Sport

Danny Green on what boxing has taught him about human nature, and the Mundine rivalry. By Richard Cooke.
Credit: TEAM DANNY GREEN

Green energy: Danny Green, 42, boxer

What has boxing taught me about human nature? I’ve got so many answers to that. It’s taught me that human nature automatically assumes that a boxer is a violent person, which is not the case the majority of the time. It’s taught me that there’s a real unique spirit that a top fighter has.

I think a lot of fighters present a quality that goes against human nature. Almost 99.9 per cent of the population would relent and surrender to the opponent that’s raining blows on them. A top fighter goes against the normal nature and the normal decision-making process that a human would take. A top fighter doesn’t give in – they go into the fight instead of walk away from it.

I don’t worry too much about legacy. I used to care about it more, but, you know what, I can’t change what some guy thinks. I’m not going to waste my time.

My family, my friends and my true supporters. Theirs are the opinions I care about.

I’ve learnt you simply cannot please all of the people. People make their own decision, and whatever I do can’t change that and I don’t want to change that.

The fights I remember are the ones against world champions. Fighting world champions, beating world champions, losing against world champions. I didn’t win the fight against Włodarczyk, but surprisingly it’s one of my prouder moments. I don’t reckon many people would have got off the canvas. 

There’s another famous sportsperson called Danny Green. I know because I get a lot of his fan mail. He’s a basketballer [for the San Antonio Spurs] and he’s a fucking superstar. People will tweet me, “Mate, you killed the Cleveland Cavaliers” – whatever. I’ve replied a couple of times: “Cool, thanks buddy, awesome, cheers.” 

Once a guy in 5 Seconds of Summer tweeted at me. I thought I’d been hacked. For two or three days I got bombarded by literally hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of 5 Seconds of Summer fans. I had to switch it off. I’m not sure about being bombarded worldwide by that stuff, but some blokes just love it.

 I was looking at something with Mike Tyson today. He’s one of the best heavyweights of all time, regardless of what happened out of the ring. He was someone who captivated the universe, from China to South America to Europe to America to Australia, no matter where. I’m pretty sure fucking North Korea was hooked on it; it was crazy. So boxing had done that, but after Tyson, it went into a bit of a lull.

I don’t know what it is about fighting and what it is about the sport of boxing but it does tend to captivate an audience all around the world. Perhaps it’s fighting – it’s something that a lot of people don’t think they’d ever do, or they can’t do and they never would do.

I don’t know any boxers who’ve gone to football. Plenty come the other way round. If I did, I think people would go into cardiac arrest from laughing so hard.

When people first started talking about a Mundine rivalry, I didn’t have any kids. When I first turned pro at the end of 2001 is when this whole whatever it’s called, this whole charade, soap opera started.

To be honest, I really don’t know why it’s captivated so much interest. I don’t see it as that interesting, I just see it as blokes who had a fight and then one bloke won and the other bloke lost. They were due to have a rematch and they haven’t had the rematch and it’s been going on and on.

Choc [Anthony Mundine] does let himself down. He excelled at rugby league and he has excelled in the sport of boxing, so he deserves a lot of credit. But unfortunately he lets himself down and he’s got himself to blame. All the negativity that comes his way is his own doing.

What can I say that I’ve not said to anyone else? Let’s just get down to business, let’s get the fight on. Sort it out, and then let’s have a cup of tea.

 

This week’s highlights… 

• Tennis: Australian Open

Until January 31, Melbourne Park 

• Cricket: Australia v India, 5th ODI

Saturday, 2.20pm (AEDT), Sydney Cricket Ground

• Baseball: Sydney Blue Sox v Melbourne Aces

Saturday, 6.30pm (AEDT), Blacktown International Sportspark, Sydney

• Netball: Australia v England, 3rd Test

Monday, 5.30am (AEDT), Copper Box Arena, London

• Cricket: Australia v India, 1st Twenty20

Tuesday, 7.08pm (ACDT), Adelaide Oval

• Soccer: A-League – Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC

Tuesday, 7.30pm (AEDT), Etihad Stadium, Melbourne

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Jan 23, 2016 as "Green energy". Subscribe here.

Richard Cooke
is a journalist and writer for television. He is The Saturday Paper's sports editor.

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