The Great Contender

How Mitch 'Blood' Green Got His Groove Back

For six straight weeks, Green was a fixture at Gleason's. "The people in the gym loved it," said Post. "When Mitch comes in, it's a completely different sound. You know there's a terror here! Fighters yell, 'Yeah, give him another right hand, Mitch!' They get excited when he trains."

A couple of the boxers, including Sherif Younan and his little boy, Junior, who had been running around the gym wearing a Mitch "Blood" Green T-shirt, made the six-hour drive to Virginia for the bout. "I had to go," Younan said. "He and my son are friends." Green didn't disappoint. He took his trademark toothpick out of his mouth, slipped it in his sock, said "No problem," and pounded out a 12-round decision.

The win attracted little attention, apart from a Washington Times story begging for another Tyson-Green bout. When Green returned to New York, there wasn't exactly a ticker-tape parade waiting for him, but the fighters and trainers at Gleason were happy to see him, and they all huddled around to get a glimpse of his title belt.

"You have to understand," said Silverglade, "this is a guy who lives to talk, who always finds something to brag about. For Mitch, the ego is very important. This gives him the perfect ammunition. He lives for this. It wasn't a big money fight, but it was something."

Green walked around hugging everybody, posing for pictures like it was old times. Younan's son wrapped the belt around his body and ran around with his arms raised. Then someone yelled out, "Tyson's next!" and Green turned around and suddenly it was 1988 all over again. "Yeah, I want Tyson!" he screamed. "I want Cicely Tyson!"

Finally, an old-timer watching the whole scene declared, "Goddammit! Mitch Green got himself a championship belt!" And everybody laughed, including Green, because it was all so ridiculous.

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