One hard ba**@*d!

13.06.09 - By Shaun Murphy: Boxing is a cruel sport. The very fine line that exists between success and failure creates two very different reality's for the "champion and the chump". Unlike the team sports, were world-class athletes are simply respected for their talents. One loss in the ring and all your sacrifice and ability mean nothing, people may even call you a "bum." It's the tragedy and appeal of the squared circle, one fighter becomes a living icon and the next guy who didn't make it, is pumping gas and getting racially abused by drunks.....However, some guys transcend the need for greatness through mere results in the ring. Although they will never be mentioned in the same tone of voice as the people who beat them; a small-class of pugilists are remembered as "greats" for just the way they fought. Dave "Boy' Green, a working-class farmer's son, born in Chatteris, Cambridgeshire-England, June the 2nd 1953, is one of those special few..

Early years.

"The Fen Tiger" always attributed his pugilistic success to determination, and his father's encouragement to pursue all sporting activity to his full potential as its source. Dave "Boy" Green's first sporting interest, however, wasn't the squared circle but the staple exercise of all fighters, running.  Although he lacked the hills that are nearly essential for cross-country runners - "The Fen Tiger's" hometown is very flat - the future boxer gained a reputation among his peers as an undersized, highly competitive 'tough nut' who didn't know how to quit.

"The Fen Tiger" began boxing aged 14 under the auspices of Arthur Binder, a man who taught local boxer Arthur Boon, and he enjoyed the sport from day one. Although David Robert Green, by his own admission, wasn't a complete natural, his kill-or-be-killed nature and farmer's son work-ethic set him apart from the other would-be aspirants who dipped their toes into the rough and tumble 'sport' of organized fist fighting in his gym. "The Fen Tiger" lost his first amateur fight. Instead of feeling dejected; he simply vowed to train even harder until he got the results. The results did come in the end. Winning the national championships in 1969 and finishing his amateur career with a very respectable record of 77/28 with 33 KO's.

Turning professional.

Although "The Fen Tiger's" achievements in the unpaid code were respectable, not much was expected of the stocky, granite-jawed tough guy when he turned over. The country boy, himself, only entered the profession with an intention of winning the Southern Area Title. However, Dave "Boy" Green had inherited the psychological makeup of an English warrior of previous, harder times. Whenever he locked horns with another boxer; his lowly ambition of regional honors dissolved in the fire of a truly unique, combative nature. Although it was clear from the incipient of his pro career "The Fen Tiger" wasn't blessed with an outstanding world-class aptitude for the sport: Dave "Boy" Green's stamina, power, heart, aggression and 'pure bloody mindedness' were all the ingredients necessary to capture the imagination of the public, and win the British title, against Joey Singleton, in 6 rounds by his 2nd pro year...

Later, when asked about his career highlight: Dave "Boy" Green said it was winning the European Light Welterweight Title against the skillful-Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Piedvanche. "The Fen Tiger" stopped the Frenchman in 10 RDs - approaching the Christmas of 1976, in London  - and became a natural rival to John H Stracey. London's former World Champion [who'd just lost his belt to Carlos Palomino]. Both Green and Stracey were seeking to fight Palomino, and it was decided the two should meet in a title eliminator on the 29th of March 1977 in Wembley, London. 

In the lead up to this fight, the press reported the "chilling intensity" of Dave "Boy" green's performances in the gym: they said his sparring partners couldn't last 2 rds, he was at the apex of physical fitness, and he had the 'thousand yard stare' of a man about to inflict serious damage. "The Fen Tiger"  lived up to the expectations and knocked out J.H Stracey in the tenth round.  

So near and..

Carlos Palomino was a great fighter: the Mexican/American was very athletic, a great counter-puncher and sinisterly effective going to the body [like John H Stracey found out!] Although American fighters, at the time, where seen by the English as a class-above, "The Fen Tiger's" all-action style was beginning to attract some believers, so when it was announced Dave "Boy" Green" was fighting Palomino, Britain's fight fans where quietly confident.

The fight that so very nearly ascended "The Fen Tiger" to boxing's folklore; was staged in Wembley’s empire-pool London on the 14th of June 1977. Dave "Boy" Green was doing well: He was moving, controlling the pace, hitting hard to the body and head and had opened up cuts on palomino's face, but his dream was ended, by a devastating knockout in the eleventh round..

He was just too good!

After losing to Carlos Palomino it was time to rebuild his profile, and the country boy had a series of redeeming fights [including winning the European crown.] Next, "The Fen Tiger" fought two very significant opponents back to back.  

Although only die-hard boxing fans have heard of Dick Ecklund; the man has a story only boxing seems to create. A hard-case white American and career journeyman: his life of crime, drugs and violence has become the inspiration for Hollywood Movie "The Fighter." His brother "Irish" Micky Ward is also included in the film that's being released later this year [played by Mark Wahlberg]. For the fight, David Robert Green won an ordinary 10 round decision, but the important factor was "The Fen Tiger's" part in Dick Ecklund's amazing life! Next up, was a bout with an individual who'd - very strangely - provide Dave "Boy" Green's career highlight.

"Sugar" Ray Leonard was the quintessential pound-for-pound champion: his slender build, good looks, immense talent and boyish charm encapsulated boxing. 

Later when asked about Sugar Ray in Jamie O'Keeffe's book "What Makes Tough Guys Tough," England's toughest ever Welterweight honestly-responded "..Even if I'd of trained for 20 yrs. I wouldn't of won.."  So when the fight was announced between Dave "Boy" Green and "Sugar" Ray - set for March The 21st 1981, in Maryland, Washington-State - the eventual result was expected. The Englishman tried hard but 'Sugar' Ray's boxing mastery was too much for him to deal with. While the fight lasted, Dave "Boy" Green bravely trudged forward while being out-classed by his American opponent. In the fourth round: "Sugar" Ray Leonard unleashed a left-hook, so devastating, his opponent landed on the canvas out-cold from - quite possibly - the hardest punch of the eighties.

The beginning of the..

Many believe the Welterweight division of Dave "Boy" Green's time was the best ever, and after losing to "Sugar" Ray Leonard the World Title became an unrealistic dream for Chatteris's favourite son. Although, "The Fen Tiger" carried on.  His manager, Andy Smith, was a rare man in boxing.  After his charge lost to Reggie Ford, a career journeyman, he admonished "The Fen Tiger" to get out and do something else.  This is where the fighter - who in most other eras would have been an undisputed champion - becomes a unique success story.

Many boxers mess up after their career but not David Robert Green.  Although Mr Green could have easily remained comfortable from his ring earnings; he injected the same tenacity into business as he did boxing. After impressing Bob Emerson as an employee [for his determination and work ethic] the ex-professional boxer founded Renoak Limited with his former boss, and it has grown into a multi-million-pound delivery company. As well as his business, Dave "Boy" Green regularly does charity events and has become a highly respected member of his local community [his hometown Chatteris]. 

Incidentally, "Sugar" Ray and David Robert Green have become friends and the pound-for-pound legend espoused: "..Dave was a brave fighting man who never gave less than 100-percent whenever he put gloves on. He is a warm human being who does tremendous work for charity, and I'm thrilled he has made such a success in business.." You want tough? I think that explains it all!

Article posted on 13.05.2009

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