by Hans Olson
This Wednesday in Sydney, Australia, IBO Cruiserweight Champion Danny Green (31-3) will wage war with former Light Heavyweight Champion Antonio Tarver (28-6). It will be Green’s fifth defense of his IBO title.
“I’m very excited. This isn’t a comeback fight or a warm-up or a tune-up…this is the fight of my life,” said Danny. “Antonio Tarver is a former undisputed champion, he’s a 4-time world champion and even today there’s no one in the cruiserweight division that he could not defeat if he was prepared properly. If he has a good night there’s no one out there that he couldn’t defeat if his mind and his body are into shape—I think it will be come the 20th of July. I’m in for the fight of my life and know that, but I’m looking forward to it.”
That Danny Green is fighting at all is amazing. This past January, Green’s appendix burst and he was hospitalized, putting his career in doubt. “My body had a lot of poison in it from the appendicitis…I was really sick and weak. In the beginning of March, I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be able to fight again because I was so sick.”
After Green recovered, a fight with Tarver was signed in April. Tarver, who briefly fought at heavyweight, moves back down to cruiserweight for the Green challenge. Talks of a fight between “The Green Machine” and “The Magic Man” go all the way back to 2007. Last year, when Tarver announced his heavyweight experiment on Showtime, he made some unflattering remarks about Green. “I definitely wanted to move up to cruiserweight,” said Tarver live on Showtime’s air. “There was one guy in particular that I wanted to fight. But unfortunately, he’s interested in unburying dead men.” Tarver was referring to the fight Green had signed on for then, against the faded Paul Briggs. Green, for his part, had been trying to get Tarver down to Australia for some time. “Let’s just clear this up. I flew to America in 2007 to apparently meet with Gary Shaw to sign the deal. I was there for two weeks; I hadn’t heard a word until I was at the airport to fly back to Australia. Very, very, unprofessional, and very, very, frustrating.” Green continued. “We did everything we could. It was a very frustrating process. No matter what anyone says…what Antonio or anyone says, if anyone wants to take the time and sit down and I’ll show them everything, I have this whole process (that has) taken place. If we sit down they’ll agree with what I’m saying. They know the facts, and anyone else’s words are merely words.”
None of the failed negotiations of yesteryear are of consequence now. In less than 48 hours, the fight will be a reality. It is sure to be a mega-event in Australia, airing live on PPV with Australia’s Main Event network where Danny Green, one the biggest stars in his native country, always does big business.“The two biggest pay-per-views in this country, I’ve been involved in both of them. One was Anthony Mundine, and the second was myself versus Roy Jones Jr,” said Green. “If you want to base it on per-capita, the amount of PPV’s I’ve got for both those fights as opposed to De La Hoya/Mayweather; we actually do more, or did more than what they did for those fights. We did more per-capita than what the De La Hoya/Mayweather fight did. Boxing here, we’re lucky to have a great fan base that’s always been a fantastic loyal fan base for many years. Australia loves the fights. We’ve had some of the biggest, most successful and biggest promotions in the country’s history.”
If Green is victorious on Wednesday, one wonders how big his star could shine if he takes the plunge into the heavyweight division, or moves back down to 175 where there are a lot of big names.
“I’m normally a small cruiserweight. I just can’t make light heavyweight. Well I could make light heavyweight but I’d literally be sick. I would be no good at light heavyweight and no matter what the offer is I’m not going to ever go to light heavyweight because I just can’t make it. It’d be detrimental to my health because I’m stacked in between light heavy and cruiser. If cruiser was the old weight, it’d be perfect. Unfortunately, I’m a small cruiserweight, I can’t make light heavyweight anymore, so I’m going to make due. So, I’m giving away a few advantages in size, reach, strength, but I’ve got the power to match it.”
Considering the success of smaller heavyweights like Tomasz Adamek…you still get the feeling that Danny may be able to make some noise in a division that is quiet unless your last name is Klitchcko. “If a crazy offer came along, yeah, I’d do it. No problem at all, I’m a fighter mate.”
A fighter indeed, and one that boxing could use more of.
“I want to let the fans know that I appreciate and love their support; and every time I get in that ring, it’s not just for me, my family, and my friends…it’s also for my fans who follow me…and I’ve had loyal support the whole way though.”
“The Green Machine,” reborn, and re-engergized, seeks to continue his dominance on Wednesday.
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