Aaron "Gorilla” Green: Punching faces and clocks

  • Article by: AMELIA RAYNO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 21, 2013 - 12:30 AM

In the moments before Gorilla entered the boxing ring, he paces the floor, terrified for his future.

A four-months-old Achilles’ tendon injury is hurting, much more so than he is letting on to anyone outside his inner circle.

“I was going in there blind,” said Aaron “Gorilla” Green, a gentle giant inside a hulking 6-4, 275-pound frame. “I didn’t want to show it, but … I didn’t know what to expect.”

But Green, an up-and-coming boxer in Minnesota at age 31, has become accustomed to chaos. He takes a deep breath and heads toward the spotlighted entryway, knowing this is just another exacting leg in the journey — one impassioned man’s struggle to make his mark in an industry that routinely chews up and spits out its eager participants.

At Hinckley’s Grand Casino Friday Night Fights this past weekend, one professional boxer was significantly battered in a lopsided fight, taken simply for the money. Another was led away by police; with a warrant for his arrest, the promotion posters gave officers the only lead they needed. Like most fighters in this stage of their careers, Green’s body is hurting. He’s tired. The Golden Valley resident toils through a second full-time job — working security overnights — to make ends meet.

Physical, financial and emotional aches are steppingstones to the glory many dream about, but few have the dedication, talent and toughness to realize.

After another victory, his squinty-eyed smile returns in full force as Green — now 12-0 with 10 knockouts as a professional — practically bounces around his designated locker room. In one of the most dangerous, difficult and unrewarding sports, nothing is for granted, even for the smartest athletes.

For Green, it makes it all the more worthwhile.

Career transition

One February night in 1990, a young Green was planted on the living room couch in his family’s Hinsdale, Ill., home, unable to believe Mike Tyson, his boyhood idol, could lose. Tyson did lose that night — in a memorable bout against Buster Douglas — but it only further drew Green to the sport’s excitement. Boxing became an obsession, but stayed just that with most of Green’s free time taken up by basketball, the sport he would play in college as a scholarship athlete.

Seventeen years later, Green was 25 and a recent college graduate, working as a personal trainer at a local gym. A pair of fighters who occasionally trained there rekindled the boxing flame, and after talking to them, Green started taking a weekly hourlong beginner class. The more he did it, the more he loved it. Outside the ring, he was understated and soft-spoken. Inside the ropes, he got to be a different person.

Eventually, organized fighting made sense. Green’s wife, Frances, a former Division I golfer, understands competitive desire, so they never had an official conversation about his transitioning career. It just began.

Green’s first two amateur matches were held at Uppercut Boxing Gym in northeast Minneapolis, where he now trains. In the second, Green knocked out his opponent in only three rounds. Afterward, Lisa Bauch — Uppercut founder/owner and now a member of his team — approached Green’s trainer at the time, demanding to know just how many fights his pupil really had.

After grilling Green and his trainer, Bauch’s anger turned to astonishment. Was it possible he’d only had one previous fight?

“And if that’s the case, we need to get him here,” she said.

Double life

At 11 p.m. on a typical Thursday night, Green is behind the front desk of the DoubleTree hotel in St. Louis Park, glancing down at a clipboard full of notes.

  • related content

  • Photo gallery: Boxer Aaron 'Gorilla' Green: Punching faces and clocks

    Tuesday August 20, 2013

    Aaron Green Makes a living as a boxer and a Security guard, Chasing fame in the ring that few...

  • Aaron “Gorilla” Green has only been a professional boxer since October of 2010, but he’s 12-0 with 10 knockouts. His team at Uppercut Boxing Gym helps fuel — and temper — his passion. “Probably the worst disease a person could ever get is the love of boxing,” trainer Pete Daszkiewicz said.

  • Aaron Green’s “other” profession is a security guard at the Double Tree hotel in St. Louis Park. Often, when his overnight shift ends at 7 a.m., Green goes directly to the gym to spar.

  • Aaron Green trains at Uppercut Boxing Gym in northeast Minneapolis. Uppercut founder/owner Lisa Bauch saw his second pro fight and couldn’t believe, despite Green and his trainer’s insistence, that he’d had only one previous fight. She’s now part of his management team.

