Kane Cornes brutally roasted after boxing defeat against Nathan Brown

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Kane Cornes won plenty of fans for his efforts during his boxing debut, but there has also been a savage reaction to Cornes’ physique.

The Port Adelaide great’s fight with fellow Footy Show co-host Nathan Brown was the headline fight for Wednesday’s fight night in Adelaide.

Collingwood cult hero Anthony Rocca stole the show with brilliant act of sportsmanship after knocking out Corey McKernan at The Gathering event.

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In one of the most anticipated fights of the evening with Cornes called “public enemy No. 1” and booed by the crowd despite being in his backyard, Brown was dominant, peppering his opponent with strong punches that marked up his Channel 9 stablemate’s face.

Brown was awarded the win via a unanimous judges’ decision.

Anthony Rocca lands knockout punch

While it was clear the talent level wasn’t quite at professional standard — particularly when compared to the full-time professional boxers who fought in between on the card — there was plenty of action.

There just wasn’t a lot of action from Cornes’ right hand.

Aussie boxing icon Barry Michael said on the live TV broadcast several times that he was surprised and couldn’t understand why Cornes was so tentative to throw any power shots during the exhibition fight that consisted of four rounds of two minutes.

The 41-year-old blew some fans away during Tuesday night’s official weigh in when he stepped onto the scales with a shredded 78.8kg rig.

Brown weighed in more than 5kg heavier at 83.9kg, but Cornes’ leaner frame didn’t give him any competitive edge — even in the final two rounds when Brown appeared exhausted.

It’s why there was a common theme in the reactions from fans and commentators after the fight.

“Looks like Tarzan, boxes like Jane,” one fan posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Another wrote: “Cornes couldn’t fight his way out of a wet paper bag.”

One fan posted: “The softest punching I’ve seen since kindy”.

Hawthorn great and RSN Breakfast radio host Daniel Harford was also among those surprised by Cornes’ failure to get the job done, despite his more athletic build.

“Brown lowered Cornes’ colours there,” Harford said on Thursday morning.

“Nathan Brown looked good against Kane Cornes, but Cornes was the winner of the night. His rig is rock solid.”

Harford also congratulated the pair and all the other former footballers involved in the event.

“These blokes must have been paid a lot of money to do it,” he said.

“All credit to them for getting in the ring and having a crack. It’s a bold move.”

Michael also noted how easy Brown was finding it to land heavier shots in the early rounds.

“It appears he (Cornes) may not be too hard to hit,” he said in commentary.

There was also plenty of praise for Brown’s performance in dominating the fight.

Aussie boxing legend Danny Green was impressed.

“He surprised me with his fundamental ability,” Green said on Stan Sport.

“He threw punches in combinations. He threw the left hook, straight right hand down the pipe almost every round and he caught Kane.

“He surprised me with the fact he was very poised. When he got tired he had a break and came back. Bang. Bang. Bang. He hit his shots, made them count and then got out of trouble.”

Cornes said after the fight he would be happy if he is to retire from boxing as a 0-1 fighter.

“I tried to put on a brave face, but I was dying inside,” Cornes said.

“I’d never really put boxing gloves on until eight weeks ago. So to be able to get in there and still be standing is a win, right? It’s the most nervous and anxious I’ve ever been.

“I think I got him a black eye, which I’ll take. But he was unbelievable. He’s clearly the overwhelming winner.”

After the fight, Brown was asked how it felt to shut Cornes’ mouth, but paid tribute to his opponent.

“It’s a good effort to get out here,” Brown said.

“We haven’t done a lot of boxing, but the courage for Kane to get out here … The thing about Kane is, he’ll give it in the media but he takes it as well. There are a lot of guys in the media who don’t like to give it like he does it, they’re afraid to give it. I take my hat off too him.”

The first of the AFL fights ended up being the most eventful as the 46-year-old Collingwood great Rocca rocked the 50-year-old McKernan with a big left hand with the first punch that landed in the opening round.

McKernan needed a standing eight count and Barry Michael said it should have been waved off there and then.

“He’s in a lot of trouble — I don’t think he’s any good,” Michael said. “He’s going to get hurt.”

Although he did beat the count and continue, McKernan didn’t look well going into the end of the first round.

While McKernan landed a few more punches in the second round, Rocca was more than willing, eventually landing a short left that dropped McKernan.

Although the referee began the count, it was clear that McKernan was done.

“I really don’t think Corey McKernan recovered from the first round,” Barry Michael said in commentary.

Rocca held up McKernan after the knockout, a moment that earned Rocca plenty of praise after the fight.

“I know I’ve done a lot of work, I’ve done a s**t tonne of work into this lead up,” Rocca said.

“I hit him flush with it and I knew he went down from it.

“We don’t want to hurt anyone. We’re not boxers, we get in here and we try our best. The professionals that come out here, they work so bloody hard.”

Aussie boxing legend Danny Green called it a “classy” act of sportsmanship from Rocca to hold McKernan up.

“He hurt him in the first round with a shot and Corey, he knows he’s not a boxer and was out of his depth, but I’m so proud of this bloke by showing such class and grace — he knew he hurt him,”

“Classy act by Anthony Rocca, as you’d expect, he’s a classy dude.”

McKernan echoed Mike Tyson’s words of “everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the face”.

While the rest of the fights between AFL greats went the distance, there were impressive performance from the winners Dane Swan, Nathan Brown and Mitch Robinson.

Swan, the 2011 Brownlow Medallist, was all over 2010 Collingwood premiership teammate Daisy Thomas, even impressing Aussie legend Green with his technical ability.