Updated: June 19, 2010, 6:12 AM ET

Shot at title a long time coming for Green

Rafael By Dan Rafael

Allan Green was 23-0 and steaming his way toward a super middleweight title shot as one of boxing's hottest contenders when he was seriously derailed by a unanimous decision loss to Edison Miranda in March 2007.

Making his HBO debut on a Miguel Cotto undercard, Green had dropped Miranda in the eighth round but didn't have the energy to put him away. Miranda stormed back to drop Green twice in the 10th and final round and came away with a clear unanimous decision.

A few months later, Green had 85 percent of his colon removed because of an ongoing problem he had been dealing with even before the Miranda fight. Clearly Green should not have fought Miranda, but he didn't pull out because of the opportunity to fight on HBO. Green has maintained he was not even at 50 percent strength for the fight, yet he made it to the final bell and had his moments.

Green is 6-0 since the loss, but it's taken him three years to get back into position to fight for a world title, which he'll do against Andre Ward on Saturday (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET/PT) at the Oracle Arena in Ward's hometown of Oakland, Calif.

The bout, the final one of Group Stage 2 of the Super Six World Boxing Classic modified round-robin tournament, marks Green's debut in the event.

Getting into the tournament was not easy. Green came on board as an alternate to replace Jermain Taylor, who was knocked out by Arthur Abraham in the first stage in the fall before formally withdrawing earlier this year.

Green (29-1, 20 KOs) was miffed that he wasn't among the original inclusions in the tournament, which also includes Ward, Abraham, Mikkel Kessler, Carl Froch and Andre Dirrell.

Before the tournament was put together, Green and Taylor fought on the same Showtime card. Taylor was knocked out in the 12th round by Froch in the main event, while Green destroyed Carlos De Leon Jr. in two rounds on the undercard.

But Taylor, the former middleweight champion, was a much bigger name and he got in when Showtime put the event together.

"I think I belonged in the tournament originally," said Green, 30, of Tulsa, Okla. "As far as Dirrell goes, I don't think he was ready. The thing I didn't understand was Jermain Taylor getting into the tournament. No offense against Jermain, but we fought on the same show and I won my fight and he lost his fight. I got pushed back to [Showtime's lower-level series] 'ShoBox,' and he got put into the tournament. That's what I didn't understand."

But now Green is in, although he comes into the tournament at a bit of a disadvantage when he faces Ward (21-0, 13 KOs), who is making his first title defense.

Without the benefit of a Group Stage 1 bout, Green has zero points. He needs to pick up the two points that go with winning (three if he scores a knockout) if he is to have a reasonable shot at making the semifinals following Group Stage 3. Ward will clinch a semifinal berth with a victory.

"I'm not coming into this tournament thinking about points," said Green, who will face titleholder Kessler in his next fight regardless of Saturday's outcome. "I'm thinking about victories. With victories come points. I don't want to put any more pressure on myself than I already have. The only points I'm worried about are the points in the fight. And that's up to the judges. So I can't worry about that. I can't put pressure on myself like that."

Ward has two points based on his title win in the opening round against Kessler, who claimed another title by beating Froch in the second stage.

Even though Ward, the betting favorite to win the tournament, is positioned well in the standings, he's a fanatical trainer and said he is not taking Green lightly.

"I think a lot of people think I'm coming in here really well rested and really enjoying the fact that I've got a championship," Ward said. "But it's been all work. For me, I try to say as little as possible before a fight. I'm not going to stand there and get pushed down or get bullied. but at the end of the day I just shut my mouth, work hard and take care of business. So that's what I plan on doing."

Lopez-Marquez in the works

Chris Cozzone/Fightwireimages.comRafael Marquez might be assigned to defend Mexico's honor if a fight with Puerto Rico's Juan Manuel Lopez is finalized.

Although Top Rank promoter Bob Arum and Gary Shaw couldn't finalize an August rematch between Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan, they haven't been stopped from trying to work out a Showtime fight that would pit featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez and Rafael Marquez on Sept. 18 at Las Vegas' MGM Grand.

The match, which would instantly become part of boxing's traditional Puerto Rico (Lopez) vs. Mexico (Marquez) rivalry, would take place on the weekend of Mexican Independence Day.

"The only thing disputing it is the kid holding it up," Arum said, referring to Bernabe Concepcion, whom Lopez would have to defeat July 10 on Showtime. "If he whips 'Juanma,' goodbye Marquez fight. But otherwise, I'd say it would happen. It's a huge weekend for Mexicans and a really good fight."

Marquez, who is coming off his third-round knockout win in May against Israel Vazquez in the fourth fight of their epic rivalry, would not have an interim bout.

Although Arum said he and the Lopez camp want the fight, he has yet to finalize with Showtime. Shaw, who co-promotes Marquez with Fernando Beltran, Arum's close associate, said their side already has agreed to terms.

"I have an offer on the table from Showtime, and I have accepted the offer. We are good to go on our side," Shaw said. "I think we knock 'Juanma' out. I don't think he's as talented as everyone thinks he is. He's not Trinidad or even Cotto, and I have all the confidence in Marquez. He's always been underrated and in the shadow of his brother [lightweight champ Juan Manuel Marquez]."

Golden Boy to celebrate Mexico's bicentennial

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

There is usually a Hispanic-themed pay-per-view card in mid-September to coincide with Mexican Independence Day, and this year won't be any different. As Mexico readies for its Sept. 16 bicentennial, Golden Boy is planning a Sept. 18 split-site PPV with fights from Mexico City and either Las Vegas or Los Angeles, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said. He said the company is planning several days of festivities because of the significance of Mexico's 200th birthday.

In the works, Schaefer said, is a mariachi festival from the U.S. site a few days before the card, a dinner open to fans featuring many of Mexico's all-time boxing greats and a Telefutura card the night before the pay-per-view.

If junior middleweight Saul Alvarez (32-0-1, 24 KOs), the rising Mexican star now with Golden Boy, comes through July 10 against Luciano Cuello in Mexico, he'd be on the card from the U.S. site. Junior welterweight Victor Ortiz could also be on.

The show's card is still fluid, but Schaefer said he wants to include at least two title bouts. Golden Boy has ties to German promoter Universum, and Schaefer said fights being tossed around include junior lightweight titlist Vitali Tajbert against Daniel Ponce De Leon, interim middleweight titlist Sebastian Zbik against Sergio Mora and light heavyweight titleholder Jurgen Brahmer against Librado Andrade.

"These fights aren't set, but they're the kinds of fights we're talking about," he said.


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