IF THERE IS one thing boxing history has taught us, it's that beating the man who beat the man doesn't necessarily make you The Man. If that were the case, opponents would have lined up for a shot at
after the burly Irishman finished off the remnants of
manager would have fielded a torrent of inquiries from representatives of other fighters after his guy battered the popular
But IBO cruiserweight champion Danny Green (28-3, 25 KOs) is a notch, and maybe even two, above McBride and Gomez. He's a major box-office draw in his native Australia, is coming off a one-round stoppage of faded superstar Roy Jones Jr. in Sydney, and has that admittedly fringe title to dangle under the nose of Bernard "The Executioner" Hopkins (50-5-1, 32 KOs), another icon of American boxing whose scheduled rematch with Jones on March 13 was scuttled when Green needed only 122 seconds to do unto RJJ what McBride did to Tyson and Gomez to Gatti.
Hopkins, who turns 45 on Jan. 15, easily outpointed Enrique Ornelas on Dec. 2 at the Liacouras Center in what was supposed to be a tuneup for a second go at Jones, who outpointed him in 1993. Now that the kibosh has been put on that, B-Hop is willing to consider a Plan B. And that alternative is looking increasingly like a trip Down Under to swap punches with Green.
"Nobody's mentioning Danny Green but me," Hopkins said. "I'd get on a plane for 13 hours if that's what it took.
"Why not piggyback off [Green's wipeout of Jones]? I can see the promotion now: Can Danny Green do the same thing to Bernard Hopkins that he did to Roy Jones?"
Actually, Hopkins isn't the only one mentioning Green. Green, who was in Rancho Mirage, Calif., on Dec. 12 to catch Sydney-based Armenian Vic Darchinyan score a second-round knockout of Tomas Rojas, and Green's U.S. promoter, Gary Shaw, also are beating the drums for what would be Hopkins' first fight on foreign soil since he scrapped to a draw with Segundo Mercado on Dec. 17, 1994, in Quito, Ecuador.
"At this stage of Bernard's career, he's going to follow the scent of the money," Shaw opined. "He knows what HBO is willing to pay for him to fight [Chad] Dawson, and it won't be enough to get a deal done. I don't believe he'll get [WBA heavyweight champion] David Haye in the ring, whether it's here or there [England], because after Haye fights and wins his mandatory against John Ruiz, he'll be forced into a rematch with [Nicolay] Valuev. So that fight's off the table, too.
"So it comes down to [Tomasz] Adamek or Danny Green. I don't think Bernard and Adamek would bring the payday or the recognition that Bernard would want."
What about IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute, whose name also has been floated? Bute, a Romanian who has lived in Montreal for 6 1/2 years, is as much a draw in French-speaking Canada as Green is in Australia.
"You saw how Ali Funeka got robbed in Canada [Joan Guzman won a highly controversial majority decision], so I think I'll remind Bernard of that during the negotiation," Shaw said. "And I don't think going down in weight [to 168 pounds] to fight Bute makes as much sense for Bernard as going up to fight Danny Green. Besides, Bute didn't bleep up Bernard's fight with Jones. Danny Green did, so there's the revenge factor."
Green said Hopkins could expect an enthusiastic reception in Australia.
"The Australian people love him," Green said. "The Aussie boxing community would be so excited to have a bloke like him come down."
So, if it happened, what kind of a fight would it be?
"I come to destroy my opponents," Green said. "Over 90 percent of my fights have ended in knockouts. My style is no secret.
"Bernard is a defensive genius. He's going to try to shut my offense down and hold out for a decision. I don't think he can do it, but there's only one way to find out, isn't there?"
Leigh Simons, president of Leigh Simons Productions, has made a career of making boxing documentaries. He's produced 20-plus half-hour preview shows of major fights for HBO, and he's currently working on a feature-length documentary, "Puncher to Promoter," about Oscar De La Hoya slated for release in 2010.
Simons was in town a few weeks ago shooting footage of De La Hoya's minority partner in Golden Boy Promotions, Hopkins, who he expected would get past Ornelas and move on to the proposed rematch with Jones.
Hopkins cleared his hurdle. Jones didn't, which left Simons with a lot of behind-the-scenes film that has been rendered useless.
"[Jones' defeat] threw a wrench into the gift that could have been given to boxing fans," Simons said. "Jones-Hopkins II would have made for a compelling story. To tell the tale of two great fighters meeting again after 17 years would have been intriguing." *