Dave ‘Boy’ Green: “If I’d have trained for 50 years, I’d never have beaten Sugar Ray.”
By Melanie Lloyd
The all-British encounter for which Dave will forever be remembered was his epic skirmish with John H Stracey in a final eliminator for the WBC welterweight title, a belt that Stracey had held and lost in his previous match against Carlos Palomino.
These two popular protagonists faced each other in March 1977 and the Empire Pool at Wembley was packed out. “Oh, yes, definitely, what with him being a former world champion, with the fight being in London, and he was a London boy, but I had some good friends there as well. It was a great night. And listen, I used to love it. If they started cheering for anybody, you know, I think it’s great.”
Despite the brave Londoner’s tenacious fighting spirit and extensive boxing knowhow, the ‘Boy’ from Chatteris eventually wore Stracey down and forced referee Harry Gibbs to stop the fight in the tenth round. “I was too rough for him really. I think that’s what it was. He was more of a boxer but I was more of a fighter. I was just very enthusiastic to get through and get on. I suppose my favourite win was against John H Stracey.
“Listen, we didn’t know how good Sugar Ray Leonard was. He’d just beaten Benitez, so we knew he was a great fighter. Andy Smith said to me ‘I think, if you can stick with him for ten rounds, you’re a strong boy and you’re going to get to him’ But listen, if I’d have trained for 50 years, I’d never have beaten Sugar Ray. I mean, the man was so good, so clever and so quick. I mean, I thought I had a good jab. His jab was like a rocket. What a fighter! He’s perhaps the best fighter I’ve ever seen, perhaps one of the best ever.”
The above is an excerpt from the excellent book Sweet Fighting Man: Ring of Truth by Melanie Lloyd. Available now.