By Adam Santarossa: As Danny Green prepares to step into the ring with Krysztof Wlodarczyk on Wednesday night, it presents a chance for the Australian to finally capture a title which has long eluded him.
The WBC title is one that has eluded Green his entire career. Sure he tasted the WBC interim title, but that’s like saying you got with Danni Minogue instead of Kylie. “The Green belt” as the WBC title is affectionately known, is seen by many as the true measure of a fighter given the titles history and the distinction in which it is held. It’s a title which was once ripped from his grasp just as the champagne was ready to flow, in an event that kick started a public love affair with the Green Machine.
In August of 2003, Danny Green was fighting for his first World title, against a highly credentialed European opponent, Markus Beyer for the WBC Super Middleweight Title, in just his seventeenth professional fight.
After dropping the champion in round one and two, and clearly winning rounds three and four, Green was disqualified in round five, for what the referee saw as an intentional head butt. Some called it justice, some controversy and corruption, but nonetheless the country fell in love with the Green Machine, and his chase for that green belt.
It was a time when Green was hungry, literally. It was a time when he lived beside a train line at Bankstown and struggled to make ends meet.
Fast forward to 2011, and a lot has changed.
Green no longer lives beside the train line at Bankstown, he has swapped
those digs for a plush base at The Star Casino, as well as a swank residence in Perth, and the millions of dollars that his fights generate ensure he no longer struggles to make ends meet.
Whilst Green still commands a legion of fans, it would be fair to say that his public following has diminished. Many were stung by the farce that was his clash with Paul “Hurricane” Briggs, as well as a continued procession of “easy” fights after his destruction of Roy Jones.
Headlines of cage fights with UFC Champion, Brock Lesnar, chasing a fight with Bernard Hopkins, and having the ability to knock heavyweights senseless, were met with opponents that were largely overmatched, inactive or within their best interests financially to come in under the Cruiserweight limit.
But whilst so much has changed, come Wednesday night, two things remain.
Danny Green is hungry again...and he is still chasing that green belt.
Danny Green enters the ring on Wednesday night a man with a point to
prove. In his last fight with Antonio Tarver he was stopped for the first time ever in his career, with his trainer Angelo Hyder having to throw in the towel at the conclusion of the ninth round. The fight not only stripped Green of the distinction of never losing by knockout, but also leaving was the IBO Cruiserweight Title.
Following the fight there was a plethora of names telling Green that he was washed up and that recent fights against lacklustre opponents had made him vulnerable when stepping it up against marquee names like Tarver.
Following the defeat, Green simply could have retired and settled in with his young children and wife Nina and continued promoting, something he has dabbled in the last twelve months. Or better still taken some easy fights and furthered his retirement nest egg.
He doesn’t need the money, and as a former multiple time world champion, his career will sit alongside some of the greats of Australian boxing.
The easy option for Danny Green would have been to walk away. But Danny Green has never done things the easy way.
Instead he will line up against the WBC Cruiserweight World Champion, Krzysztof Wlodarczyk, a man who posesses 45 career wins, with only two defeats and a very impressive resume.
Danny Green is not going to die wondering. He will throw everything but the kitchen sink at Wlodarczyk. In his 42 wins, Wlodarczyk has knocked out his opponent on 32 occasions. For Green, he was 31 wins for 27 knockouts. So expect some fireworks.
Going into the fight there are many questions that remain unanswered. Questions such as those surrounding the reports of Wlodarczyk allegedly attempting suicide following a row with his wife. Reports state Wlodarczyk was rushed to hospital and placed in a coma while he had his stomach pumped. Team Wlodarczyk has been rather coy in attempting to dispel the rumours since arriving in the country.
There are questions also around the ability of Danny Green. Is he washed up? Has age finally caught up to him? Or was it simply an off night?
People continue to question the reasons why Green continues to fight as a Cruiserweight. Prior to the Tarver fight, Green was seen as a Cruiserweight Champion, but had continually fought at a catch weight closer to the Light Heavyweight division.
Against Tarver, Green weighed in as a true cruiserweight, and the heaviest he had ever fought in his career. This takes some getting used to, and maybe contributed to his sluggishness in the ring.
There is no denying he cut a strong and imposing figure, which pales in comparison to the weight drained fighter he was at Super Middleweight.
Green and his trainer, Angelo Hyder would have gone away and made some changes. The biggest change that Green has made so far in preparation for this fight is that all the talk and all the headlines are strangely absent.
The build-up to the fight has been quite soft. There have been no outlandish statements and no attention seeking.