Kelly Slater phoned Anthony Mundine while he was retiring from boxing. At 45 years old, there have been calls for Mundine to retire after a 30-year career for a few years now, which is something that Slater is familiar with.
If you’re an Australian sports fan — or really, just a sports fan in general — you know who Anthony Mundine is. The Aussie great officially pulled the curtain on a career that includes three titles and 48 wins from 59 professional fights. He was one Australia’s most polarizing athletes. Age-wise, Mundine isn’t exactly a young fighter anymore.
For almost a decade now, the question of when Slater will retire has been a burning one. He was going to retire in 2019, I think, or maybe 2018, or maybe 2020, or maybe all three. It’s hard to keep track. Even Mick Fanning and Ross Williams wondered about his commitment recently. But that everlasting question might be part of the reason Slater called up Mundine while he was standing in front of the microphones telling the world that he was hanging up the gloves.
“It’s Kelly Slater, brah,” Mundine told reporters with a laugh before looking down at the phone. “Teach me how to surf. I might become a surfer.”
Mundine, who fought his last fight last month in Bendigo — he was knocked out by Michael Zerafa two minutes into their fight — has, like Slater, hinted at retirement before. According to reports, Mundine and Slater have been friends for nearly two decades. Slater made reference to the fact that Mundine also played 134 games in the NRL. “Well yeah, I think you need a third career,” Slater said. “You’ve been able to switch over pretty easily in the past… I just wanted to call and say congratulations and all the best for the next endeavor and all the happiness to you and your family. You’re a legend.”
Mundine also took the opportunity to apologize for his remarks about 9/11, something that has followed him since he said them. At the time, he said that America brought the terrorist attack on themselves.
“I want to put that on record; there was no way for the killings,” he said at the recent press conference. “Taking one human life is like taking the whole of humanity to me. And I feel like I was crucified for that, probably rightly so, and I said it raw and pretty dumb at the time.”