Is Danny Green a force to be reckoned with again in the cruiserweight division?
Earlier today, in what was billed as Green's final bout in his hometwon of Perth, the Australian looked every bit the same fighter who knocked out Roy Jones Jr in the opening stanza in December 2009, scoring a 5th Round TKO over outgunned journeyman Danny Santiago.
Speed was the key factor in Green's win as Santiago couldn't cope with the larger man's crisp, rapid-fire blows.
Danny Green, who weighed 89.5 (199 lbs) and 90.3kg (197¼), respectively, for his most recent bouts against Tarver and Wlodarczyk last year, tipped the scales at a svelte 84.4kg (186 lbs) for Wednesday's bout - 11 pounds lighter than he was in his most recent fight and 13 lbs trimmer than he was against Tarver a year ago.
Green's trainer, Angelo Hyder, hinted before the bout, "You'll notice how much speed he's picked up, back to what he looked at when he fought at light-heavyweight against Roy Jones."
And Santiago, who weighed in at a career high 84.5kg (186.3 lbs), certainly didn't make things an easier on himself.
The popular Australian, looking more like an action hero than a 39 year old veteran, scored four knockdowns in thoroughly dominating his foe.
Santiago started aggressively, flurrying in the fight's opening seconds. But Green roared back, rocking Santiago with his first punch, a wicked left hook.
Santiago's first trip to the canvas came via a hard, two-punch left-hand combination to the head and body. The body shot was a 'thing of beauty' as Green stepped in and drove a sharp left hook/uppercut to Santiago's liver.
The 'Green Machine,' sensing a stoppage, manufactured two more knockdowns in the fourth and another in the fifth, thanks to a vicious body campaign. The brave and courageous Bronx native, who had defiantly survived three knockdowns, was unable to continue after tasting the canvas the fourth time.
There's no word on whether the Australian fight legend will continue with his career. However, given his performance earlier today and his rock-star-like status in his native Australia, Danny Green should have no problem getting big fights there.
Green had been hoping for a rematch with longtime rival and fellow Australian Anthony Mundine but the latter is seeking more lucrative opportunities in lower weight classes.
With prospects for a Mundine rematch very dim, retirement for Green remains a possibility.
Green vs Santiago Knockdown Highlights on Yahoo Australia
Danny Green... A Look Back
Green stopped Eric Lucas to win the interim WBC super middleweight title in 2003 but would lose a razor-thin majority decision to Markus Beyer in 2005 in an attempt to obtain the full crown. And after reeling off three more wins, Green dropped a unanimous decision to fellow countryman Anthony Mundine in a WBA Super Middleweight Title Eliminator in 2006.
But persistence eventually paid off for Danny Green. After the loss to Mundine, Green would win ten consecutive bouts over the next five years besting the likes of Otis Griffin (then 18-1-2), Stipe Drews (then 32-1), RoyJones Jr (then 54-5) and BJ Flores (then 24-0).
Perhaps the biggest moment in the Australian's career was his thrilling first round knockout of Roy Jones Jr in December 2009. Although the legendary Jones was unmistakably a bit faded at the time, the bout unfolded only four months after Jones' impressive win over Jeff Lacy - a fight in which many believed Roy had successfully 'turned back the clock.'
After the Jones bout, the Australian successfully defended his IBO Cruiserweight title three more times before suffering back-to-back knockout loses to Antonio Tarver and Krzysztof Wlodarczyk last year.
Referencing his late lead on the scorecards (97-93 twice and 96-93) following his knockout loss to Poland's Krzysztof Wlodarczyk on November 30, 2011, the WBC Cruiserweight Champion, Danny Green recently stated:
"In my last fight, I was a round away from becoming a world champion for the fourth time, [and] taking the cruiserweight title from Krzysztof Wlodarczyk.
"My form in this preparation still suggests I'm not fighting past my use-by date."
With the impressive win over a courageous albeit over-matched journeyman, Danny Green vaults back into FightSaga's Cruiserweights Top 10 List.
FightSaga Cruiserweight Rankings, July 25, 2012
CHAMPION: Yoan Pablo Hernandez
Record: 26-1-0 (13 KOs)
Titles: RING, IBF
1. Denis Lebedev
Record: 24-1-0 (18 KOs)
2. Marco Huck
Record: 34-2-1 (25 KOs)
3. Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
Record: 46-2-1 (33 KOs)
4. Steve Cunningham
Record: 24-4-0 (12 KOs)
5. Ola Afolabi
Country: United Kingdom
Record: 19-2-4 (9 KOs)
6. Antonio Tarver
Record: 29-6-1 (20 KOs)
7. Lateef Kayode
Record: 18-0-1 (14 KOs)
8. Giacobbe Fragomeni
Record: 29-3-2 (12 KOs)
9. Mateusz Masternak
Record: 27-0-0 (20 KOs)
10. Danny Green
Record: 32-5, (27 KOs)