David Green has this little toy gun and he pointed it right at the camera and he put on this mean look under the overhanging brim of his brown, cowboy hat.
"'Old the gun up a bit, Davey," said the British photographer, who was working like crazy to get a shot that his paper could run next to the naked girls and babies falling out of windows.
Green by now was in his cowboy gunfighter's stance, feet spread wide, the gun in his left hand with the right hand poised above the hammer to fan it the way Matt Dillon did a jillion times on television.
"'Old it, Davey, 'Old it there, I'll move over 'ere so we can get the gun better," the photog said.
Why, one might ask, is a British fighter wearing a cowboy hat and pointing a little toy gun at a photographer in a motel parking lot?
"What's the angle?" one asked.
"A Big Shooter for Sugar Ray,'" the photog headlined.
What David Green needs Monday night is not a little toy gun.
A baseball bat would be helpful.
Save for his immediate family and his trainer-manager, who have investments emotional and financial in this nice British lad, everyone believes David Green will get his block knocked off Monday night, to say nothing of his cowboy hat.
Leonard is undefeated, the darling of the ring, a marvelous boxer of such great defensive and offensive skills that there is a tendency to overlook how strong, how quick -- yea, verily, how mean -- this transistorized Ali is.
Prizefighting is the hardest game. It asks everything of a man, everything physical and mental. As charming as Leonard is in a tuxedo with that megawatt smile, he is a hunter in the ring. On the prowl for Green already, he has called the Briton a "face fighter," which is an insult derived from a belief that Green fights by attacking a man's gloves with his face. Leonard is working up an active dislike for a man he has never met. The square jungle, as Leonard calls the ring, demands that of a hunter who also is the hunted.
Jimmy Cannon once asked Tommy Farr a good question. This was in 1937 when Farr, a fresh-faced kid, was about to fight Joe Louis, who spread fear by breathing. Cannon was a sportswriter who asked Farr the question everyone wondered about.
"Are you afraid?" Cannon said.
Farr was flat on his back on a training table, pulling at a cigar, until he heard Cannon's words. Farr sprang bolt upright and grabbed Cannon by the shirt.
"Afraid of him?" Farr said. "What the hell am I -- a dressmaker? I'm a fighter, too."
Farr lost a decision in 15 rounds to Louis.
As England's Tommy Farr came unafraid, so does David Green, the son of a Cambridgeshire root farmer.
"A face fighter'?" Green said. "No, that doesn't bother me, that he says that. I don't take it as an insult. I belive that is what they honestly think about me. But we shall see, won't we, the night of the 31st?"
Green said this softly. He is 26 years old, but he has the pink glow in his face of a teen-ager. Were it not the edges of his nose and brow being rounded by 13 years of fighting, Green could pass for a schoolboy still working the potatoes and sugar beets of his father's 100-acre farm.
Until it is fight time.
In the ring, Sugar Ray Leonard is not a fellow you'd take home to meet your mother. He is the sweetest assasin. David Green will make these silly poses for a photographer because he is a nice guy trying to sell tickets. A current heavyweight champion, John Tate, gave Green the cowboy hat as a souvenir of his time working out with Tate in Knoxville 10 days ago. Everyone likes David Green.
"Outside the ring, I'm a nice guy," Green said.
"In there, something switches me on to be mean," he said. "I like it. I enjoy it. When you're in there, it's him or you. This fellow is trying to do the same thing to you that you're trying to do to him. Knock him out. I like to do that. It feels good to knock a fellow out."
Twenty-six times in his 31 victories, Green has felt that knockout good. He has lost twice, once stopped in the 11th round two years ago by then-champion Carlos Palomino in a war of a fight that made Green's worldwide reputation as a banger who will take a punch to deliver one.
Such a reputation is misleading, Green insists, saying, "I'm a boxfighter. I can box a little, and I can fight a lot. I don't take punches. You have to miss the right ones. You can't duck them all though, for, after all, you can't take a bath without getting wet, now can you?"
Green says he will test Leonard's chin. "No one has ever hit him the way I will," said the challenger, the words an echo of every challenger's promise.
The farm boy raised the right arm made strong by years of delivering manure to fertilize the crops.
"I'll 'it 'im with me muck spreader," Green said.