For the second time this year, the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart Sports and Fitness Program hosted an Installation Management Command-Europe Boxing Invitational and for the second time, local first-time, walk-on boxers stole the show.
Micheal Green and Kenneth Rice had never strapped on a pair of boxing gloves, let alone step into a boxing ring to do battle, but both gentlemen squared-off in the third of the six-bout boxing invitational Nov. 21 at the Patch Barracks Fitness Center.
“I entered the competition on a dare and will say boxing is a lot tougher than it looks,” said Kenneth Rice, a Navy Sailor assigned to U.S. European Command, who entered in the heavy weight category.
When Rice’s opponent, Micheal Green, was introduced as an Army Soldier also assigned to EUCOM; the bout quickly became an Army vs. Navy rivalry.
The first round was close, with both boxers landing some solid punches and moving quickly on their feet; however, Rice held the edge after the first round and that seemed to motivate him in the second as he sent a series of torpedoes at Green, who just couldn’t muster any offense that could penetrate Rice’s defensive blockade. The two boxers seemed to tire toward the end of the second round.
“I was really tired at the end of the second round and welcomed the ring of the bell ending the round,” said Green, who trailed Rice after two rounds.
The third round seemed to mirror the second as Rice pounded away at Green and it seemed this Army vs. Navy rivalry was going to end like the previous seven Navy/Army football games: Navy wins.
However, mid-way through the third round, Green called in the artillery and sent a series of relentless big-gun rounds at Rice, who seemed to be taken by surprise.
“I felt comfortable going into the third round knowing I had won the first two rounds. I just wanted to stay on my feet and finish the fight,” said Rice. “The series of punches he threw at me toward the end of the third really caught me off guard.”
Green continued sending rounds at Rice, and as the round neared its end, Green sent in the block buster.
“I knew I was losing the fight and felt I had to do something, so I started throwing everything I had at him in hopes of landing a knockout punch,” said Green, who connected with a solid left hook to Rice’s chin. Rice was able to keep his feet, but not his wits about him long enough to convince the referee not to call the fight.
Although this year’s Navy vs. Army football game ended in a Navy victory, Green was able to overcome Rice’s torpedo assault with an array artillery rounds for an Army win in the ring.
“I have to hand it to Green, he stayed with it and had enough left at the end to make it count,” said Rice.