  • Right, Green took a shot to the head from opponent Stacy Frazier during an Aug. 16 bout at Grand Casino Friday Night Fights in Hinckley, Minn. Later, (below) Green delivered punishing body shots to Frazier before the fight was stopped by TKO in the fifth round, keeping Green unbeaten.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Dallas 6:00 PM
Orlando
Sacramento 6:00 PM
Indiana
Toronto 6:00 PM
Washington
Houston 6:30 PM
Detroit
Philadelphia 6:30 PM
Atlanta
Cleveland 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Oklahoma City 7:00 PM
Memphis
Portland 7:30 PM
Milwaukee
LA Clippers 8:00 PM
San Antonio
Charlotte 8:00 PM
Denver
Phoenix 9:30 PM
Golden State
Washington 0 FINAL(OT)
Montreal 1
NY Islanders 1 FINAL
Detroit 4
Arizona 2 FINAL
Ottawa 7
Los Angeles 6:00 PM
Boston
Florida 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Dallas 6:00 PM
Winnipeg
Columbus 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Calgary
Chicago 9:30 PM
San Jose
Boston College 49 FINAL
Clemson 64
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Eastern Mich 69
NC State 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Wisconsin 74 FINAL
Iowa 63
Stony Brook 48 FINAL
New Hampshire 63
Notre Dame 72 FINAL
Pittsburgh 76
Providence 66 FINAL
St Johns 75
Davidson 70 FINAL
Saint Josephs 75
Xavier 82 FINAL
Seton Hall 90
Tulane 37 FINAL
Temple 55
Auburn 63 FINAL
Tennessee 71
Texas Tech 58 FINAL
West Virginia 77
Arkansas 56 FINAL
Florida 57
Penn State 58 FINAL
Illinois 60
Lipscomb 73 FINAL
Stetson 75
South Florida 71 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Bradley 58 FINAL
Indiana State 64
UMass Lowell 69 FINAL
Binghamton 76
Green Bay 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 76
Georgetown 67 FINAL
Creighton 40
Coll of Charleston 68 FINAL
Delaware 71
Villanova 68 FINAL
DePaul 55
Vermont 65 FINAL
Hartford 46
TCU 66 FINAL
Iowa State 83
Kennesaw St 51 FINAL
Jacksonville 50
Kansas State 57 FINAL
Kansas 68
Boston Univ 86 FINAL
Lehigh 89
Illinois State 48 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 45
Albany 77 FINAL
Maine 59
Butler 72 FINAL
Marquette 68
LSU 67 FINAL
Miss State 73
Mount St Marys 77 FINAL
Sacred Heart 71
Richmond 64 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 55
Virginia Tech 70 FINAL
Wake Forest 73
IUPU-Ft Wayne 75 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 65
Arkansas State 43 FINAL
Georgia State 74
Loyola-Maryland 77 FINAL
Army 71
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Belmont 71
Bethune-Cookman 61 FINAL
Florida A&M 44
Valparaiso 70 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 65
UAB 65 FINAL
TX-San Antonio 57
Idaho State 69 FINAL
North Dakota 80
Evansville 65 FINAL
Drake 70
Rutgers 64 FINAL
Indiana 72
Ball State 73 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 79
Southern U 48 2nd Half 3:37
Alcorn State 49
UNC-Wilmington 70 2nd Half 0:53
Drexel 80
Coastal Carolina 64 2nd Half 0:01
Gardner-Webb 66
Morgan State 40 2nd Half 4:15
Howard 59
William & Mary 84 FINAL
James Madison 65
North Carolina 59 2nd Half 4:49
Louisville 57
Coppin State 55 2nd Half 11:30
MD-Eastern Shore 63
Ole Miss 67 FINAL
Missouri 47
Wichita State 51 2nd Half 1:10
Northern Iowa 68
Loyola Marymount 67 1st OT 2:24
Pacific 63
Winthrop 66 FINAL
Radford 73
George Washington 50 2nd Half 3:17
Rhode Island 52
Bryant 71 FINAL
Robert Morris 68
Long Island 64 FINAL
St Francis-NY 81
Fair-Dickinson 63 FINAL
St Francis-PA 68
Massachusetts 58 2nd Half 0:26
Saint Louis 56
Georgia 48 2nd Half 2:24
South Carolina 64
Central Conn St 55 FINAL
Wagner 86
SIU Edwardsville 54 2nd Half 0:23
Eastern Ill 55
Ohio 50 2nd Half 11:36
Central Mich 58
Eastern Ky 37 2nd Half 11:28
Morehead State 41
Incarnate Word 57 2nd Half 2:51
Nicholls 51
Campbell 31 2nd Half 15:10
