Middleweight beltholder Peter Quillin could soon defend his WBO title against promotional stablemate Danny Jacobs.
Q&A: Danny Green
Danny Green is the most popular boxer in Australia and boxing writer Anson Wainwright found out why during a recent interview with the former light heavyweight titleholder. A rugged brute in the ring, Green is down-to-earth outside of it. The veteran made for an honest, thoughtful, funny Q&A.
Danny Green has thrilled Australian audiences for more than a decade.
The rugged former light heavyweight titleholder and current cruiserweight standout has long been one of the most popular fighters in his homeland. When speaking to the 40-year-old veteran it’s easy to see why. Green is fearless inside the ring with a fan friendly style, and outside the ring he’s gregarious, amusing and also humble.
Nicknamed “The Green Machine,” he debuted in mid-2001 as a super middleweight after competing in the 2000 Olympics. Early on, his power was evident, as he blitzed his way through his first 16 opponents all inside the distance. He was able to parlay that run into a WBC title crack at Markus Beyer. He dropped Beyer in each of the first two rounds before the fight was stopped due to head butts which had caused Beyer to bleed profusely. The contest was ruled a disqualification loss. Unperturbed, Green took to the road again and this time he wasn’t to be denied as he bashed up popular Canadian veteran Eric Lucas in six rounds just four months later to win the WBC’s interim title. He was made to wait over a year for a return with Beyer again losing this time by the slimmest of margins in a distance bout.
After two comeback wins he took on fellow Aussie Anthony Mundine in a grudge match that at that time broke PPV records in Australia and made both combatants vast sums of money. Despite a strong start Green tired and lost a wide decision, though he remained relevant over the next 18 months with stoppage wins over middle-of-the-road opposition before finally achieving his ultimate goal when he beat Stipe Drews for the WBA light heavyweight title, winning comfortably on points. A few months later he stunned the Australian boxing public by announcing his retirement with immediate effect. However, it proved to be more a hiatus as 18 months later the lure of the ring became too great and he returned.
After a couple of wins he met ring legend Roy Jones Jr.
In the opening round Green dropped Jones before pummelling away and forcing a stunning stoppage, though Jones complained about a myriad of things after the fight. While Jones was light years from his prime, it was still a very good win for Green. Since then Green’s popularity has grown and he continued to perform. After three more wins, including one over Paul Briggs which finished in a farcical one-round stoppage scene and a unanimous decision over unbeaten BJ Flores, Green took on another boxing great in Antonio Tarver. Despite a valiant attempt he was stopped in the ninth stanza. Instead of taking smaller fighters and continuing his career in safe fashion, Green showed his character just four months later by bringing Poland’s WBC champ Krzysztof Wlodarczyk to Australia. A fast start took Green into the lead, which he maintained until out of nowhere Wlodarczyk landed a debilitating left hook that took him out in the penultimate round. Green has since won two bouts, the latest over Shane Cameron, who was formerly a noted heavyweight prospect. At the time of writing, Green (33-5, 28 stoppages) hadn’t announced his next fight. He’s currently ranked No. 13 by the IBF and No. 11 by the WBO at cruiserweight.
Danny Green: It was a grueling 12-round battle against Shane, who was five years younger and very hungry in his first world title fight. He was the number nine ranked heavyweight, as well as the current Commonwealth cruiserweight champion, so his size was an advantage they thought he could capitalize on. What they underestimated was my strength, especially inside where I dictated and steered the action. Our game plan worked a treat. He started really well, moving nicely and flowing, so I changed up the action to plan B, went inside, walked him back and proceeded to bully the supposed bully. Full credit to Shane, he never stopped coming and I avoided a few KO shots that he timed nicely, only narrowly missing. Shane really came prepared. Packed house in Melbourne, it was a thrilling night and the crowd really got bang for their buck!
DG: Oh that was so close to a fairy tale victory after being stopped by Tarver four months earlier. People intimated that I was gone after Tarver, which is crazy. Boxing is the only sport where a fighter gets beaten and then the whole world dumps on him. So I decided, after what myself and my trainer, Angelo Hyder, felt was a bad night, to take on an even tougher challenge, the two-time champ and reigning WBC champ, Wlodarczyk. He is a natural cruiser. I'm stuck between 175 and 200 pounds. Too big for 175, took small for 200. I had no place taking on these big men at this level, but I had no choice. Starve and suck down to 175 or take on the big boys. Or, give it away. I was weighing in under the limit, with a belly full of fluid and food, then by fight night I was weighing 191 pounds max compared to his 212-214. Wlodarczyk is a tank, and can whack, and is very strong. No one gave me a hope. I was in superb condition and ready to take him. Round five I nearly had him out of there. By round ten he needed a knockout to win, it was a shutout; 20 seconds to go in round 11, after dominating, he hit me flush on the chin with a beautiful left hook. It was like a trapdoor flew open and my legs just vanished from beneath me. I'm proud to say I beat the count but I was in no shape to continue. It was over. Just like that. That's the game, man.
DG: It's a tight bunch, some really good fighters in there. Huck is a strong dude, aggressive. Hernandez is big and slick. Wlodarczyk is a beast. (Steve) USS Cunningham has moved to heavyweight but he was menacing and imposing at cruiser; yeah I like all those guys. I've got great respect for them. I wish the cruiserweight limit hadn't gone up to 200 (laughs)! Those guys are monsters. I also wish these guys great success.
Staying fit, hanging with my family and mates, barbecues and cold beers; life's pretty simple when this combination all rolls smoothly into one.
DG: I've never been one for big statements, and I respect all my fellow pugilists, so my message is stay safe, stay cool, and I wish you guys peace, luck and prosperity.
Photos / Quinn Rooney-Getty Images, Cameron Spencer-Getty Images, Torsten Blackwood-AFP