In April 2008, veteran Glen Johnson went up against Chad Dawson, for the IBF light heavyweight title. This fight, the co-main event which also featured Antonio Tarver defeating Clinton Woods, was fought at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa and broadcast all over the world on Showtime. The fight was a very competitive one, going to the judges scorecards. Most people in attendance had Glen Johnson wining a close decision, but definitely winning the fight. When the judges score cards were announced in favor of Dawson, the crowd reacted with very loud booing. Both fighters promised a rematch would be coming.
Fast forward to current time, the long anticipated rematch of Johnson-Dawson has now arrived, November 7th, 2009 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Glen Johnson promises this time things will be much different. Small changes in training and a renewed dedication to winning have him full speed ahead.
Recently Glen Johnson sat down with Convicted Artist Magazine to speak about this upcoming fight and several other matters.
Bob Carroll (BC): Glen, this is a rematch of a fight you had in April of last year. That was a very close fight that many ringside thought you had won. What will be the difference this time?
Glen Johnson (GJ): Well this time we don’t want it to be close and we will be doing everything we can to separate ourselves from Chad Dawson, and make it a one sided fight in favor of Glen Johnson. We are looking forward to doing that and we have the game plan to win every round and win them decisively.
BC: What type of changes, if any, have you made in your training camp this time?
GJ: We’ve made a few changes, but again we’re going to do a lot of the same as well. There are a few changes, which I will not say anything about at this time; you will see the changes during the fight. It makes no sense to say now because it would take the interest out of the fight.
BC: Chad Dawson was forced to relinquish his IBF championship belt in order to take this fight. Is that a sign that he is dedicated to taking on Glen Johnson, or is there a story behind the relinquishment?
GJ: I know the story behind that relinquishment. HBO did not have any interest in airing a fight between the IBF #1 contender, I think his name is Tavoris Cloud, and Chad Dawson as a match-up. HBO had no interest in airing that fight at all. They gave Dawson two names that they would be interested in fighting, one being Bernard Hopkins, the other being me. Bernard Hopkins is not interested in fighting right now; he got other things he is doing. I was available and ready to go, I’ve been available for the 14 months since we fought. So Dawson was cornered and he got caught!
BC: When fighters are preparing for a big fight, like this one, there is always trash talking. Is there any actual animosity between you and Dawson?
GJ: Um, I don’t have a beef with Dawson. Dawson knows he is a limited fighter and he was tried to avoid me. Besides that, I don’t have any personal beef with Dawson. The judges gave him a victory against me and he took it and ran. My only beef would be... you know the decision you got. If you were any champion at all, you would want to right that right away and prove that you are the fighter you say you are.
BC: This fight will be for the interim WBC light heavyweight belt, which is currently being held by Jean Pascal. Do you know the story behind the WBC offering an interim belt when the champion is healthy and even defending his title in December?
GJ: My understanding of the rules, the interim championship should be used when something happens to the champion; like he is hurt or something is preventing him from fighting. With that said, this fight is not the case. There is nothing wrong with Pascal, he has already fought and defended his title (9/25/09 TKO 10 Silvio Branco) and is preparing for a second defense. There is nothing wrong with him. The way I feel about it, if they wanted us to fight for a number one spot, you know a mandatory challenge, then make it that. To make this fight for an interim title, that means the winner of this fight will be putting on a belt that, in my mind, doesn’t feel like a worthy belt. I just don’t understand the interim position, which is my only problem with the interim belt. I just don’t think it’s a justified situation with me understanding what the rules are, or at least my understanding of the rules.
BC: Should you win the interim title; will you fight the winner of Jean Pascal and Adrian Diaconu?
GJ: I’m just interested in what HBO wants me to do next. If HBO wants that fight, then I’ll gladly jump all over that fight. Even if they want me to fight someone else or rematch Dawson again, it’s whatever they want. I’m ready to go!
BC: Do you feel that a win over Chad Dawson will make you the man in the light heavyweight division?
GJ: Well, I believe so. The only guy ranked above Chad Dawson would be Bernard Hopkins. So whenever Bernard Hopkins wants to defend that ranking spot, he can step up and take me on. I’m ready to go!
BC: Give our readers a peek into a typical training day for you.
