ANALYZING THE FALLOUT FROM GREEN BOLONTI
By TOM WATT on Aug 20 2015
Last night saw Danny Green’s triumphant return to the ring after nearly a three year hiatus as he beat Argentinian, Roberto Bolonti, at the Hisense Arena in Melbourne. The ever-popular ‘Green Machine’s comeback saw healthy ticket sales and early reports are that the Pay-Per-View sales are looking very good as well. Green’s popularity in Australia was never in doubt however and the real questions that had been asked and needed answering last night were a) Whether or not Green is still the fighter he once was and b) was that a PPV show?
As far as measuring Green’s performance, it seems nonsensical to criticise anyone who who has won by such obvious margins, all 3 judges at ringside gave Green every single round, with scores of 100-90 (x3). Unfortunately though, the wide margins said more about his opponent than Green's own performance.
That's not to say Green didn't turn in a good performance, it was a shutout fight that he controlled from start to finish and never looked likely to lose which is impressive given he has been inactive for the best part of 3 years. That ring-rust was visible during the opening rounds as the 'Green Machine' looked slightly nervous & mechanical but any doubts were history by the time the 3rd round ended and from there on it was a case of when and not if he would get the win.
Given his dominance and the relative ease in which he handled Bolonti last night it was a little disappointing to not see the killer instinct return that had given Green so many famous victories over the likes of Roy Jones Jr earlier in his career. Bolonti is a durable fighter and has gone the distance with Germany's Juergen Braehmer and England's Tony Bellew in the past but that is as complimentary as one can be to a fighter who came in with the aim of not being knocked out rather than sealing his first win outside of Argentina. Much had been built up around the quality of Bolonti but he offered almost nothing in offense despite being labelled a 'Maidana type' - presumably because he is also Argentinian.
The build up to Green's return has centred around the long-term goal of avenging his lop-sided defeat to Anthony Mundine and as soon as this fight finished that is exactly where attention shifted once more. There may be a desire from certain sections of the Australian public to see this fight again and given the magnitude of their first clash, broadcasters would be lining up around the block to get a piece of the action. However looking at it from a Boxing standpoint, it doesn't make much logical sense other than the nostalgia/celebrity factor and that's not the right reason to make a fight happen. See what Daniel Geale had to say about the fight when we spoke last week here.
Firstly, the pair are operating at totally different weight classes - the size difference between Mundine and Green is such that in any other country the mere suggestion that they fight each other would be laughed at. Unless Green can get himself down to Junior-Middleweight the fight won't happen. Weight divisions exist for a reason and there is no Boxing reason why Mundine (who holds the WBC Silver Title at 154 lbs) would want to fight a much, much bigger man. Green and his team have repeatedly said that the weight drain was a big factor in their first encounter (despite fighting at Super-Middleweight prior to the Mundine clash)and there is little hope for that to be less of an issue now Mundine is now down at Light-Middleweight with Green currently at Cruiserweight.
Secondly, and perhaps more pertinent for Team Green, is the fact that whilst the 'Green Machine' beat Bolonti comfortably last night, if he was to put in a similar performance against Mundine then he'd be in for a very long night - again.
Away from the Mundine rematch there are certainly other fights out there for Team Green to pursue and there's no question his loyal army of fans will be there to support him whoever he faces next - old foes Roy Jones Jr and Antonio Tarver both fought last weekend so perhaps there's something to be done there - Green's promotional pull all-but guarantees big fights will be available should he want them so we will all have to watch this space to see if that materialises..
With regards to last night's event being a worthy Pay-Per-View show, as I wrote prior to the fight (see here), this was a tune-up fight for Danny Green against a mediocre-at-best opponent while the under-card, the highlight of which was seeing two very promising young fighters (the Maloney brothers) move to 4-0, was good, it was by no means spectacular. Had the main event surprised and delivered true excitement start to finish then I would have happily eaten my words and rejoiced but unfortunately it was not to be and fans in attendance, at home and across Australia were dished up a fairly boring fight.
On the other hand it could be argued that the reported PPV buys numbers are very good and therefore it was a worthy PPV Show - simple supply and demand. But that is a very short-sighted view and asking the Australian public to pay $50 time and time again for mediocre fight cards is damaging to the long-term health of the sport as it increasingly marginalises the casual boxing fan that the sport so desperately needs to pull in. If you are pushing for a packed card full of big names and a pick 'em fight in the Main Event, then absolutely it makes sense to use Pay Per View to cover the purses of these fighters. But, if the under-card isn't exquisite and the Main Event isn't enough to carry it, then there's a line to be drawn between making a good profit and making sure your customers feel value for money so they will come back and buy from you again.
Boxing is at a stage where it needs to become more accessible to the masses if it is to truly catch up with other sports in this country as is happening in America with the Premier Boxing Series. Channel 9 have made steps in the right direction which is very promising and despite my criticism (see here) of the production, it is a step in the right direction. There can be no argument that last night's Main Event show featuring the knowledgeable Ben Damon and his experienced team was a much slicker and aesthetically enjoyable production but that does not warrant the $50 price tag on it's own - if Channel 9, Fox Sports or any other broadcaster can take steps towards putting together that kind of product then Boxing in Australia will be full steam ahead.
1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
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