July 21st, 2010: IBO Cruiserweight Champion Danny “Green Machine, Green, 30-3, 27 KO’s, defended his title against the established and respected, Paul Briggs, 26-4, 18 KO’s. When you consider that Briggs gave Tomasz Adamek all he could handle and more in two fights, even knocking him to the floor, losing two majority decisions, the belief was that he would give Green hell.
Both fighters hailing from Australia fought in Perth, Western Australia, on a Pay Per View card as the headliner. Green came out of his corner and the two exchanged jabs. Green landed a glancing jab and down went Briggs and he remained down for the entire count of ten. It was only 29 seconds into the round and it was over just like that. This was more than suspicious.
Briggs is a warrior, a proven tough guy that battled through his own blood to continue to attack and pursue Adamek and it is hard to believe that Green is such a deadly puncher that he can knock out a quality opponent with a glancing jab. It happened and it has sparked an investigation.
As Briggs knelt there during the referee’s count, the look on the face of Green was similar to the look on the face of Muhammad Ali in the Sonny Liston rematch. Ali shouted: “Get up! Nobody’s going to believe this!” That was the message here. He knew he didn’t hit Briggs with a shot sufficient enough to end the night like that and there is nothing good that could come out of a victory like this because people are talking and they are not saying that Green is devastating. They are saying that the bout was a fixed fight. Briggs took a dive.
The mere speculation by the public is tarnishing the reputation of Green. Coming off of his best win, a first round stoppage of Roy Jones, JR., Green has a lot of money in his future and if he keeps winning, another shot at a big named opponent is not going to be that far away. Jones, JR., most likely out of sour grapes and a hope to push his rematch with Bernard Hopkins into a money-making event, contended that Green had loaded gloves when they faced. That he somehow used his hand wraps in a way where it gave him an unfair advantage over Jones and thus caused the early stoppage win. Most, and I’m included in this bunch, considered it pure nonsense and I am still of that belief, but compiled with this latest defense of the title, some may assume that his fight with Roy was not on the level either.
The bad press is around Green and his promoters. Green, from his reaction after the questionable knockdown said a lot. He wanted the fans to have a fight and didn’t want his opponent to quit, especially after 29 seconds. Now the IBO is investigating the matter, but without an admission by Briggs of a payoff, they can only chalk this up as a KO.
When you examine the knockout punch in slow motion, it’s hard to imagine how it devastated Briggs to the level it did. Briggs came in low and Green threw a jab, partially hitting the gloves of Briggs and then hitting him in the forehead. Briggs fell forward and looked coherent, but opted to remain down and didn’t get up until after the referee reached the 10 count.
There have been similar situations. Mike Tyson, when he knocked out Bruce Seldon for the WBA Heavyweight Title, got a lot of boos that night from the crowd because the punches that landed did not appear to be sufficient to cause the stoppage. A right hand that glanced on the top of Seldon’s head dropped him to the floor like a ton of bricks. He got up and a mediocre left hook ended the night. Tyson’s win was far more convincing then Green’s as an actual knockout, but I believe the situations to be identical. The fights were not fixed…but there is more to the story.
It was obvious that Briggs was a soft 192 pounds. Fighting most of his career at 175, the move up in weight may not have been one out of ambition but money. The Briggs-Green showdown was big business in Australia and they may have made him an offer he could not refuse.
Another thing to note is the time off in between fights. Briggs had not fought in over three years and judging by his appearance that night, he hasn’t been a gym rat. He most certainly would not be sharp going into the fight and it would take some rounds to get into the groove, but he never made it there and I don’t think that he wanted to make it there.
The biggest factor in the fight was Green’s power. It wasn’t the fact that he hit so hard. It was the fact that Briggs knew it and at this stage of his career, he probably didn’t want to get hurt too bad and opted to look for the first big punch of the night to take and drop. The shot he got hit with didn’t constitute it, but I guess it still worked. Briggs should not have been in the ring with Green after 3 years off.
Was the fight fixed? That is the question and many contend that it was and it sure did seem that way on the surface. If the fix was in, I don’t believe that any money exchanged hands behind closed doors to ensure that it went down in this manner. I think a man was brought back into the game because of money and he quickly realized that he did not want to fight and found the first exit. If the IBO does do an investigation and comes up with anything shady, it will be that Briggs made the decision to quit as soon as he could out of anxiety. Green’s reaction after the knockdown was one of disgust and that would not be the reaction of a guy aware of a fix in place.
Danny Green moves on and this situation will hopefully not hurt him that much. Briggs will have to be re-evaluated before he is allowed to fight again. I think this will be the last time that we will see him though. His heart for the sport appears to be long gone.