Anthony Mundine set off a storm of controversy last week when he confirmed he would not stand for the Australian national anthem before his fight with Jeff Horn next month.
Lost in the furore, however, was an olive branch extended by Horn five days before Mundine revealed his divisive decision.
The 43-year-old Indigenous boxer and former NRL star confirmed that he would be “sitting down” while Advance Australia Fair plays at Suncorp Stadium on November 30.
“If I had it my way, the anthem would not be sung, they’d play Yothu Yindi’s Treaty, give us something, what are you going to give our people?” Mundine told News Corp.
“You want to play a white supremacist song, but you’re not going to play something for us.
“And you condition us to think that it’s our song, our way – that ain’t our way, that’s your way to separate and say you’re superior.
“That song was a theme song for the White Australia policy, which was that no one was allowed into the country except white fellas.”
Mundine’s request to play Yothu Yindi’s groundbreaking 1991 track followed Horn’s foresight on the anthem issue when he spoke last Thursday.
Already aggrieved that Mundine had gone off to train in Florida instead of Brisbane – a camp that was cut short because he felt ‘disrespected’ by his opponent – Horn said he wanted Advance Australia Fair to be played.
But in a fine gesture that belied the growing tensions between the pair, the former WBO welterweight champion offered Mundine the opportunity to commemorate his culture before the fight.
“One of the proudest moments of my life was having the national anthem played in the biggest moment of my life at Suncorp Stadium when I beat Manny Pacquiao last year,” Horn said.
“I respect Indigenous Australians and will be happy to stand to show my respect if Mundine chooses to honour his cultural heritage on the night.”
Despite Mundine’s stance, the door may still be open if the pair can come together and settle on a solution in the coming weeks.
“I just want to clear the air on this well before the fight because I know these issues are important to both of us,” Horn added last week.
Mundine has previously announced he would snub the anthem before his rematch with Daniel Geale in 2013 and prior to his second fight with Danny Green in 2017.
In both instances organisers opted to play Advance Australia Fair before the fighters entered the arena, effectively scuppering it as an issue.
Besides his issues with the anthem, Mundine also discussed his anger towards Horn's promoter, Dean Lonergan.
"I wish Lonergan was taking the punches. I would knock that head straight off his shoulders," Mundine said to Fairfax Media.
"I don’t like Dean. I think he’s a despicable human being as far as his honour, his word, his integrity. He’s got none. And he tries to tell me what to do. I do what I want to do."
"Lonergan is going to be the reason why Jeff Horn’s head is going to come off. This is the thing – he was very vocal against Crawford, his fighter got his head punched in. He’s been very vocal against me, he’s going to get his boy’s head punched in again. He ain’t the one taking the punches. I feel sorry for Jeff.
"My dad said: ‘Cut him up.’ I’ll cut him up like a cake and hand a slice to every single person there. I’m going to dice him up, slice him up. It’s going to be a good night. Make sure the blood bank is there."