By Hector Echevarria
The Road Warrior Glen Johnson career took its last breath Friday. Johnson turned in a spirited effort against Andrzej Fonfara but came up short. The fight was close with two scores of 97-93 and 99-91 all where for the Fonfara. When it was over Johnson announced his retirement in front of a pro-polish crowd at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. He was met with a stand ovation from the crown and a few tears from the spectators.
Thaboxingvoice.com had Johnson on the show Sunday and the former light heavyweight champ said if he losses his upcoming fight with the Polish fighter, he would walk away from the ring. Glen stayed true to his word. For 19 years, the Road Warrior has made a career of going to opponent’s back yards, most times being on the wrong end of the decisions. At one point in time, Johnson was a 30-0 fighter coming into a fight with then middleweight kingpin Bernard Hopkins. Johnson would suffer the first and only knockout loss of his career.
After that his career had turned into a string of hard luck. Loss after loss mounted up, going to enemy territory as far as Germany. His career came full circle in September of 2004, when he got a once in a life chance against Roy Jones Jr. Jones was coming of a knockout loss to Antonio Tarver and wanted a soft touch pick in Johnson. It was thought that Roy would get back on track. What it did was re-launch the career of Johnson who came in and dominate from the opening bell.
Johnson battered Jones from all around the ring until finally putting him down in round 9. After that win Glen put the boxing world on notice. In December of that year, Johnson up the ante by defeating Tarver to claim the light heavyweight title. After that win, he was named fighter of the year and also the ring magazine champion.
That year was the height of Johnson’s career. After that he went on to lose a close bout with Tarver, in the rematch. His career went on only having marginal victories against C-level opposition. After a tough loss to the IBF light Heavyweight champ Tavoris Cloud, he thought a drop down in weight would revive his career.
He joined the Super 6 as a replacement for injured Mikkel Kessler. With his spectacular win over Allen Green, he earned a shot at facing WBC champ Carl Froch, in a good back in forth fight in which Froch walked away with the win.
Johnson still moved on with a title shot against friend and sparring partner Lucian Bute, a fight in which he was not in after hurting both elbows in the fight. He took some time off to prior to his career ending fight with Andrzej Fonfara.
He will be remembered for his workmen like attitude and his all-out effort in the ring. Glen said he started in boxing to make $10,000 for a down payment on a house. With his good career, that house should be a mansion.
I want to say thank you champ. You are what boxing should and always be; a grind. This Warrior has reached the road and now can park his car in the dream house that boxing paid for.