Mitch Green (born January 13, 1957) is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1980 to 2005. He is best known for going the distance with Mike Tyson (20-0, 19 KOs), who was undefeated in 1986, and for his later street brawl with Tyson in 1988. A toothpick dangling between his lips became his trademark at any public appearance.
Green grew up on 175th St. between Anthony and Clay Aves. “I was shot twice when I was 17. But it had to have been the will of God that I wasn’t hurt” said Green. The first time Green was shot it was with a .22 magnum. The bullet passed through his right wrist, but the slug missed arteries, bones and nerves and Green was fighting again a few weeks later. The second time he sustained a graze wound, when a slug slashed the right side of his head, leaving a short, puffy scar. Ironically, it was the gunfights that led Green to less lethal boxing. Later he moved to Jamaica, Queens, where he reportedly quarreled with another Jamaica resident and talented amateur boxer Carl Williams.
As an amateur he won the New York Golden Gloves four times (1976, 1977, 1979, and 1980) and compiled a record of 64 wins and 7 losses, with 51 wins by knock-out. Green won the 1976 Sub-Novice Heavyweight Championship and the 1977, 1979 and 1980 Heavyweight Open Championships. Green defeated Anthony Zampelli to win the 1976 title. In 1977 Green defeated Guy Casale for the title. In 1979 Green defeated Ralph Fucci for the Championship and in 1980 Green defeated Merlin Castellanos for the title. He suffered a decisive cut loss in the 1978 tournament, preventing him from winning a fifth Golden Gloves title.
He was also a two-time Intercity Golden Gloves champion. In 1977 he won the title by KO in round one over Calvin Cross and again in 1979 by a decision over William Hosea.”I hit him with double rights twice, and he had to go down. But he didn’t. He refused. I couldn’t believe it. And I put a couple of left hooks right on the money. IT WAS A WAR.”
Mitch lost against Russian boxing great Igor Vysotsky in a 1978 matchup, and was considered a prospect for the 1980 Olympic Games (held in Moscow), but the U.S. boycotted the event, and Green also lost to Marvis Frazier in the quarterfinals of the Olympic Trials that year. He did, however, in the finals of the Eastern Regionals, manage to beat perennial contender Woody Clark.
In amateur competition Green also lost bouts to future world champions Greg Page and Tony Tubbs, though he did manage to beat Tubbs in the 1978 Sports Festival. Surprisingly, he also lost to future cruiserweight champion Alfonzo Ratliff in a 1980 New York−Chicago intercity matchup.
After a comeback win over Percell Davis he lost a ten-round decision to Mike Tyson in 1986 on HBO, in his most famous fight. In the buildup to the fight Green had complained bitterly of the disparity in purses between him and Tyson when a day before the fight, at weigh-ins, Green learned he was being paid $30,000 in comparison to Tyson’s $200,000 for fight alone + $1 million deal for HBO live broadcast of 3 fights. He threatened to pull out of the contest, finally settling for being released from his managerial contract with King’s stepson Carl in return for his short purse. Green put up a stubborn showing during the fight despite losing a ten-round unanimous decision, and at one point managed to knock one of Tyson’s gold teeth out, which landed in front of writer Phil Berger.
A week later Green was released from his contract by manager Carl King, who was criticized the previous week by Green for mishandling his career.