By Ray Kilgore: At about 5:30 p.m. on Saturday night at the Wessman Arena in Superior, Wisconsin, I ran into Frances Green who sat at a table not too far from where her husband, heavyweight boxer, Aaron Green was set to perform in little over an hour against Travis Fulton, (16-28, 16 KOs).
Frances’ demeanor was cool; almost too relaxed if you ask me. But if anyone knows Green, it would be her. But then again, maybe there’s something about the 270-pound Green that gives her a feeling of comfort in a place that is so often at times the most unsettling place, the boxing ring.
“Aaron does not fit the stereotype of the trash-talking, attention-wanting [fighter] that some people think boxers are,” the fighter’s wife of seven years told Secondsout.com. “Aaron is a true gentleman in and out of the ring….When [he’s] sparring with new fighters, he would never take advantage of someone or try to hurt someone during a training session; instead he always wants both people to get good work.”
Now, that’s a different approach, but as long as Team Green sees that it’s effective, that’s all that matters, right? His 100-watt smile is inviting, and his “teddy bear” qualities give the perfect opportunity for deception, revealed once he gets into the ring. Green is in a peculiar situation.
He fights in a division that’s a different type of breed, where fans can have pre-existing ideas about what they want in "a" heavyweight. And whether it’s twisted or not, some spectators demand to see ferocity in a fighter. The more of a foul-mouthed, angry bad boy he is, the more he is embraced by "certain" fans. Green, age 30, stands 6-foot-4 and is (5-0, 5 KO’s); he’s done a good job using his physical attributes to get the job done, ironically in a somewhat quiet way.
Green has shown he is not the kind of fighter who brags; in fact, he’s totally quiet. But there’s a reason why Green picked his ring alias for a reason. “I came up with the [ring alias Gorilla because] Gorillas are powerful, mild-mannered, intelligent and protective animals,” Green said. Too bad for his last opponent, John Moxey (O-1), Green wasn’t in a nurturing mood.
While Moxey wasn’t a seasoned boxer, Green’s performance revealed that even if he wasn’t willing to go on the record with fight predictions like his opponent did, putting in a good performance wasn’t an issue. Green had always had an interest in the sport, but he didn’t have a way to commit himself fully.
“I remember there was a kid in my eighth grade class that was a boxer,” Green said. “I thought it was the coolest thing. Back then, I played basketball, and it consumed a lot of my time, and was basically a year-round deal.” Green’s father, Robert, and his mother, Brejeanna, weren’t able to give their sons a stable place to grow up early on; Not because they weren’t able to, but because Mr. Green, an aircraft mechanic, looked for ways of bettering his family’s lifestyle, and he found ways to do that by moving the family around places such as Colorado, California, and Illinois. Finally, the fighter, who was born on May 4, 1982, in Aurora, Co, and his family found a home in Indiana, where in 2000, Green graduated from Ben Davis High School.
After high school, Green spent a year at Vincennes University, but in 2001, he transferred to Lake Land Collegein Mattoon,IL, on a basketball scholarship. Green showed talent, taking All-Conference and All-Region honors in 2002 when he played with the Lake Land Lakers. Green would go on to earn an Associate’s Degree in Physical Education while continuing to play basketball. In 2003, Green took advantage of a full scholarship to play basketball at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND. He showed dedication not only as a player, but as a student as well—receiving his Bachelor’s Degree in University Studies with an emphasis in Health Nutrition and Exercises Science.
While Green was blocking shots and figuring out his next defensive move, it was Frances Rice (her maiden name) who scored the winning dunk. “I would see her playing pick-up basketball at the gym and we also had dance class together,” recalled the boxer about how he and Frances met while they were both attending NDSU. “We talked one evening at the basketball gym, and the next day in dance class, I asked her to be my partner. The rest is history.”
The couple married in October 2005, and they said the respect and appreciation they have for each other is based on similar interests and a willingness to work side by side. But like all couples, there are some issues that will never be resolved. “I played intramural basketball in college and recreationally now, but my true sport is golf,” said Frances. “I was on the women’s DI golf team at NDSU, and in the true spirit of competition, I never let Aaron beat me in golf.”
Well, it was Green who needed all the support he could get from Frances when he told her that he wanted to become a boxer. “Looking back, the first fight was definitely the most nerve-wracking,” France told Secondsout.com. “I did not sit ringside and could hardly sit during the preceding fights, waiting for Aaron’s bout to begin. I don’t claim to be very educated on the sweet science.”
Green had different emotions. “The first time I was in the ring, I remember feeling very confident,” Green said. “I knew I had trained hard and I was ready to fight.” Green eased Frances’ fears as he proved he belonged in the game. Green won many titles: the Novice Super Heavyweight Division belt, Region 1 Golden Gloves Champion, the Minnesota State, the Regional Champion for USA Boxing. And shortly before his amateur career came to an end, Green was ranked the #6 Super Heavy Weight amateur boxer by USA Boxing. Green did his part, which rubbed off on Frances.