UNC-Asheville 37
Vanderbilt 52 2nd Half 6:40
Texas A&M 59
Western Carolina 37 2nd Half
UNC Greensboro 34
Detroit 33 2nd Half
Milwaukee 35
Idaho 46 2nd Half 19:13
Eastern Wash 43
Marshall 23 1st Half 7:34
Louisiana Tech 18
Jackson State 20 1st Half 7:42
Miss Valley St 23
Houston Baptist 3 1st Half 16:03
Sam Houston St 7
Louisiana 7 1st Half 17:24
Texas State 7
Denver 14 1st Half 6:39
South Dakota St 21
Oral Roberts 17 1st Half 7:26
South Dakota 24
South Alabama 11 1st Half 8:31
ULM 26
Texas 5:00 PM
Baylor
Citadel 5:00 PM
Chattanooga
Fresno State 5:00 PM
Colorado State
Yale 2 1st Half 17:32
Cornell 2
Ark-Pine Bluff 5:00 PM
Grambling St
Nebraska 3 1st Half 17:51
Minnesota 0
Hampton 5:00 PM
Norfolk State
Purdue 5:00 PM
Northwestern
Alabama A&M 5:00 PM
Prairie View
Dartmouth 5:00 PM
Princeton
Pepperdine 5:00 PM
St Marys-CA
NC A&T 5:00 PM
Savannah State
Delaware State 5:00 PM
SC State
Western Ky 5:00 PM
Southern Miss
Nevada 5:00 PM
Wyoming
Akron 6:00 PM
Bowling Green
Colgate 6:00 PM
Bucknell
FIU 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Brown 6:00 PM
Columbia
George Mason 6:00 PM
Duquesne
NC Central 6:00 PM
East Tenn St
Saint Peters 6:00 PM
Iona
Alabama 6:00 PM
Kentucky
Abilene Christian 6:00 PM
Lamar
Char Southern 6:00 PM
Liberty
Hawaii 6:00 PM
Long Beach State
New Orleans 6:00 PM
McNeese State
Lafayette 6:00 PM
Navy
Elon 6:00 PM
Northeastern
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
Old Dominion
Harvard 6:00 PM
Penn
La Salle 6:00 PM
St Bonaventure
Furman 6:00 PM
Samford
TX A&M-CC 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin
Duke 6:00 PM
Virginia
Mercer 6:00 PM
Wofford
Northern Ky 6:00 PM
Fla Gulf Coast
USC Upstate 6:00 PM
North Florida
Longwood 6:00 PM
Presbyterian
Ark-Little Rock 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
SE Missouri St 7:00 PM
Austin Peay
CS-Northridge 7:00 PM
UC Riverside
Towson 7:00 PM
Hofstra
UT Martin 7:00 PM
Murray State
San Jose St 7:00 PM
New Mexico
Rice 7:00 PM
North Texas
Toledo 7:00 PM
Northern Ill
Oklahoma 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
San Francisco 7:00 PM
San Diego
Utah State 7:00 PM
San Diego St
Northwestern St 7:00 PM
SE Louisiana
UCF 7:00 PM
SMU
Southern Ill 7:05 PM
Missouri State
Troy 7:15 PM
Texas-Arlington
Jacksonville St 7:30 PM
Tennessee St
Alabama State 7:30 PM
Texas Southern
Stanford 7:30 PM
Washington St
Santa Clara 8:00 PM
BYU
TX-Pan American 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Northern Ariz 8:00 PM
Southern Utah
Middle Tennessee 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Weber State 8:00 PM
Northern Colorado
Chicago State 8:00 PM
Grand Canyon
UC Santa Barbara 9:00 PM
UC Irvine
Memphis 9:00 PM
Gonzaga
Air Force 9:00 PM
UNLV
Cal Poly 9:00 PM
UC Davis
Seattle 9:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
Montana State 9:05 PM
Portland State
Montana 9:05 PM
Sacramento St
Colorado 9:30 PM
UCLA
UMKC 9:30 PM
Utah Valley U
Mount St Marys 64 FINAL
Sacred Heart 71
Texas-El Paso 53 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 74
Arkansas State 61 FINAL
Georgia State 47
Bryant 84 FINAL
Robert Morris 87
Central Conn St 83 FINAL
Wagner 67
Fairleigh Dickinson 78 FINAL
St Francis-PA 60
Long Island 53 FINAL
St Francis-NY 62
Bethune-Cookman 70 FINAL
Florida A&M 57
Longwood 56 FINAL
Campbell 68
Charleston Southern 40 FINAL
Winthrop 77
Louisiana Tech 68 FINAL
Marshall 67
Ohio U 74 FINAL
Central Michigan 66
Western Mich 61 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 53
Coppin State 58 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 66
Incarnate Word 34 FINAL
Nicholls 67
Samford 46 FINAL
East Tenn St 48
Western Carolina 72 FINAL
Furman 84
Gardner-Webb 71 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 65
Liberty 58 FINAL
