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11 May, 2011

A brush with Mitch "Blood" Green

by Gus Ramsey

   In 1993 I was working at the NBC affiliate in Orlando. Our anchor, Marc Middleton, had a weekly bit called Marc's Monday Matchup, where viewers would send in challenges for Marc and we would take them on in those challenges.
   One day Marc gets a call from a boxing promoter who is offering a chance to spar with Mitch "Blood" Green as a Monday Matchup. Yes, the Mitch Green who fought Mike Tyson in a ring in 1986 and in a Harlem street in 1988. But, the potential for a good bit was more important than any accidental punch that could knock Marc into la-la land, so Mark accepts.
   When we get to the "ring" it's in the middle of a big bar in Daytona Beach. There are 4 actual fights on the card to go along with Marc and Mitch's exhibition. The dressing room for the fighters is the office of the bar manager and it's not much bigger than 20x12.
   About an hour before the festivities begin all the 9 fighters, the trainers, Marc, me and our photographer are in this room. Kevin Rooney, a former trainer for Mike Tyson, is among those present. So, shortly after entering the room, Mitch starts messing with Rooney, asking him when Tyson is going to give him his money. (Mitch claimed that he never got all his money for his fight with Tyson.) Rooney was smart enough to realize that Mitch was just running at the mouth and wasn't interested in engaging Mitch in an actual conversation. But Mitch persisted. "Where's my money??! Tell Mike I want my money. He owes me. You know he owes me. Tell Mike I want my money! Tell him I!!"
There's one number Mitch doesn't have in his rolodex
   Well, after a minute or two of this, one of the other trainers pipes up and says to Mitch, "If you want your damn money so bad, why don't you call Tyson and tell him to give it to you."
   Without skipping a beat Mitch replies, "Cuz I don't have the number for the h@*o hotline!"
   While Mitch was laughing at his quip, the trainer didn't think it so funny and moved in and jabbed Mitch on the nose, hitting him flush in his wrap-around sunglasses. The glasses cracked and cut Mitch. When "Blood" saw blood, he lost it and went after the trainer. So now the nine fighters, the 4 or 5 trainers, and 3 dudes from a local TV station are in the middle of a donnybrook in a bar managers office. I thought about working my way to the mass of bodies and try to play peace maker. Just then a middleweight fighter, who was built like an Adonis, grabbed some guy by the shoulders, lifted him and moved him like a crane moving trash off a pile. It was at that moment I decided to let the guys settle themselves down. Who was I to intervene? It wasn't my quarrel. Meanwhile, Marc is in full blown anchorman mode and asking our photographer, Ricky, if he is rolling on the action. It may have been the only time in Ricky's life he wasn't. The problem was rolling on the action required Ricky hitting the record button on the camera and when you are too scared to move, that includes your fingers.
  After the dust settles Mitch says he's fine and is cool to go ahead with the sparring. Marc, however,  is a little concerned that Mitch is too amped and may have a Tyson flashback when he gets in the ring. Not helping things is Marc putting on his Don King wig when we get in the ring. (anything for a good bit!) They spar for 3 rounds, thankfully Mitch maintains his composure and they put on a good show.
  I'm not sure if Mitch ever got his money from Tyson, but I got moneys worth of entertainment that night and a story I never get tired of telling.

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