Danny Green once again resurrected his up and down career, this time with a 12-round win over Shane Cameron in their catchweight fight Wednesday evening (local time) in Melbourne, Australia.
The bout was billed as an IBO Cruiserweight title fight, though came at a capped weight. Cameron weighed 195 lb., while the naturally smaller Green came in at 192 lb. The referee was Pat Russell, who struggled throughout the evening to maintain control.
Green sprinted out to an early start as Cameron just couldn't get on track. The bout promised fireworks, but only came in singular moments. A cut over the left eye of Cameron came about as the result of a clash of heads, which occurred frequently early on as much of the action took place on the inside.
Referee Pat Russell did his best to let the two fight, but it led to both fighters getting away with a bit too much. Green's response to being clinched early on was a rabbit punch that went undisciplined by the third man.
Fouls aside, enough right hands landed for Green to receive credit as a born-again fighter. The former super middleweight and light heavyweight spent large portions bullying the naturally bigger Cameron, who came down from heavyweight for a fight that was a huge attraction on the domestic level.
"I trained hard with sparring partners stronger than Shane Cameron," Green revealed afterward, though not as insult towards his opponent. "I did that to know that if I could survive at the end of a camp like that, I could survive anything in the ring tonight."
That almost didn't happen. Cameron finally broke through in the middle rounds, a point when Green's gas tank began to dramatically empty out. It was only enough for the New Zealander to slightly narrow the gap on the cards, as he was unable to truly capitalize on a golden opportunity.
Ever the veteran, Green dug deep to gain a second wind and never looked back. The final four rounds all belonged to the Aussie, picking up steam with each passing frame.
A transitional ninth and tenth round paved the way for a dramatic moment in the championship rounds. Green corner sensed that Cameron was spent after ten rounds, and came flying off of his stool at the start of the 11th round.
Cameron was in serious trouble as Green connected with a series of head shots. A knockdown could have easily been called as Cameron clinched for dear life before throwing his weight into Green as the two crashed to the canvas. The referee instead wiped off Cameron's gloves and summoned both fighters to center ring, demanding they carry themselves in a manner befitting of a championship fight.
Green obliged and punched his way to the finish line. That Cameron managed to last the full twelve considering what took place, turned out to be his moral victory for the evening.
In reality, moral victory is a nice way of saying you lost.
Scores of 119-109, 116-112 and 116-113 made it official, as Green wins for the second time after threatening to call it a career a year ago.
The win advances his record to 33-5 (28KO), though he was far more humbled by the reception given throughout the evening.
"Do you know how hard that was?" Green rhetorically asked after the contest. "Australia, I flippin' love ya, all of you who are are and those (at home) watching me."
The win is easily his biggest since an upset over previously unbeaten BJ Flores in Nov. '10.
Cameron came into the fight on the heels of his biggest win, a 4th round knockout of former heavyweight contender Monte Barrett in July. The 35-year old has alternated between heavyweight and cruiserweight throughout his career, but had no answers on this particular evening as he falls to 29-3 (22KO).
It appears as though Cameron has hit his ceiling as a fighter, though Green praised his opponent for pushing him to the limit.
"I've taken on the best fighters of the world. I've just taken on a heavyweight. It's an amazing feeling to have another world title belt, and to win it in a city that has adopted me as one of its own."
The win caps a huge bounceback year for Green, who suffered back-to-back knockout losses in an abysmal 2011 campaign. A 9th round stoppage loss to Antonio Tarver has since come into question given the American's subsequently testing positive for a banned substance following a 12-round draw with Lateef Kayode earlier this year.
Such suspicions have yet to gravitate beyond the speculative level. However, there was nothing questionable about last November's knockout loss to cruiserweight champ Krzystzof Wlodarcyzk. Green put up a brave effort, but was eventually dropped and stopped in the 11th round and - a few months from his 39th birthday at the time - was forced to give serious consideration to retirement.
Having now won two straight and posting a huge win over Cameron, the "R" word once again surfaced. The question was posed not to suggest this is as good as it can get for Green, but rather if he wishes to go out on a high note.
As only a fighter can, Green answered the question as he saw fit.
"I'm going to be an Aussie and get the cans on with my boys," Green declared, already in full celebratory mood and for good reason.