Joppy set to continue comeback; He defends WBA title tonight against Green


Boxer William Joppy has never been knocked out in the ring, but he knows what it's like to be knocked unconscious for longer than the 10-count.

"I was out of it for like 15 seconds," said Joppy, recalling a car accident in January, during which he suffered a severe neck injury.

"I saw the car, but he took his eyes off the road," said Joppy, whose van was backing out of Round One gym in Capitol Heights when the car slammed into him. "Next thing I know, I'm out. When you fracture your vertebrae in your neck, your arms go numb."

The accident occurred on the heels of the World Boxing Association middleweight champ's third-round knockout of Roberto Duran and two weeks before his scheduled title defense against Australia's Darren Obah.

Several months in the hospital helped the Silver Spring fighter recover.

He wore a neck brace while rehabilitating the injury until doctors cleared him to begin exercising in April and to begin sparring in June. Joppy's first sparring session was with former champion Simon Brown.

"I look at life now as being more precious than I did before. I got closer to God, closer to my kids," said Joppy, who will face Julio Cesar Green tonight at MCI Center in Washington. "I'm rededicated, and I'm just hyped and ready to fight again."

Joppy will put his 27-1-1 record (21 knockouts) on the line. It is the second fight of his comeback -- he had a first-round knockout of Napoleon Pitt in July.

It will be the third meeting between Joppy and Green (25-3, 17 KOs), who have split their two bouts. Joppy earned the last decision in January 1998.

"This guy's been on my back since [1997], it's time to get him off once and for all, and that's what's going to happen," Joppy said.

"I'm going to box and move. I'm going to give him a whole lot of angles and speed, confuse him. He's just a one-dimensional fighter that keeps coming, so he can't handle that. I'm going to give the crowd what they want by mixing it up. I'm going to be in front of him, but he won't be able to hit me."

Fact box

What: "Return of the Kings," 13-fight boxing card

Where: MCI Center.

When: Today (doors open at 4: 30, main event begins at 8)

Who: William Joppy (27-1-1, 21 KOs), Silver Spring, vs. Julio Cesar Green (25-3, 17 KOs), Dominican Republic, for Joppy's WBA middleweight title; Keith Holmes (33-2, 22 KOs), Washington, vs. Andrew Council (30-6-3, 20 KOs), Lanham, for Holmes' WBC middleweight title.

TV: Showtime, 8

Tickets: ($25-$300).

Baltimoreans on the card: George Barksdale (5-0-1, four KOs) vs. Sam Reese (2-2-1, two KOs), Hampton, Va., light heavyweights; Charles Clark (10-3-1, five KOs) vs. Doug Gray (14-5-1, seven KOs), Yonkers, N.Y., super welterweights.

Pub Date: 9/24/99

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