Showtime Super Six World Classic: Addition of Glen Johnson A Huge Mistake By Brandon Estrict (Sept 30, 2010) Doghouse Boxing
As previously reported by ESPN Boxing scribe Dan Rafael, Showtime has announced that former light heavyweight champion Glencoffe Johnson has been added to the Super Six World Boxing Classic; Johnson has been tapped to replaced the injured Mikkel Kessler, who pulled out of the tournament earlier this month.
Johnson, the 2004 BWAA Fighter of the Year, owns victories over notable names like Antonio Tarver, Eric Harding, and the great Roy Jones Jr. The 'Road Warrior', a nickname he's earned for his willingness to take on tough fights in his opponent's backyards, enters the tournament with a career record of 50-14-2 (34), but don't let the number in the loss column fool you; he's only been stopped once, by Bernard Hopkins over 13 years ago, and as many as 10 of those defeats have been questionable hometown decisions that went against him.
Through it all, Johnson has always been the epitome of class and professionalism. He's obviously been frustrated by his misfortune through the years and has often been vocal about it, but he remains one of the most well liked and well respected men in the sport.
Many throughout the boxing world may feel that the 41 year old Johnson is most deserving of this opportunity, a sort of compensatory sendoff for all that he's endured on the ugly business side of the sweet science.
Only, they'd be dead wrong.
Boxing is, like any other, a 'what have you done for me lately' sport. Floyd Mayweather's propensity for trouble everywhere but a boxing ring, as well as David Haye's apparent avoidance of the Klitschko brothers, is about all it takes to fall out of the interest of a public whose thoughts had once been consumed by their immense talents.
Solid pro, Joshua Clottey, and a future Hall of Famer Shane Mosley, both fought very lackluster bouts their last time out.
The result: no one cares about one guy anymore and have completely written off the other, respectively.
Johnson, coming off a close loss to Tavoris Cloud last August, has lost three of his last six fights over the past two years. His wins during that period have come against club fighter Aaron Norwood, journymen Daniel Judah, and fringe contender Yusaf Mack. The three had a combined 15 losses and seven draws between them when they met Johnson and that's only the tip of the iceberg.
Allan Green, the man Johnson will meet on November 6, was also chosen by Showtime to be a part of the Super Six when Jermain Taylor withdrew from the tournament. Green, a talented fighter lacking a signature performance, was thrown in with undefeated Andre Ward in the Group Stage 2 portion of the tournament last summer.
Up to that point, Green's biggest fight was against Colombian slugger, Edison Miranda, three years prior. That night, Green turned in a very pedestrian performance on his way to a unanimous decision loss. He did manage to floor Miranda with a left hook in Round 8 but it would be his only highlight, as Miranda closed the show in the 10th and Final Round by catching up to Green and dropping him twice.
It was later revealed that Green had been severely ill, and had a large portion of his intestine removed afterward. His fight with Andre Ward would stand as his true litmus test.
What ensued made the fans in attendance at the Oracle Arena in California sick.
After a heavy dose of trash talk, Green came out completely flat and was dominated and embarrassed by the younger, craftier Ward for all 12 Rounds.
"Sweetness" didn't bank a single round on any of the three judges official scorecards, a distinction he now shares with past Ward opponents like Henry Buchanan, Kendall Gould, and Derrick Findley.
To say that Showtime brass is hoping for a better performance out of him in his next fight would be an understatement.
To their chagrin, Glen Johnson's inclusion and subsequent match-up with Green may only compound the problem.
Johnson, as previously mentioned, lost a tough fight his last time out; what wasn't mentioned, is the rumored trouble Johnson had cutting down to the light heavyweight limit of 175 lbs. He did weigh in two pounds under the limit, but boxing insiders such as Emmanuel Steward, among others, hinted at Johnson's struggle on the scales, and pointed out that his balance seemed off, his breathing was more labored than in past bouts, and his body looked noticeably softer than it ever had. Johnson was also stunned by a punch to the temple early in the fight, the first time he'd been noticeably hurt in years.
Taking those details into account, remember that for the tournament Johnson must drop to the super middleweight limit of 168 lbs, a weight he hasn't fought at in over 10 years.
Having fought just a month and a half ago, and with little more than one month to get ready for this bout, has Johnson kept himself in fighting shape? Does he have enough time to adequately reach the weight?
Or does it even matter?
If boxing history has shown us anything, it's that older fighters are very rarely successful moving down in weight. The discipline and hard work it takes for a fighter to maintain his fighting weight takes years of dedication. There's almost no possible way a fighter, an older fighter at that, can reach his fighting weight, then be asked to take seven more pounds off without adversely affecting his body.
In 2008, Oscar De La Hoya gave it a go when he took seven pounds off of his junior middleweight body to meet Manny Pacquiao at the welterweight limit of 147 lbshe failed miserably. This skeleton-thin version of De La Hoya, who was rumored to have required an IV shortly before entering the ring, was so badly drained, he gained only two pounds between the official weigh-in and the fight.
The much smaller Pacquiao would batter the "Golden Boy" from pillar-to-post for eight rounds before Oscar's corner stopped the fight. It would be the last time De La Hoya appeared in the ring as a fighter.
Similarly, longtime heavyweight title-holder, Chris Byrd, made the ill-fated mistake of dropping from 211 lbs. all the way down to light heavyweight for a fight with Shaun George. Byrd was dropped in the very first round, on his way to being annihilated and stopped by George in the ninth.
No disrespect to George, but something doesn’t add up when he's able to put a bigger hurt on Byrd than Wladimir or Vitali Klitshcko could.
Those are only two examples.
One could add Roy Jones consecutive KO losses after also dropping down from heavyweight to light heavyweight, and many more, to that list.
Glen Johnson has rarely, if ever, been involved in a bad fight. Unfortunately, the opponent, the weight, and the age are all pointing in the wrong direction for the old warhorse, not that it's Johnson's faulthe'd have been a fool not to take what may amount to the last big-time opportunity he'll get in boxing.
Kudos to the executives at Showtime for saving this great and innovative tournament from the jaws of death on numerous occasions. They've, for now, been able to get the mess of the Ward-Andre Dirrell bout cleaned up and get Carl Froch back on board for his fight with Arthur Abraham, with both bouts part of a championship split-site doubleheader scheduled for November 27th.
They've made great fights along the way and the Super Six was a great idea to start out with. Adding a 41 year old light heavyweight to the tournament wasn't one of those great ideas.