I agree; I really like the suttle colours and colour transitions in the first version. These tones are really hard to translate into an equally enticing black and white shot. You did a good job there - but some nuances, like the difference between the greyish patches on the left shoulder (as seen) and the greenish, yellow and orange tones, simply disappear.
Just to note, I've probably walked by this statue thousands of times over the 33 years I've lived on this road. I live halfway down this three mile road and I always walk in this direction. I've watched it decay over the years, especially after the man died and his wife let the yard upkeep go a little bit. I've already been attracted to its inherent contrast of ordinary lawn statue and a beloved religious icon and have taken many pictures over the years.