Mid-November 2014 in Melbourne. For the past week all the talk in town – this self-styled “most sports-mad city on the planet” – is about Choc. Anthony Mundine, the four-time former world boxing champ – the Mouth, the Muslim, the Most Hated Man in Australia – is supposed to be pounded into retirement by a brilliant, unbeaten Russian 11 years his junior.
But that’s not my fight. I’m walking down Batman Ave towards Hisense Arena, trying to see through tear-streaked eyes, trying to breathe through what feels like a set of socks in my throat. I plug into a podcast on the Battle of Jutland but don’t hear a word. Because I fear I’m going to see my friend, Chauncy Welliver – The Hillyard Hammer – get killed in the ring.