It was an unlikely combination, but controversial brain surgeon Dr Charlie Teo is happy Melbourne underworld figure Mick Gatto came through with the goods - a $673,263 cheque to fund research in the fight against brain cancer.
Mr Gatto, who is no stranger to controversy himself, presented Dr Teo the money on Thursday night at the Four Seasons hotel in Sydney, after a gala dinner attended by 1200 people in Melbourne earlier this month.
But Mr Gatto, who earlier this week was seated at the Danny Green world boxing title fight in Melbourne with a litany of underworld figures and bikies, denies he is attempting to buy respectability by over the years making significant contributions to numerous charities, including raising $1 million for firefighters in April 2009.
"I did what I had to do for a great man, Dr Teo," Mr Gatto said.
This tale of two cities started earlier this year when Dr Teo saved the mother of one of Mr Gatto's friends.
Dr Teo, the director of Sydney's Centre for Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery, is held in high esteem, but has been knocked for carrying out radical surgery on tumours that other doctors consider inoperable.
A delighted Dr Teo said the odd coupling, when first reported in the Sun-Herald in July, brought a great deal of criticism. But he is used to the critics.
"My career has been full of malicious rumours, hyperbole and falsified stories over the years. It's hurtful and at times makes me wonder about how humans can be so cruel," he said.
"I was subject to criticism from friends and colleagues for teaming up with Mick. But associating with him, he's been nothing but a gentlemen.
"They said morally how can you take money from Mick, but morally how can I not fight cancer."
Mr Gatto and business partner John Khoury, along with Angelo "Fat Ange" Venditti, are currently being followed by a film crew doing a documentary on Melbourne suburb Carlton that inspired an Underbelly season.