Berto and Mosley along with Johnson and Mack card cancelled!
By Ken Hissner (Jan 20, 2010) DoghouseBoxing  
Due to the earthquake in Haiti, Haitian WBC welterweight champion Andre Berto asked for a postponement of his January 30th bout with WBA Super welterweight champion Shane Mosley. Instead of looking for another opponent on such short notice it was advisable to postpone the entire card. In addition to this match was the proposed bout between the former IBF light heavyweight champion Glen “Road Warrior” Johnson and Philly’s Yusaf Mack in an IBF eliminator. I was in the process of doing a story and interview on Johnson when the postponement came. He is certainly worthy of a story.

If at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again. That is exactly what Glen “Road Warrior” Johnson did on the night of November 7th, 2003 in Yorkshire, England. Even though it was a draw and not a victory for Johnson that night fighting Clint Woods for the vacant IBF light heavyweight title he knew he earned the rematch and that he was good enough to be called “world champion”! Less than 3 months later Johnson would defeat Woods for the title an officially be crowned world champion!

Johnson had turned professional back in 1993 and won his first 32 fights earning a title bout with then IBF middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins, 31-2-1, of Philadelphia. Hopkins also had fought to a draw with Segundo Mercado for the vacant title and defeated him in a rematch. While Johnson won his title on foreign soil (UK) Hopkins got a break after fighting in Ecuador he got his rematch in the US. It was his 5th defense in meeting Johnson and he more or less had his way for 10 rounds until the referee stopped it in the 11th. This not only would be the only time in Johnson’s now 64 fight career he didn’t finish the fight, but one that told him it was time to move up to another division. Johnson had fought over the 160 limit in 27 of his 32 fights with a win over Sammy Garr, 20-0, probably his biggest win.

It would take Johnson back to back losses after the Hopkins fight that the super middleweight division wasn’t going to be any easier. He lost to the rough and tough Dominican Merqui Sosa, 31-5-2, who was on a 5 fight win streak since losing in a title fight with Roy Jones, Jr. and a split decision to the former NABF champion Joseph Kiwanuka, 25-3-2, of Uganda, who had a knockout win over Mercado.

Johnson would get untracked and score 3 knockout wins and a decision in winning the WBC Continental Americas title. This earned him a title fight with Sven Ottke, 16-0, the IBF super middleweight champion in Dusseldorf, Germany in November of 1999. This was Ottke’s 4th title defense and a tough man to get a decision over. Johnson came close losing on scores of 116-112 and 115-113 (twice). He had established himself as a worthy challenger.

For Johnson it would be like in the Hopkins loss, tough to get back to winning again. He would lose 3 more straight against contenders Syd Vanderpool, 27-1, Silvio Branco, 38-4-2, in Italy and Omar Sheika, 19-1, by majority decision in Philly. Johnson returned to the UK and defeated Toks Owoh, 15-1, whose only loss was to Shieka, for the IBF Inter-Continental title with a 6th round stoppage. It would be close to a year before Johnson fought again and he decided to move up to light heavyweight taking on Germany’s future European champion Thomas Ulrich, 20-0, for the WBO Inter-continental title. This time Johnson wasn’t going to leave it up to the judges in stopping Ulrich in the 6th round.

Johnson would only fight once in 2002 losing to Derrick Harmon, 21-2, in Las Vegas. Harmon had been stopped by Jones in 10 rounds several fights before this. Johnson would then lose in January of 2003 by majority decision to future world champion Julio Cesar Gonzalez, 31-1, in California. Johnson was fighting better fighters than the champions it seemed. He would fight to a draw with Daniel Judah, 17-0-1, and have to wait almost 6 years to avenge that decision.

The following month Johnson would add but another title to his resume in defeating Eric Harding, 21-1, for the vacant USBA title in New York. This fight earned him the first meeting with Woods. After those two bouts he would defend his title against Roy Jones, Jr., 49-2, who had already moved up and won the heavyweight title, won back the WBC light heavyweight title, only to lose it to Antonio Tarver in his last fight. It was a good time for Johnson to take Jones on and that he did stopping him in the 9th round. Next would be what one would think for all the marbles fighting Tarver who had won 6 titles in one night beating Jones. The only title on the line this time for both would be the IBO title that Johnson won by split decision over Tarver in Los Angeles.

They would have a rematch 6 months later with Tarver getting the nod in this one for the IBO title. Johnson would come full circle it seemed in then stopping George Khalid Jones 23-2-1, in 10 rounds in an IBF eliminator. Jones had won Johnson’s old USBA title and hadn’t lost in 3 years. It would take a year for Johnson to get that IBF title bout. In the mean time he beat Richard Hall, 27-5, for the vacant International Boxing Association title. Still, not the title he wanted back. He would have his third meeting with Woods and again have to go across the waters to get the IBF title. Woods since their last meeting had defeated Gonzalez who had become the WBO champion. Johnson would lose by split decision, winning on the UK’s Mickey Vann’s card.

Though a rematch should have been in order, Johnson had to defeat Montell Griffin, 48-6, the former WBC champion, in what was billed as an IBF eliminator bout. Johnson stopped Griffin in the 11th round, but the title bout promised was not forthcoming. Woods decided to give a rematch to Gonzalez to whom he defeated previously two years ago. It would be the only bout in 2007 for Woods so Johnson took on who many call the best of the now light heavyweight champions Chad Dawson, who held the WBC title from then unbeaten Tomasz Adamek who would go onto win the IBF cruiserweight title. Youth prevailed as the 26 year old champion defeated the 40 year old Johnson in Tampa.

Johnson would bounce back with a pair of wins including the rematch with Daniel Judah to earn another fight with Dawson in November of 2009. In the mean time Dawson had defeated Tarver in back to back fights and giving Johnson a rematch on Dawson’s turf in Connecticut. With all the politics that go on in boxing Dawson who was still unbeaten in 28 fights was fighting Johnson for the interim WBC and IBO titles. Two of the judges had it 115-113 for Dawson in a much closer fight than the first one.

At 41 Johnson keeps on rolling as he was to be in yet another IBF eliminator match January 30th in Las Vegas against Philly’s Yusaf Mack, 28-2-2. WBA champion Shane Mosley and WBC champion Andre Berto were to meet on the same card. Due to the earthquake in Haiti, Berto rightfully asked for a postponement putting the entire card on hold. Mack is unbeaten in his 5 light heavyweight bouts since moving up and winning the NABF and NABA titles including a win over Judah and Chris Henry, 23-1. Mack’s two losses were by stoppage. The 29 year old Mack has never encountered anyone with Johnson’s experience but it will be his youth trying to prevail.

Johnson has always been a very humble person after his fights win or lose. He is managed by Henry Foster and promoted by DiBella Entertainment and Warrior Boxing. I was able to do a Q&A with him through his trainer Orlando Cuellar after the postponement was announced.

Continue on to Part Two of this article: Q & A With Glen Johnson
Interview with Glen Johnson - On Bernard Hopkins, Chad Dawson, Andre Berto, Yusaf Mack and much More! - Ken Hissner

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