Bad mouthing Danny Green and other fighters
As seen on
By Mike Colman
February 13, 2009 12:00am
YOU had to feel sorry for Shannan Taylor. There he was, finally having
his moment in the sun, and Danny Green rained all over it.
Taylor has been up and down more times than a Sherpa guide. He's been
boy wonder, thug, coke head, Christian, womaniser, family man and, every
now and then, genuine contender.
This week he had the chance to be king for a day. Or, failing that,
another faded star on the Anthony Mundine walk of shame.
Either way, the fighter they once called the Bulli Blaster, was back in
the spotlight and he aimed to make the most of it. And then Danny Green
called a press conference.
When Shannan all but burst into tears and told anyone who would listen,
"This was supposed to be my day," he could have been speaking for every
boxer who ever took a pounding, in or out of the ring.
There's nothing new about a "retired" athlete riding back in to town on
someone else's coat-tails.
Swimmer Lisa Curry did it from the commentary box while watching
teenager Hayley Lewis steal the limelight at the 1991 world
championships in Perth.
Announcing she would make a comeback for the Barcelona Olympics, Kenny
made the front page. Lewis, who won the 200m freestyle world title, was
relegated to the back page.
Boxer Jeff Fenech, Green's first professional trainer, did it too. In
November 1988 after breaking his hands for the umpteenth time on the
head of Mexico's Marcos Villasana, Fenech bid a tearful farewell to the
ring. Seven months later Fenech was in Atlantic City to watch Jeff
Harding battle Dennis Andries for the light-heavyweight crown.
Seeing the bright lights and television cameras surrounding Harding,
Fenech turned and whispered in the ear of one of his coterie of yes men.
The next day the paper was full of Fenech's comeback.
Harding never forgave him.
Which brings us to the timing of Green's comeback announcement -- the
very morning of the weigh-in for the Mundine-Taylor fracas.
Taylor was spitting chips. Mundine? He couldn't have been happier.
Matter of fact, he stage-managed the whole affair.
Sure, it made it painfully clear what Mundine thought of Taylor -- just
another roadbump on the way to the next big payday -- but that's
How many reporters would have even gone to the weigh-in if they didn't
see it as an opportunity to quiz The Man about Mundine-Green II?
What would have been a brief on page 77 suddenly became a talking point
-- and rest assured there will be plenty more talk before the inevitable
rematch finally gets under way.
Is there any other sport in the world that generates so much meaningless
And Danny Green, sad to say, is becoming a master at it.
Mundine has plenty to say as well of course, but the difference is he
occasionally backs it up.
Danny, for all his bulging biceps and even more bulging press clippings,
is in grave danger of being remembered as something of a blow-hard.
Much as anyone who climbs in to the ring has to be admired for their
intestinal fortitude, the harsh reality is that Green has yet to make
good on his promise. On the biggest occasions in his career he has
nearly always faltered.
In 2003 he had an under-prepared world champ Markus Beyer on toast
before a brain-snap saw him disqualified. Next time around a clued-up
Beyer outboxed him easily.
He had all of Australia believing he had Mundine's number before their
first fight and Mundine gave a master class. The fight could have gone
150 rounds and Danny wouldn't have caught him.
When Green did win a world title it was against 34-year-old Croatian
Stipe Drews, who retired one minute after the closing bell. Observers
felt he'd retired one minute before the opening bell.
Green followed Drews into retirement soon afterwards, heading to Dancing
With The Stars where he continued to talk it up.
His paso was off because he had a broken rib, when he fluffed his salsa
it was all down to his bad back. After a rum rumba he started to say
something about problems his wife was going through but thankfully
thought better of it. But always, there was talk, talk, talk, about his
mental and physical toughness; about how he would never quit, how pain
was just a word.
One of many. One Sydney paper this week coloured its report of Green's
comeback announcement with a tale of how he'd sat for 10 excruciating
minutes in an ice bath, just to silence those who said it couldn't be
"Some would ask 'why?' but it was important to me," Green told the
reporter. "The challenge had been made and once I accepted it, I had to
see it through."
Oh Danny, come on. Enough with the words already. We've heard too many.
Just get in there with Mundine and fight.
Time in the spotlight is far too short to be wasted mouthing off.
Ask Shannan Taylor.
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