Australian boxing great Anthony Mundine has used his retirement press conference to finally apologise for his comments about the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
Mundine infamously said “America’s brought it upon themselves” after the attacks in what marked his most inflammatory comments in a sporting career riddled with controversy.
“A lot of the media portrayed me to be for the killings. I want to put that on record, that I was in no way for the killings,” Mundine said on Wednesday.
“Taking one human life is like taking the whole of humanity to me. I feel like I was crucified for that – probably rightly so. I said it raw and pretty dumb at the time.”
Mundine only fought in America once, with many believing his 9-11 comments were behind his US snubs, beating Bronco McKart in Las Vegas in 2012.
Mundine, 45, is arguably the most polarising figure in Australian sports history and has made countless headlines for controversial comments.
“If I offended anybody in my career, honestly, I’m sincerely sorry,” he said.
“Please find it in your heart to forgive me. I’m a changed man, I’m a different type of cat.
“As you get older, you get more mellow. God bless everybody. Thank you.”
Mundine played 134 NRL games for St George and Brisbane and represented New South Wales in the 1999 State of Origin series, but controversially never played for Australia.
After making a dramatic switch to boxing to follow in his father’s footsteps, Mundine won three world titles and finished with an impressive 48-11 record.
At his retirement press conference on Wednesday, Mundine received a surprise phone call from 11-time surfing world champion Kelly Slater.
“Hey bra,” Mundine said, after being handed a mobile phone. “
It’s Kelly Slater, bra.”
Mundine, the two-sport sensation who sparkled in a short-lived rugby league career before winning world titles in boxing, was quick to joke about a third endeavour.
“Teach me how to surf,” he told Slater. “I might become a surfer.”
Slater laughed, saying: “Well yeah, I think you need a third career, you’ve been able to switch over pretty easily in the past.”
“Anyways, we’re just proud of you,” Slater added. “I just wanted to call and say congratulations and all the best for the next endeavour and all the happiness to you and your family. You’re a legend.”