A world championship belt is something all fighters dream of attaining. Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson worked for years to finally earn that distinction and the recognition that goes with being a world champion. Unfortunately real world necessities sometimes interfere with the dreams in professional sports and fighters are forced to make decisions of a business nature to better the lives of their families. Such was the dilemma of light heavyweights Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson, who relinquished their championship belts (Tarver WBC, Johnson IBF) in order to face each other in a battle pitting the best against the best on December 18, in a bout many believe will crown the True Champion at 175-pounds.
Both fighters’ promoters (Star Boxing and Goossen Tutor Promotions) worked tirelessly to find a way for both champions to keep their belts for this most important event, but in the end, the only viable option for the futures of both men was to turn in their respective titles.
“Since my second bout with Roy Jones, Jr., a bout in which I proved to the world that I am the best light heavyweight in the world and won back my WBC Light Heavyweight Championship belt, my world has been turned upside down,” (due to legal and financial pressure) wrote Tarver in a letter to the WBC, dated November 4, 2004. It is with great regret that I must inform you that I have concluded that the best route for me and my family is to fight Glen Johnson on December 18, 2004.”
Dan Goossen, promoter and on behalf of Glen Johnson, wrote the following in a letter to the IBF, also dated November 4, 2004.
“I’ve got nothing but pride to let it be known that without the avenue the IBF provided for Glen, he would not be in the position he is today, which is to make in excess of seven figures in this bout,” wrote Goossen. “Amazing dollars for a man that virtually no one gave a snowball’s chance in hell to succeed. We all had to look to the future of his family and kids, which is the one aspect of this ordeal I’m very proud to deliver to our fighter – future financial stability.” Both Tarver and Johnson, strong family men with ‘old-school’ values, can now enter the gym and prepare for the toughest battle of their careers on December 18 having made a very difficult, but necessary decision.