High Point 41
Presbyterian 46 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 59
Kent State 67 FINAL
Akron 74
Northern Ill 65 FINAL
Ball State 62
Houston 66 FINAL
Cincinnati 69
SIU-Edwardsville 65 FINAL
Eastern Illinois 48
Eastern Kentucky 58 FINAL
Morehead St 76
Holy Cross 67 FINAL
American Univ 61
Army 62 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 53
Niagara 53 FINAL
Manhattan 46
Lehigh 78 FINAL
Boston U 71
Navy 65 FINAL
Lafayette 60
Saint Josephs 57 FINAL
Davidson 52
Duquesne 56 FINAL
Fordham 46
George Washington 87 FINAL
George Mason 52
St Bonaventure 77 FINAL
Massachusetts 57
Milwaukee 64 FINAL
Youngstown St 87
Jacksonville 78 FINAL
Kennesaw St 64
North Florida 49 FINAL
USC Upstate 61
St Marys-CA 53 FINAL
Pepperdine 49
Nebraska Omaha 49 FINAL
IUPUI 68
Houston Baptist 67 FINAL
Sam Houston St 74
Mercer 59 FINAL
(25) Chattanooga 71
No Dakota State 52 FINAL
South Dakota St 82
Oral Roberts 70 FINAL
South Dakota 93
Southern Miss 63 FINAL
Western Ky 61
TX-San Antonio 57 FINAL
UAB 73
East Carolina 67 FINAL
Tulane 63
South Florida 57 FINAL
Memphis 53
Buffalo 75 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 53
New Mexico St 74 FINAL
TX-Pan American 71
Utah Valley U 58 FINAL
UMKC 61
Jackson State 71 FINAL
Miss Valley St 74
Louisiana 83 FINAL
Texas State 81
South Alabama 53 FINAL
ULM 55
Saint Louis 72 FINAL
Dayton 87
Cleveland State 72 FINAL
Oakland 64
Grand Canyon 76 FINAL
Chicago State 51
UCLA 65 FINAL
Oregon 67
Washington St 56 FINAL
(12) Stanford 75
Kansas State 41 FINAL
Texas Tech 38
UNLV 91 FINAL
Air Force 79
UCF 61 FINAL
Tulsa 70
UNC Greensboro 64 FINAL
Wofford 77
Delaware State 62 FINAL
SC State 64
San Diego State 70 FINAL
Utah State 59
Sacramento St 86 FINAL
Montana 94
Northern Colorado 52 FINAL
Weber State 59
Hampton 66 FINAL
Norfolk State 71
NC A&T 53 FINAL
Savannah State 48
Marist 63 FINAL
Iona 58
Bucknell 41 FINAL
Colgate 54
North Dakota 69 FINAL
Idaho State 75
Alabama A&M 53 2nd Half 7:45
Prairie View 62
Toledo 63 2nd Half 0:08
Bowling Green 46
Ark-Pine Bluff 49 2nd Half 3:12
Grambling 67
Southern U 46 2nd Half 6:11
Alcorn State 45
Ark-Little Rock 44 2nd Half 10:00
Georgia Southern 35
BYU 23 2nd Half
Santa Clara 30
Gonzaga 42 2nd Half 18:16
Portland 36
Pacific 42 2nd Half
Loyola Marymount 27
Abilene Christian 41 2nd Half
Lamar 35
Colorado State 26 2nd Half
Fresno State 20
New Mexico 28 2nd Half
San Jose St 31
UC Davis 20 2nd Half 19:29
UC Santa Barbara 26
San Diego 33 2nd Half
San Francisco 36
New Orleans 29 2nd Half
McNeese State 51
TX A&M-CC 27 2nd Half 16:52
Stephen F Austin 36
Old Dominion 38 2nd Half
Florida Atlantic 19
Tenn Tech 22 2nd Half
Belmont 25
Eastern Washington 43 2nd Half
Idaho 45
Stetson 35 2nd Half
Lipscomb 33
IUPU-Ft Wayne 4:30 PM
Western Ill
Washington 12 1st Half 6:27
California 27
USC 13 1st Half 8:20
(7) Oregon State 16
Northwestern St 22 1st Half 5:51
SE Louisiana 23
SE Missouri St 30 2nd Half
Austin Peay 34
Portland State 5:00 PM
Montana State
Columbia 5:00 PM
Brown
(19) Princeton 5:00 PM
Dartmouth
Penn 5:00 PM
Harvard
Troy 5:00 PM
TX-Arlington
Morgan State 77 FINAL
Howard 64
Charlotte 4 1st Half 16:55
FIU 3
UT Martin 7 1st Half 17:41
Murray State 3
Alabama State 5:30 PM
Texas Southern
Jacksonville St 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Wyoming 6:00 PM
Nevada
Oklahoma St 6:00 PM
Iowa State
CS-Bakersfield 6:00 PM
Seattle
La Salle 6:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Cal-Irvine 6:00 PM
Cal Poly
Fla Gulf Coast 6:00 PM
Northern Ky
Southern Utah 7:00 PM
Northern Ariz
Green Bay 7:00 PM
Illinois-Chicago
Cal State Fullerton 9:00 PM
Long Beach St
CS-Northridge 9:00 PM
Hawaii

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who wins the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close