This Saturday night Glen Johnson will step back into the ring for his rematch with Antonio Tarver fighting more than the man he defeated over twelve rounds this past December to become the worlds recognized light heavyweight champion. The Road Warrior will not only be trying to prove to Tarver - the self proclaimed king of rematches (2-0, 2KO’s) that he is the better fighter, but once again Johnson’s victory parade from last winter has be showered with doubt and disbelief from most ringside observers. Call half of his so-called 9 losses gift decisions - even include his win over Tarver as one - and nobody in boxing can say much because everyone is entitled to their opinion. Even if it’s further off than Greg Leon’s 90 second prediction of Tyson over McBride.
Let us all hope that those who consider themselves knowledgeable in the fight game do not try to discredit or take anything away Glen Johnson. The man has earned every ounce of glory his body has sweat and to see him as anything less than a well deserved champion would be nothing more than asking for an Oscar nomination when the whole sport should be able to tell that it is really nothing more than a con job.
This isn’t intended to be a ‘puff piece’ targeting those who doubt Johnson. Do as you may because one thing is for certain, Glen Johnson will not let the naysayers get in his way of going out and defending the pride he wears on his sleeve against Antonio Tarver this weekend.
Johnson has always been a blue collar fighter who despite not being a hall-of-fame caliber fighter, gives fight fans what they want by continuously engaging in fan friendly fights with loads of aggression and non stop pace. It was his hectic pace and work rate that froze Antonio Tarver last winter and there’s no reason to believe history won’t repeat itself.
Boxing has a long history of people rooting for the underdog, but in Johnson’s case the story falls short. There’s no telling what it is about Johnson that turns people away. Even after beating Tarver the boo-birds came out and proclaimed that it was a ‘robbery’ and Tarver just can’t get the close decision. Ironically, it has been Johnson who has been on the tough end of calls his entire career, and most of the time the call wasn’t even close folks.
There are no flukes in boxing. Period. Fools would tell you otherwise, but we must learn to ignore these types of bandwagon fans, especially with the state of boxing at this point and time. Johnson’s win over Tarver was no more a fluke than Tarver’s magical punch on the chin of the late Roy Jones Jr. Things happen in the ring for a reason and that winter night Johnson was the winner. Like it or not, he was the better fighter.
“Once is luck, twice is skill.” Not sure who coined the phrase, but I’m sure we’ve all heard it used. Although it’s not always true in boxing, more times than not it comes through. Thus, the purpose of the rematch. Glen Johnson has a chance on Saturday to take the clean sweep from Antonio Tarver, which is something no fighter has been able to do the second time around. The odds seem impossible, but ask anyone about the odds of Glen Johnson being named 2004's Fighter of The Year and you’ll likely get the same answer.
The sequel may turn out to be the same exact type of fight as the first one, and it’s possible Tarver will move to 3-0 in rematches. But to count out the Road Warrior goes without saying.
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