Tarver stuns Green in Sydney
(By Neil Devey - The West Australian)
July 20, 2011
Danny Green's reign as IBO cruiserweight champion was ended dramatically tonight after American Antonio Tarver delivered a stunning upset victory in Sydney.
Green's corner pulled their man out of a one-sided contest at the end of the ninth round after the WA fighter had been saved by the bell following a barrage of head shots.
Green, who was knocked to the canvas in the second round, was completely outboxed as Tarver belied his 42 years to overwhelm the Perth fighter.
The 38-year-old just could not get a foothold into the bout as the "Magic Man" constantly sized him up with the left hand.
An emotional Green apologised to his loyal fans in the Sydney Entertainment Centre, most of whom were simply shocked by the brutal nature of his first stoppage defeat in a 35-fight career.
While all three judges had the fight 88-84 in Tarver's favour at the time of the stoppage, it never seemed that close. And even though the pair have an agreement on a rematch, Green must weigh up whether he would fare any better going in against a true craftsman with a hammer in his left mitt.
"I just want to chill out, take stock and relax and get healthy," said Green, whose record is now 31 wins and four losses. "The main thing is my health. I've got two kids. I'm just so gutted I couldn't do it for you guys.
"I just want to apologise to everyone out there. It's very tough for me. I want to thank Antonio, who fought a great fight. I just couldn't do a thing right.
"I'm not taking anything away from Antonio who fought a very smart fight and he's a great fighter and he proved that tonight. He always said that 42 is nothing but a number and he proved it."
Tarver, a four-time light heavyweight champion who famously became the first man to knock out Roy Jones Jr, said Green had been a tough nut to crack and the new IBO champion seemed receptive to the idea of a rematch.
"He hurt me twice but I couldn't let him know it. It was a hell of a fight," Tarver said. "He's got to get healthy and get back into shape. But who knows? If he calls me, I'm coming back, baby."
Tarver hardly threw a shot in the first minute and a half of the bout as both fighters felt each other out. But before the bell he delivered a warning of what was to come when a left hand stumbled the off-balance Green.
Yet few could have expected what followed in the second when Green hit the deck. Tarver, growing in confidence, brought a left hook up through the champion's open defence and connected sweetly on the jaw. Green was up quickly but took a standing eight count.
Time and again southpaw Tarver took his time, left hand cocked while flicking out his right hand. And while the jab fell short as often as it landed, it was enough to keep Green on the back foot.
In the third and fourth rounds Green was again taking too many big shots and by the end of the sixth he was in trouble.
But Green's nothing if not a warrior and his legion of supporters were given a glimmer of hope when he hurt Tarver in the seventh with a short left.
But Tarver wasn't going to be denied. After a quiet eighth, he sensed Green was there for the taking and again pinned his man on the ropes in round nine. An uppercut sent Green's head jolting upwards and the Florida ace gave his opponent no respite. Only the bell prevented him being stopped by English referee Howard Foster.
However, salvation was shortlived. Green's corner, led by trainer Angelo Hyder, knew the game was up and pulled their man out as Tarver celebrated winning a fifth world title.
Green may not be the only one feeling the pain of his loss, with Kiwi Shane Cameron seeing a possible clash against the WA man now up in the air.
Cameron, who has been linked with a fight with Green in New Zealand, won the Commonwealth cruiserweight title with a shuddering 12th-round stoppage of local man Dominic Vea.
Immediately after the contest he again challenged Green, but that was before Tarver upset the applecart.
Also at 90.7kg, South African-born Perth fighter Pieter Cronje, who in turn is targeting Cameron, had it all his own way as he chalked up a fourth-round win over late replacement Michael O'Donnell, while West Aussie Noufel Ben Rabah lifted the IBF Australiasian welterweight title by halting Issac Hlatshwayo in three.