his own youth.
Dissenters may point to the recent ‘form’ of Horn and unpick just how informative it is; the victory over an ageing and distracted Manny Pacquiao was contentious and the loss to Crawford unequivocal.
Note too, that the fight takes place at the middleweight limit. Mundine has fought and succeeded at the weight, he began as a Super-Middleweight in the Joe Calzaghe era, and has fought as high as 175lbs and been nomadic in his weight to suit the opportunities available.
But did I mention that he is 43?
If the age and inactivity is dismissed momentarily, stylistically, there is much to suggest a decent scrap is in prospect.
Horn is aggressive, comes forward and commits to attack with both hands. Mundine meanwhile tends to counter punch and tries to adopt elusive tactics, so the two should gel well for the viewer.
Horn will offer opportunities for counters as he carries his head high, and often finds his feet squared up in front of the opponent in the eagerness to throw hooks. It is an amateurish flaw.
Mundine, if he has found a way to preserve his reflex and timing sufficiently, will enjoy punishing those technical deficiencies in a fighter who has fought predominately at 147 pounds. So there is hope.
To conclude and advise, an outright winner bet on Horn is prohibitively narrow, most bookmakers offer a miserly 1/6 on the younger man. Improve the return by investing in a stoppage for either man; Bet365’s 8/11 on the fight not going the distance one such avenue.
The small possibility of a Mundine victory inside the distance; as the man who has fought at the high poundage and with the greater technical ability, and the more likely theory that Horn’s work rate and youth overwhelming the ageing veteran are then both covered.
Invest lightly. It is a fight, like the heavyweight attraction in Los Angeles, with a host of intangibles that make the outcome ever harder to predict.
It will be an interesting contest nevertheless.