“Secondly, nobody thinks I can do it, not even my dad, but I will do it. Don’t worry about my health. He [Zerafa] should worry about his health.
“Look at me, how good do I look? And I’m not slurring my words, I’m still quick-witted. I’ve got nothing to worry about.
“He [dad] isn’t saying ‘don’t do it’, he’s saying ‘why do it?’. But he ain’t Anthony Mundine, he ain’t built like me. I’m a different beast and I want to prove it.”
Mundine is already planning for life away from the ring with MGM, a company he started with long-time friend Gosh Daher that constructs concrete roadside barriers with Indigenous prints. The pair hope MGM will one day employ up to 150 Indigenous youth.
Fenech criticised Mundine when his latest bout with Zerafa was announced before Christmas, and said on Friday it was in everyone’s interests he retire.
“What has happened in his last couple of fights isn’t good,” Fenech said.
“I’m doing stuff with The Brain Institute, I’ve donated my brain, and hopefully they find something. I know if ‘Choc’ has another few fights, they’ll find nothing (good) with his.
“I’m sure Choc thinks he’s fine, we all think we’re fine. He has children and a mum and dad who care about him. He has to think about other people and not be stubborn. I’ve been there and I’ve been stubborn.
“We all want to fight on, and we fight on too long. Just get out while you’re on top. He’s not behind, that’s for sure
“If he thinks or anyone thinks he can beat Michael Zerafa, then they’ve got something wrong with them. My biggest concern is Choc’s health and for the actual sport.”
Tony Mundine has regularly been in his son’s ear about pulling the plug, and knows if he loses to Zerafa it will definitely be his last hurrah. Even if Mundine somehow wanted to fight on, his dad said he would begrudgingly remain in his corner for fear of something happening.
“I said to him, ‘why are you doing this?’, and ‘you don’t need to do this’,” Mundine snr said.
“Then I thought about it and said to myself, ‘if he’s going to do it, do it now while he’s still a young man’. And he looks after himself – if you look after your machine, the machine will look after you.″
Mundine has had 58 professional bouts for 48 wins and 28 knockouts. His first loss against Sven Ottke in Germany was 20 years ago. His two bouts against Danny Green, the first in 2006 and the second in 2017, were two of the most-hyped bouts in Australian history.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.