GJ: I get to the gym about 10:00, train until 12:30, get out of there, go home and relax. Shortly after that I go out on a 5 mile run in the hot sun. At that time it is usually 85-90 degrees, that’s the type of weather we have in Miami. I like to run in that heat because I sweat a lot and at times get dehydrated, but mentally it prepares me for what I will go through in the ring during a fight. It also allows my brain to adjust to that fatigue and the fact that I can work through it. That is a way of getting me mentally prepared.
BC: At age 40, you are still at the top of your game. What do you contribute your success to today?
GJ: Um, dedication, hard work and learning good skills along the way. There is also a determination that we guys over thirty can go out there and represent ourselves well. Just being an athlete, if you still have that drive and feel like your capable in accomplishing your goals that are still out there for you, then we are not yet ready for the rocking chair. We can still go out there and show that. I’m proud to go out there and represent us over 30 year olds.
BC: Being that age, how much further do you think you will go in the ring?
GJ: As long as I am still whipping these younger guys, the so called toughest of the bunch, represent myself well, and the people still enjoy watching me fight, I will continue to do it. I don’t know when I will retire yet, and until I can’t go out there and do it anymore, I will gladly walk away.
BC: After your career is done inside the ring, do you plan on just walking away from the sport or would you like to get into training fighters?
GJ: No, I would definitely like to walk away from the sport. The only part of the sport I would be interested in being a part of would be fight announcing or commentating. I would also like to have a hand in making the sport a better sport, to make it a more just sport for the underdog. Make boxing more like the NBA or the NFL, where you have a commissioner overseeing what everyone else is doing, so judges can’t make bad decisions and have no one to answer to. So something like that I would be a part of, otherwise I won’t be a part of the game.
BC: Besides being a fighter, are you also a fan of the sport of boxing?
GJ: I am a fan of the sport. I love boxing, but I hate to see a young man go out there and work so hard, only to get cheated out of a decision. It is so hard to prepare for a fight and when you see a guy that we have never heard about, go out and win a fight that we believe they should lose, and then you know they have put a lot of hard work and dedication into their training. They deserve that victory; they deserve that shot, a chance to provide for their family, to change your life and your family’s life. When you do what you are supposed to do, you should reap the reward, which is what our country is built upon. This is what we tell our children, it is what we believe in the US. But time and time again, they rip this opportunity away from the guy who may only have one opportunity and just give it to somebody that doesn’t need it. Someone who is already famous or rich, that has so much already, and you take it away from somebody that is unfortunate to give it to someone who is fortunate. That is painful to me, and is the only part of the sport of boxing that I hate to see, hate to watch and hate to be a part of.
BC: Are there any fighters you would say are your favorite to watch?
GJ: My favorite fighter out there is Manny Pacquiao.
BC: I also know that you are a football fan, but cheer for the Miami Dolphins. I am really sorry for that fact.
GJ: (Laughs) Come on man, take that back! Miami Dolphins are my team, you better take that back! When you are a fan of a team, you know there will be times of down moments, rebuilding times, whatever the case may be, but if you are a true fan, you stick with them. That is what a true fan does with his team. You have a lot of people who will jump off a bad team and jump on whatever good team is out there. That’s not being a fan, that’s being a bandwagon. I fully support the Dolphins if they win; I fully support the Dolphins if they lose. They are my team, I go up with them and I go down with them.
BC: When it is all said and done for you and you have retired from the ring, what type of legacy do you want people to remember about Glen Johnson?
GJ: Ah man, I really don’t know. My goal is to be able to make a difference in boxing, to make it a more even or just sport. What we believe in, what we were told as children to go out there and do what you are supposed to do and you will be rewarded. I would love to be a part of that in the sport of boxing, to make it the sport it is supposed to be. I would love for that to be my legacy.
BC: Glen, the floor is yours. What would you like to tell the legions of Glen Johnson fans and the readers of Convicted Artist Magazine?
GJ: Well, I would love to say to the Glen Johnson fans, they are the greatest fans in the world. They know that the rug has been pulled out from underneath me a couple of times, and you guys have stuck with me through the good times and the bad, that is what true fans are about. That is what I just finished talking about; sticking with my Dolphins if they are going up or they are going down. Just being a part of something you believe in. I’m thankful for all of the support that they have given me throughout the years. I’m very thankful that they stick with me and they see what I do and how much passion I bring to it. I try my best to satisfy them, I hope I never disappoint them when I go out and represent because it is what I train hard to do and is the reason why I do the sport. I obviously box to make a living for myself, but to also leave people pleased after I am done working.