British warrior Dave “Boy” Green, known as the “Fenland Tiger,” fought some big fights in the 1970s and ’80s. The former British and European champ at light-welterweight and also a former European welterweight ruler, Green thrilled millions with his action fights.
Green got as far as challenging Sugar Ray Leonard for the world welterweight crown. Today content in retirement, 68-year-old Green is a genuine British boxing great.
Here, Green – who exited with a fine 37-4(29) record in 1981 – recalls his ring career:
On his greatest win:
“My best night was the night I beat John H. Stracey, who had only recently lost his world welterweight title. That fight, in March of 1977, was a final eliminator for the world title, which was held by Carlos Palomino then. I think I was at my peak against Stracey. It was a big thing for me to beat a former world champion. He never actually hurt me in the fight before I stopped him (on an eye injury RSC 10) but he was still near his best. We are in touch these days, which is great. That was a big, important win for me.”
On the Sugar Ray fight:
“My worst night has to be the night I fought Sugar Ray Leonard, definitely. He really was a special fighter. Going into the fight, I thought if I could stay with him for eight to ten-rounds, I’d be able to come on strong in the later rounds, because of course it was set for 15-rounds back then. But he was a very fit man himself. His speed, his power, his balance – everything was just brilliant. If I’d trained for fifty years I’d never have beaten him; not even with a baseball bat! To me, he is one of the top-5 greatest fighters of all time.”
On the hardest puncher he ever fought:
“The hardest puncher I faced, without a doubt, Sugar Ray Leonard. He hit me with a left hook to the head (in the 4th-round) and that was it. Before the ending of the fight, he’d hit me and hurt me to the body, also with his left hand. Nobody ever hurt me to the body during my entire career, he was the only one. Another hard puncher was Joergen Hansen (who KO’d Green in the 3rd-round in Denmark in 1979). He was 38-years-old at the time but he could still really punch. I still keep in touch with Leonard today; he’s been to my house and I’ve been to his house. I just lost to a great fighter, that’s all.”
On his toughest ring battle:
“My toughest fight was against a man called Mario Omar Guillotti, who I fought before I fought Stracey. He took me the full ten-rounds. He was such a tough man, he took everything and he just kept coming at me. I really did hit him with everything and I couldn’t hurt him he was so tough. He was aggressive as well. I think all the Argentinean fighters are tough, really (laughs). That was another of my fights at The Albert Hall. I fought there nineteen times in my career.”
“Initially when I retired (in 1981) it was hard to walk away, and my manager, Andy Smith, a lovely man, he got me a job working for a company. It was a company that did the packaging for Nat West and The Midland bank. He thought that getting me a job would get me thinking about something else mother than boxing. He said that if I did need to come back, to come back to him, as he’d get me the right fights. But thankfully I never needed to come back. My only regret today is not winning the world title; I think that’s every fighter’s main goal. But I fought two great fighters who were better then me (Leonard, Palomino). And receiving the MBE (in 2012) was one of the best days of my life. I never thought that would happen. I’m content in retirement.”