Mundine conqueror set for hip replacement
After outmuscling Anthony Mundine in a brutal, pulsating fight for the ages, creaking veteran John Wayne Parr limped away from his 32 years in combat sports on Sunday and prepared for a much-needed hip replacement.
Despite excruciating pain, the Gold Coast martial arts great felt like he was floating on air after winning a 10-round boxing battle at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Saturday night.
Though Mundine looked dangerous in the second half of the showdown, Parr was not going to be denied in his last bout after almost 150 fights across boxing, kickboxing and Muay Thai.
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The 43-year-old won a split decision, bulldozing Mundine around the ring in the early rounds and surviving some cracking uppercuts and long range Mundine shots in the nailbiting closing stages.
Parr drove 44-year-old Mundine through the ropes in the fourth round and Mundine lost another point in the eighth for hitting to the back of the head. Those incidents were crucial.
Judges Phil Gregory (96-93) and Rodney Marsh (95-93) voted for Parr while Paul Williams had it 95-94 for Mundine.
Parr burst into tears after beating a man he described as "a true legend of Australian sport"; the pain of his hip contrasting with the ecstasy of victory.
"My left hip gives me agony," Parr said.
"It hurts to stand, it hurts to walk, it hurts to lie down and it hurts now.
"I've got a bone marrow oedema - my bone marrow is swelling and pushing against the bone. After every training session my hip aches for four or five hours.
"I've needed a hip replacement for three years but I've been putting it off because I didn't want to stop competing. Beating Mundine is the perfect goodbye for my career.
"The plan was to keep the pressure on him, wear Mundine down and not get greedy. Not to stand with him because he still has a lot of speed. The guy is a legend. A great rugby league player and a multiple world champion in boxing."
A vocal crowd of about 4000 turned out to see the two old battlers go to war one last time.
Mundine earned a six-figure payday for what he says was his last fight.
The payday was much less than the millions he made in stadium battles with Danny Green but the often controversial figure was happy that his wholehearted effort helped erase memories of his first-round KO against Jeff Horn at Suncorp Stadium exactly a year earlier.
He wanted one more chance to show some of the speed that carried him through more than 100 NRL games, three State of Origin appearances and 58 professional fights.
Standing with the arm of his father and mentor Tony Mundine around his shoulders, the former world super-middleweight champion said he felt he had done enough to win the decision but that Parr deserved "all the respect" as a "true warrior".
"I knew John Wayne was going to be a tough, hard competitor but I thought my skills would get me through," Mundine said. "The judges gave him the fight but that's just the way it goes. I've had a wonderful career. I want to thank all the Australian public, whether you're with me or against me, everyone's got an opinion and I just happen to say mine truthfully. I wish everybody nothing but the best.''