Its been a while since Anthony Mundine has had some publicity.
The ex-St George five eighth has always had a reputation for not playing by the rules and his dramatic exit from Rugby League in mid-2000 was indicative of this. Without question, 'Choc' is a talented sportsman. But too often, he has gained publicity for what comes out of his mouth and for some, this has been the main contributor to his high profile.
Anthony's publicity bandwagon has been on the slide ever since he made some ill-timed comments regarding the attack on New York's World Trade Center last November. Mundine's profile took a further nose dive when Germany's Sven Ottke knocked him out on December 1st of last year in Dortmund. Ottke retained his world IBF super middle weight title while Anthony Mundine's immediate future became uncertain. Even back then rumours were circulating that he may make a return to Rugby League.
But earlier this week Anthony released a media statement via his website declaring that he was ready to make a return to Rugby League and in particular, the St George Illawarra Dragons. "I'll come back to Saints for free..." was the headline.
"I'm making the call out today to all my loyal St George fans... I'm letting you all know right now that if the call came out from the club then I would come back. Money isn't the motivating factor behind this... I would love the opportunity to lead these young guys... it wouldn't matter where I played. I would play anywhere in the backline 1 through 7."
"Right now we need some leadership and that is what I can bring."
"Dragons, you know where to find me!"
While being interviewed on Sydney radio, St George Illawarra coach, Andrew Farrar was almost dismissive of Anthony's statement. He stopped just short of putting it down to a publicity stunt.
But 24 hours later, the Mundine declaration was making the news with TV, Radio and press all giving it a run. Anthony Mundine once again became a hot topic on internet chat rooms and discussion forums.
St George Illawarra then released their own media statement. Although surprised by Anthony's comments, the club expressed appreciation that Mundine still supports the club.
"The Dragons have not had any official discussions with Anthony. Without pre-judging his intentions expressed doubt as to the feasibility of him playing Rugby League given his commitment to Boxing."
Basically, the club gave Mundine's media release the response it deserved.
The NRL website, in an attempt to capitalise on Mundine's appeal, published a follow-up which claimed that there was a 'lack of communication'.
"St George Illawarra officials yesterday said they had no intention of chasing their former star pupil, who left the club in April 2000 in pursuit of a world boxing title."
The article quoted Mundine as saying, "It won't be for the season. It will only be for a number of games. It might take one game, it might take three or four games." For some, this speaks volumes of Mundine's true commitment to his ex-club.
In the same article, Anthony's father and boxing legend Tony Mundine warned his son against attempting to compete in both sports. "I think he should stick to one sport," Tony Mundine said.
Mundine jr has a fight against Darren Obah scheduled for June 3 and is quoted as saying that he has no intention of turning his back on his quest to win a world title.
So as we reach the conclusion of the current Mundine saga, it appears that coach Andrew Farrar's initial interpretation was pretty much on the money.
Regardless of your opinion, it's apparent that observer's will remain amused and confused by Anthony Mundine. There is no doubt that once again, the media and Mundine are back on talking terms.
GO ST GEORGE! GO THE ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS!