Anthony “The Man” Mundine vs Bronco “Superman” McKart
By Sean Wippert ringside in Las Vegas: The main event of the evening at the Palms Hotel and Casino featured two of the sports better middleweights in their bid for the vacant WBF North American title. Hailing from Monroe Michigan and sporting an impressive record of 54-9-1 with 32 knockouts was none other the Bronco “Superman” McKart. The 41 year old had compiled a long list of victories dating back all the way to 1992. In that twenty year span he has taken on numerous fighters including Winky Wright, Raul Marquez and even Kelly Pavlik. While his last several fights had illicited mixed results, he was considered by many to be an upper tier fighter. Standing across from him was a man who was quite possibly McKart’s toughest challenge to date.
Australia native and former Rugby star Anthony “The Man” Mundine has made a name for himself by taking on any and all comers, and dispatching them in painful fashion. The 2 time WBO and one time IBO middleweight champion brought with him a record of 43-4 with 25 knockouts. This was an exceptional feat, especially when you take into consideration it has taken him just over a decade to do so. The only hitch in this story is that this fight, was his first outside of his home country of Australia. Those that were quick to point that fact out before the fight however were silenced within the opening minutes of the first round.
From the opening bell, Mundine went on the offensive, firing several quick shots. The men then settled into a tentative pace, as though neither was entirely ready to pull the trigger. The men kept this up until through the 3rd, when they finally opened up and began firing intermittent shots tempered with light jabs in between.
The fourth round finally saw a glimpse at the offense many in attendance had been waiting for. McKart opened the round with a series of good body shots. The momentum from this was short lived however as Mundine began countering. The Australians offense was enough to turn McKart onto the ropes, where the Michigan native found himself on the receiving end of a lethally fast head and body attack. Mundine began driving his opponents into the corners, baiting him with feigned weakness before turning him against the ropes or into a corner and unloading.
After a few rounds of this, McKart seemed unable to find any answer. This became badly apparent after a questionable pair of shots in the 7th that lead to McKart going to the canvas for the first time of the night. It would unfortunately not be his last. The 41 year old returned to his feet and too his credit did not evade and try to survive the round. Instead McKart came after Mundine with a vengeance, as though realizing the perilousness of his situation.
While brave, and not a bad move on McKart’s part, it only postponed the inevitable a few minutes later. McKart fell twice more before the round was over. The damage was enough for his corner to request referee Robert Byrd to stop the fight. The bout was officially halted at the 2:04 mark of the 7th round.
With the win Mundine takes home the WBF North American middleweight title and improves to 44-4 with now 25 knockouts. The victory by the Australian puts himself in fairly elite company, and he had no problem telling the world that fact after the fight. He stated that it was a great feeling to be a 3 time world champion, and that he looked forward to grabbing a fourth possibly soon.
Mundine also talked about taking on top contenders like Pavlik, Cotto, Alvarez and even eventually Floyd Mayweather Jr. himself. Floyd Maywether Sr. who was in the ring at the time responded by saying he go ahead and go against him … if you wants to lose to Floyd. It was a moment many in attendance, including humor and levity in.
The tough loss by McKart is one that is not only painful to swallow, but challenging to completely understand. While he falls to 54-10-1 with 32 knockouts, he does so not necessarily because he did anything wrong. This loss was more about his opponent doing everything right and doing it before McKart could find an answer.
The reality is not just that McKart may be getting a bit older than those in his division. That said, a good counterpuncher in any weight class is always a tough thing to deal with. They become dangerous if they have descent punching power. They become lethal when they have this and know how to bait their opponent to get them where they want them. Unfortunately for McKart, Mundine was all of this and more and proved it round after round.
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