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Mundine Defeats Taylor

Anthony MundineBy Nate Anderson: Former World Boxing Association super middleweight champion Anthony Mundine (35-3, 23 KOs) easily defeated Shannan Taylor (48-7-3, 34 KOs) earlier tonight to win the vacant WBA International middleweight title at the WIN Entertainment Centre, Wollongong, in New South Wales, Australia. The final judges’ scores were 120-107, 120-107 and 120-108.

The fight was mostly one-sided, with Mundine easily defeating the 36-year-old Taylor. Ranked number #10 in the WBA middleweight division, Taylor played it rough, fouling in a variety of ways, throwing rabbit punches, kneeing, head butting, using the shoulder and throwing an occasional low blow. Aside from that, he wasn’t able to let his hands go enough to keep the fight competitive and quickly fell behind.

By the 7th, Shannon was far behind in the fight having lost every round and already needing a knockout. However, he was only able to muster a small handful of punches per round in the 2nd half of the fight, and ended up getting a one-sided boxing lesson from Mundine.

The second half of the fight was mired by constant fouls by Taylor, who appeared to be trying to anger Mundine into losing control and turning the fight into a war. It didn’t work, though, as Mundine stayed cool and composed, jabbing from the outside and landing hooks and right hands. In the end, Taylor didn’t have the power or the work rate to compete with the stronger and busier Mundine.

In the 1st round, Mundine, 33, ranked #1 in the WBA, dominated the round using his jab and an occasional right hand. Taylor stayed patient, waiting Mundine and looking to land a big shot every so often. It was a bad strategy for Taylor, though, because by not letting his hands go, he was pretty much giving the fight away to Mundine and making it very easy for him.

Taylor only landed five punches during the entire round, which was about the average that he threw and landed in the remaining rounds of the fight. Mundine’s power seemed to be nonexistent, as his punches lacked any kind of snap or force to them.

This is nothing new for him, unfortunately, because his power has dropped off in recent years since 2006, and he’s been forced to win six out of his last seven fights by decision. In contrast, before that Mundine has knocked out 22 of 31 opponents.

In rounds two through six, Mundine continued controlling the fight with jab, left hooks and right hands to the head of Taylor. Shannon kept the pressure on Mundine, but seemed to be mostly following him around without throwing a lot of punches.

In the 2nd, Taylor was warned by the referee for throwing a right hand rabbit shot to the back of Mundine’s head. The crowd was clearly on Taylor’s side, cheering loudly each time he would land a shot. After doing next to nothing for the entire 2nd round, Taylor threw a nice flurry at the end of the round. Taylor would charge Mundine hard early in the 2nd round and land a handful of shots.

However, the remainder of the round belonged to Mundine who kept sticking a jab in the face of the plodding Taylor. Mundine kept his hands down in front of him much of the time, but Taylor didn’t have the offense or hand speed to take advantage of Mundine having his hands low. In the 6th, Taylor received a warning from the referee after clashing heads with Mundine, which looked intentional.

In rounds seven through twelve, the fight degraded into sloppy, foul plagued affair with Taylor trying to rough Mundine up and get an edge. Taylor looked fairly good in the 7th, however, as he landed some nice right hands and was more effective in his offensive attacks.

It wasn’t quite enough to win the round, but he kept Mundine fighting on his back foot. Taylor gave him a nice shoulder late in the round, but it wasn’t penalized by the referee. Mundine was cut under his left eye in the 8th, possibly from a head butt.

Taylor landed some good shots in the round, but Mundine came back each time to shut him down and pay him back. Late in the 9th, Taylor dropped Mundine with a low blow. Mundine got up, hurt and upset and was loudly booed by the pro-Taylor audience.

Like all the prior rounds, Mundine easily controlled the remainder of the round using his jab and hard hooks to the head. In the 10th, Mundine paid Taylor back for his low blow a round earlier by tagging him low. Taylor took the shot without complaint, fought hard and seconds later dropped Mundine again with a right hand low. Again, Taylor was warned by the referee but not penalized.

I can hardly blame the referee for not penalizing Taylor, because if he had the pro Taylor crowd would have been furious at him. The rough stuff continued in the 11th, with Taylor kneeing and shouldering Mundine at one point in the round when Taylor had him trapped up against the ropes. Mundine merely laughed hard, looking at Taylor and the referee as if he was having a good time with a friend.

In the 12th, Taylor once again landed a low blow, but somehow Mundine remained standing. The two fighters clashed heads later in the round but no cuts resulted. In the final seconds of the round, Taylor, now looking for a knockout, charged Mundine and attempted to land a left hand. Mundine ducked the shot and countered him with a hard combination, following the off balance Taylor across the ring and continuing to hit him with shots.

Taylor then reversed course and went after Mundine, who ducked over to dodge some shots from Taylor and was promptly bowled over by him onto the canvas. While Mundine was down, Taylor landed a nice left-right combination and then fell on top of him in a heap. As soon as the referee picked both fighters off the canvas, the round ended.

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