|Reggie Johnson is back and seeking the title - Boxing
By Ken Hissner (March 7, 2008) Doghouse Boxing
I recently talked to the former WBA middleweight and IBF light heavyweight champion Reggie Johnson since his recent victory over former WBO light heavyweight champion Julio Gonzalez for the IBA title in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
KH: Reggie, there have been some great stories written about you since your dramatic win last month over Julio Gonzalez by split decision. I want to take you back to the first title bout you had for those who need to know a little
bit more about Reggie Johnson and what you have overcome. Tell us what happened in June of 1991 when you lost a split decision to then IBF middleweight champion James Toney.
RJ: I thought I won, but that’s the nature of the game and it made me a better fighter.
KH: You had fought well enough against Toney to get a title bout with WBA champion Steve Collins and won by a majority decision in April of 1992. How did it make you feel finally become a champion?
RJ: It was a great fight before a hugh Irish crowd in the Meadowlands Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. I fought one of my better fights. Collins would go onto to win titles in the WBO middleweight and super middleweight divisions and clean out all the fighters in the UK.
KH: You make three defenses and fight WBO light middleweight champion
John David Jackson in October of 1993 in of all places Buenos Aires, Argentina. Why there?
RJ: My promoter Dan Goosen made that decision. Jorge Castro was the former WBC light middleweight champion who had moved up in weight and he was to fight the winner. Years later Jackson told me “all I had to do was be standing at the end of our bout and I would be champion.”
KH: After losing to Jackson it’s close to a year later when you challenge Castro who in the mean time had defeated Jackson in Argentina. You lose a split decision. Tell us what kind of a fight it was.
RJ: Jackson refused to fight Castro and got stripped of his title so Castro and I fought for the vacant title in August of 1994. It was a fight I felt I won. Over a year later we fought again down there and the same thing happened. Years later I am in Germany attending a fight when one of their reporters said he had interviewed Castro who admitted he lost both fights.
KH: You move up in weight and get a title fight with then champion William Guthrie, in February of 1998, knocking him out so viciously he has to be carried out on a stretcher. Was that your redemption from the three title fights losing disputed decisions?
RJ: A lot of it was redemption and it was a very emotional time since they took my titles from me. I didn’t lose them. I had become only one of six fighters to move from middleweight champion up to light heavyweight champion.
KH: You then meet Roy Jones, Jr. with three title bouts on the line. You lost a lopsided decision to a great champion. Tell us about it.
RJ: That was a fight he won hands down. I have no excuses.
KH: You fight Antonio Tarver in an IBF title eliminator and lose by split decision. By this time you must be sick of hearing the word split decision before the winner is announced.
RJ: It was a good fight. I am not taking anything away from Tarver, but I stayed at home instead of going to camp in California. It was a mistake.
KH: In 1995 you make a comeback under the promotion of Kerry Daigle (www.keeppunching.com) in Marksville, Louisiana. How has your association with him been?
RJ: It’s been great. By the way, I have never retired. Whether fights have fallen out, or there was an injury involved, those were the reasons for the inactivity.
KH: You defeat Fred Moore by knockout in the 9th round. It looks like you are on your way to regaining the title. You have a fight with former IBF champion Glen Johnson scheduled and you have an injury causing a postponement. Though it’s been 2 ½ years since your last fight with Moore, you pick one of the toughest fighters in the division in former WBO champion Gonzalez. Why such a tough opponent?
RJ: In case you haven’t noticed I am 41 years old and do not have a lot of time left in this game. I wanted to fight someone who would propel me toward a title fight.
KH: You win a split decision over Gonzalez which should put you in line for a title fight with one of the winners of a double header in April featuring two world titles on the line. Do you have any preferences?
RJ: Johnson will be fighting for Chad Dawson’s WBC title and has promised me a shot if he wins. Clint Woods will be defending his IBF title against Tarver. I would hope for the winner of either fight.
KH: Are you going to sit back and wait for that or have a fight to keep you busy. What does Daigle have in mind for your next step? He is your promoter right?
RJ: Yes he is and I plan to have him there when I win back the title. In the meantime I may give Gonzalez a rematch since the fight was so close just to keep busy. I thought he missed more punches than he thought. So I am not opposed to a rematch.
KH: I see you have one of my favorite trainers in your corner again in Jesse Reid.
RJ: Jesse and I go way back. He is one of the most underrated trainers in the world.
KH: Reggie, it’s been my pleasure. We have talked over the last couple of years before.
RJ: I am always here to talk to you and it’s been my pleasure, too.
Writer’s Note: I talked with Jesse Reid after this interview and he said “I was quite impressed with Reggie, especially at his age how well he can still fight. I want to bring him into camp for his next fight. He was working with heavyweights getting ready for this fight in Texas and that throws your timing off when you meet a light heavyweight. They also punch much harder and can cause a lot of soreness when they do hit you. He asked me to come in and work the corner for this fight. He took on a tough guy. He has never lost a fight when I have worked in his corner.”
e-mail Ken at: email@example.com
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