This Friday, Glen “Road Warrior” Johnson will square off against Andrej Fonfara in a light heavyweight bout scheduled for 10 rounds. The fight is the main event on ESPN2/ESPN3’s “Friday Night Fights.” Johnson was a guest this past Sunday on Thaboxingvoice.com’s radio show. We had a chance to catch up with him 5 days before his televised fight and discussed many different topics regarding his career as well as other subjects in boxing.
The most interesting aspect of Johnson is the fact that he is still fighting competitive fights at the age of 43. If Johnson were to hang up his gloves tomorrow he could look back on an impressive career that contains victories over Roy Jones Jr., Antonio Tarver, and Allan Green. Both of Johnson’s nicknames represent him well. One, “Road Warrior,” speaks of his hard working nature and his tendencies to take fights in his opponents’ backyard. The other alias is “Gentlemen”, which perfectly describes his humbleness and respectable demeanor.
While Johnson is still currently a viable opponent for many in both the 168lb and 175lb divisions, it is unclear how much longer he can be competitive. There is a thin line between having a career like Bernard Hopkins and that of Roy Jones Jr. It’s obvious from speaking with Johnson that he is aware of that line and has no intentions of crossing it. He is very aware of the circumstances surrounding his current career and knows he has to take care of business. Johnson knows for him to stay relevant he has to win and if he doesn’t it will only make the retirement suggestions that much more vocal.
“I believe that I have to perform at a high level and if I’m performing at a high level, I shouldn’t lose this fight. If I’m not performing at a high level then there is no reason for me to be in the business,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s performance in the Bute fight wasn’t on that level we’ve come accustomed to seeing him fight. We spoke about his performance in that fight and the correlation to the Froch fight, as well as the injury he was dealing with, and whether or not it is still a problem.
“The elbows feel good; we took some time off and healed up. Injuries happen, when you’re an athlete you have to work through pain and injuries. Sometimes when it’s time to go out there and perform you’re not at 100%, but you have to go out there and give it everything you got. That was one of those situations; I went out and gave it all I got and got beat. I don’t look at [the Bute loss] the same way I do [the Froch loss] because I wasn’t 100% for the Bute fight,” Johnson said.
Johnson is rather optimistic about his ability to move up and down from 168lbs-175lbs and insists his age doesn’t hamper his ability to do so. “I don’t feel any different, I don’t feel like I can’t perform well because I feel a particular way, to me it’s more about skills than anything, and my skills are coming together well at this point,” Johnson said. Glen also said he intends to fight at super middleweight after his light heavyweight bout with Fonfara this Friday.
“We’re going to stick to [168lbs] unless something really good happens at 175, like a Bernard Hopkins, that’s a fight that’s out there and we’ll go for that fight. I know the [Cloud-Pascal fight] is happening; Pascal is a guy I haven’t competed against yet. If Ward comes out the fight [with Dawson] the winner then that’s a fight I’d love, Ward is someone I haven’t fought yet,” Johnson said.
Johnson later spoke about the longevity of his career and what he hopes to get out of the remainder. “I didn’t expect to box as long as I’ve boxed. My goal, when I started boxing, was to make $10,000 and I was out- to put a down payment on a house. I exceeded that many times over. I’m excited about my career and it lasted longer than I’ve expected and I’m riding it out. There is still a love for boxing inside of me and I feel like I can still do it. People still have interest and I still have a big interest [for boxing],” Johnson said.
Johnson then spoke about his “Friday Night Fights” opponent and the kind of performance he needs to have in order for him to reach his title fight aspirations. “[Fonfara] is a big guy, he’s aggressive, he’s a come forward guy, and he’s full of confidence. I’m going into his hometown. It’s up to me to go in and do the things I do and show I’m on a different level,” Johnson said. Johnson added, “I need to dominate and show things I haven’t shown in a while. I got to get away from the close fights, I need to go out there and put on a stellar performance and I’m looking for a stoppage.”
Before he exited the show, we got his take on all the PED controversy surrounding boxing as of late, specifically the fact that younger fighters than he have been using testosterone (which is more commonly used to give older men the kind of boost that would make them feel younger).
“I just stay within Glen Johnson and I go out there and do my thing. I don’t look for an edge; my only edge is getting better skills. I would never do anything dirty, I live my life a clean way. It’s not a risk I’m willing to take,” Johnson said.
Glen definitely took the high road; frankly you shouldn’t have expected anything less from the “Gentlemen.” The fact that younger fighters like Lamont Peterson are taking synthetic testosterone in order to feel younger is a testament to Johnson. Essentially, the younger Peterson is taking a drug that would allow him to work as hard as the older Johnson.
The day that Glen Johnson calls it quits will be the day boxing loses one of its few authentic fighters; a fighter who holds himself accountable for his actions and will always take the good with the bad, rarely dwelling on the uncontrollable. Boxing has so few fighters like Johnson, the kind of fighters who personify excellence both inside the ring and outside of it; an all-around standup guy.
For full audio of this interview Click Here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thaboxingvoiceradioshow/2012/07/08/glen-johnson-and-devon-alexander