When Ian Green got hit with a hard right hand by Vaughn Alexander, it awakened something inside the middleweight contender early in the sixth round of their fight Saturday night in Miami.

Green held, regained his composure and got through that troublesome moment. The Paterson, New Jersey native then took the fight to Alexander in the seventh round to let his veteran opponent know that he wasn’t about to squander his WBA ranking and any higher-profile opportunities that might await the emerging Green in 2024.

The 30-year-old Green eventually caught Alexander with a perfectly placed left to the body that sent Alexander to one knee late in the eighth round at Casino Miami Jai-Alai. Green won their scheduled 10-rounder by knockout when Alexander failed to beat referee Samuel Burgos’ count.  

“Like I said before, man, I’m a dog,” Green said during his post-fight interview in the ring. “The plan was to box, but he caught me with a good shot, so I had to let him know, ‘Nah, you not just gonna walk me down.’ I had to switch it up and the result happened.”

Green (18-2, 12 KOs) is the WBA’s ninth-rated contender for its middleweight champion, Erislandy Lara (29-3-3, 17 KOs). The Cuban southpaw is expected to defend his title against former junior welterweight and welterweight champ Danny Garcia (37-3, 21 KOs) in his next bout, which would leave Green to test himself against another contender in his first fight of 2024.

Alexander Castro and his team called Saturday night for a rematch with Green, who beat Colombia’s Castro (14-1, 11 KOs) by split decision in his previous fight, an entertaining 10-rounder January 21 at Casino Miami Jai-Alai. Green noted that he fought through a nasty cut over his left eye and still defeated Castro on two scorecards (96-94, 96-94, 94-96).

“Listen, I told Don [King] whoever he put in front of me, I’ll beat him,” said Green, who has won six straight fights. “They put him in front of me, Castro, I beat him with one eye, easy. Anybody they put in front of me, I’ll beat him. I want a world title. No offense, he not a champion. I want the best. I want to fight names. I want a number one contender. If he miraculously wake up in the morning and he the world champion, of course I’ll fight him. But he not. I beat him. He’s in the past. I want the best.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.