Boxing


Sharkie’s Machine: Glen Johnson Speaks The Truth

tarver woodsBy Frank Gonzalez Jr., photo by Tom Casino / Showtime-- April 12th, 2008 - Saturday night at the St. Pete’s Forum in Tampa Florida, WBC Light Heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (26-0-1 NC, 17 KO’s) defended his title against one of the toughest guys in all boxing, former IBF Light HW champ, Glen Johnson (47-12-2, 32 KO’s).

At 39 years of age, Johnson is nearing the end of his boxing career but he showed that he still had plenty left in him as he battled highly regarded Dawson through 12 hard fought rounds and on my scorecard, won the fight. Johnson is no stranger to bad decisions and he let the world know how he felt about it during the post fight interview, which I recorded word for word at the end of this article.

During the fight, Dawson was mostly backing up as Johnson pressured him constantly and was able to land the better, more damaging shots throughout. Between the two combatants, it was Dawson who was visibly hurt on a few occasions. Though Dawson is reputed to have big power, it was Johnson’s workmanlike punches that proved more powerful. The crowd cheered wildly when Johnson stepped up on the ropes after the fight. They booed when the uncertain looking Dawson did the same.

All three Judges scored this fight the exact same way, 116-112 in favor of Dawson, who was digging deep in the last few rounds to save himself from being knocked out. The crowd at the St. Pete’s Forum rightly booed the decision.

In close rounds, the favorite usually gets the nod and that is simply not right. It’s not fair to the fighters, the fans or the sport that after all is said and done inside the ring, three people, who are unaccountable to anyone save the people who pay them, get to decide who wins—often times without regard for reality.

Dawson put on a brave performance against a guy who stunned, staggered and hurt him in various rounds. There were a few times I thought Dawson would get knocked out or at least hit the canvas, but to his credit, he showed tremendous heart, followed his corner’s instructions and stayed up and kept boxing till the end. It wasn’t enough to win the fight but it was enough to demonstrate his quality. During the post fight interview, Dawson showed what is really in his heart. Johnson expressed his disgust with the decision and what he said was on point!

Lets go backwards here and start with the post fight interviews after Dawson got the nod 116-112 on all three official score cards to win by Unanimous Decision and the crowd booed to show its dissatisfaction with the official decision.

*

Interviewer: Do you think you were able to execute your plan tonight?

Chad Dawson: “Yeah, we wanted to come out and box. I out boxed him and out pointed him and we did that.”

Interviewer: I have to say, this looks like it was the toughest fight of your career. Would you agree with that?

CD: “It definitely was the toughest fight of my career. I give Glen Johnson all the credit in the world. He came out, fought like a true champion. His name is the Road Warrior and he fought like a warrior but I executed my game plan, put rounds in the bank and I came out and I did that.”

Interviewer: Did he hurt you at all? In the third round, you looked like you were stunned.

CD: “Yeah, he’s a strong fighter. He caught me with a few good shots. But like I said, I trained too hard for this fight and you know, I came out victorious in a unanimous decision.”

The interviewer turned to Glen Johnson.

Interviewer: Glen, that was a tremendous fight, congratulations, you look better than a lot of 39 year olds out there. What do you think about the young champion? I know he said that you’re the Dean of the Division. Were you impressed by this young fighter?

Glen Johnson: “He’s a good fighter—but not good enough to beat me. Everyone here in the audience saw it and everybody that’s watching HBO, I’m sorry; I mean, Showtime, saw it. I can’t believe at my age, at 39, they would rip me off like this for a young, talented young guy who has the world in his hands in the future. I’m on my last legs, going for my future, trying to pay my bills just like he do, but I work hard and I win the fight and I deserve it. I don’t understand how people find it in their hearts to do what they did to me, time and time again. I love people and I try to put my trust in people and they continue to let me down. The Judges…America needs to protest what’s going on in boxing today. If this is how it has to be for people to be successful…it’s not about boxing and using your skills and win the fight it’s about politics and who you know. It should be abolished!”

Interviewer: All right well, do you want a rematch?

GJ: “Of course I want a rematch (behind Johnson, his corner man says, “They won’t give him a rematch!”) But I shouldn’t have to get a rematch on this side of the fence. I should get a rematch from the side of the winner because that is what I deserve. And he knows and his promoter knows I tell everybody, I tell Showtime that if I win the fight I give him a rematch like that. I’m afraid of nobody. I fight every man in the world. I never duck or hide from anyone. I fight it all off. Look at this? (Showing how flat his glove was after fighting) I fought my heart out and they still have the nerve to rip me off! He (Dawson) should protest it!”

The interviewer turned back to Dawson.

Interviewer: I think you both fought your butts off tonight. Would you take a rematch?

Chad Dawson: “Like he said, I’m a young, talented fighter, you know, and I’m looking forward…maybe if he went home and watched the fight he’d see that I landed more punches, landed more shots but like I said, I’m looking to fight the best. Glen Johnson was one of the best. I took care of business, its time to move on.”

Interviewer: Are you planning on staying in this weight class or do you think you’ll move down to 168?

CD: No, I’m going to stay at light heavyweight, this is my calling, if there’s no other fights for me at LHW, maybe I’ll go down to 168. I’ll just talk to my promoter Gary Shaw and see what’s on the table next.

Interviewer: So, you’d rather move on to somebody else than to fight Glen Johnson again?

CD: “I mean, like I said, I’m a young guy, I’m looking forward, like he said, I got the whole world in my hands. He fought a great fight. It was a great fight but I executed my game plan, I came out and boxed, I landed more punches, better punches. He’s a great fighter, I take nothing away from him but I did my job.”

Interviewer: We had talked in our fighter meetings about your chin; you were sort of frustrated that people said you have a weak chin. Yet that did seem to be the place where he hurt you tonight.

CD: “He caught me with some good shots. But I didn’t go down, I stood right there. He caught me with some good shots but hey, I stood up to him. I’m there.”

Interviewer: What are you thinking of the fight after yours. Antonio Tarver and Clinton Woods? Predictions?

CD: “I’m going to shower up and then come watch that fight. Predictions, I have a prediction but may the best man win.”

* *

Clearly, Dawson has no interest in a rematch with the man who just beat him in the eyes of most fans who saw the fight. I don’t know how anyone can think Dawson won this fight, but what is most disturbing is Dawson’s disinterest in a rematch. He got the decision, so he would keep his title and get a chance to show the fans who weren’t convinced the first time, that yes, he can beat Glen Johnson, who he acknowledged, is one of the best. Isn’t that the way a “champion” should think? Too many of today’s champions are businessmen first and warriors second, and that’s a damn shame.

Article posted on 13.04.2008



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