In just under two short weeks, the man who first knocked Roy Jones Jr. unconscious will meet the second man to accomplish such a feat in a Los Angeles ring, and to make the fight happen both were required to give up their championship belts. For Glen Johnson, who has spent his entire career climbing up the ranks to earn a title, giving it up was not an easy choice. But for the former IBF light heavyweight titlist, solidifying an HBO deal, while ensuring himself a bigger payday quickly erases any animosity he has towards the powers that be who had him relinquish his title, and Johnson is ready to prove that he is one to be reckoned with at the 175-pound weight division. BoxingTalk recently spoke with Johnson to get his thoughts on facing Antonio Tarver, how he plans on fighting him, what he will do if victorious against the Magic Man, and why he feels Roy Jones will not be exercising his right to having a rematch with Johnson any time soon. BT: Glen, how has your life changed since beating Roy Jones Jr. last September?
GJ: My life has changed a lot since beating him. I talk to you boxing guys a lot regularly. Nobody cared or knew about Glen Johnson before, but beating Roy Jones shed a lot of light on me, a lot of people recognize me, and it put me in the position to get better paydays, and that’s what it’s all about for me. BT: Going up against Antonio Tarver is a huge fight for you. Both of you have given up championship belts to fight each other. How are you preparing for this big fight?
Glen Johnson: I’m giving it 110% because everything is riding on this fight. I have fought my whole career for a championship title, now I have to give it up just to make a fight happen. So, I’m banking everything on this fight to propel me into the future, and there is dedication to go along with that. BT: Have you been watching any of Tarver’s previous fight tapes to prepare for December 18th?
GJ: Yeah, I’ve viewed a few tapes of him. We have our game plan on what we’re going to do. I’m sure he’s going to come out to do his thing, but I will be there to interrupt all of that. BT: Are you expecting to see the same Antonio Tarver that we saw knock out Roy Jones in the second round?
GJ: I’m expecting the same Antonio Tarver that we saw against Roy Jones. I don’t expect to see anything much different from him. He’s pretty much the same Antonio Tarver that we’ve seen in other fights, but there have been some fights where he’s been in better shape than others BT: It was Tarver’s left hand that knocked Roy Jones out, who had never been taken out like that before. How will you avoid that same left hook?
GJ: My plan is not to go in there and fight his left hand, my plan is to go in there and win the fight by any means necessary. There is a 100% guarantee that I’m going to get hit by Tarver, but it’s a matter of minimizing and taking off as much of his punching power as I can, while at the same time having Tarver pay dearly for trying to hit me. BT: On December 18th, we will see the top two light heavyweights fighting each other. With a victory against Tarver, who is there left to fight for you?
GJ: I’d love to get an HBO deal with this Tarver fight. That would set me up to fight anybody who would want to fight me. A rematch with Antonio Tarver is something I definitely would consider. A rematch with Roy Jones if he’s up to it, and if he can get it together, I’d fight Joe Calzaghe. I’d fight anybody. I’m not one to waste a lot of time picking and choosing which guy I want to fight. I’m about getting in there and taking care of business, and then moving on to the next guy. The hunger for me is still there.BT: Do you have a rematch clause set in your contract if you were to lose to Tarver?
GJ: Yes, there is a rematch clause. If he were to win, we’d definitely do it again. I’m planning on taking care of business, but if necessary do it again. BT: Was there a rematch clause in place when you fought Roy Jones?
GJ: Yeah, there was a rematch clause, but I don’t think he wants any part of that now. When Montell Griffin beat Roy Jones by disqualification, Jones jumped through the roof to get a rematch, that no matter what it took he wanted a rematch. After he fought Tarver the first time, Tarver started talking about how he won the fight, so Jones decided to fight him again. But after I beat him, he didn’t say anything about getting a rematch with me, so that alone speaks for itself. Jones knew what type of situation he was in, and he doesn’t want to put himself back in the same spot. BT: We were all impressed with how aggressive you fought against Roy Jones by attacking him and pressing the action. I know you don’t like to give too much of your strategy away before the fight, but would it be safe to assume that we will see that same aggressive style when you fight Tarver?
GJ: It’s safe to assume that nothing will stop me to win this fight, and that’s it. I’m coming out to win the fight!BoxingTalk thanks Mr. Johnson for taking the time to speak with us. We wish him continued success both in and out of the ring.
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