November 06, 2010
LAS VEGAS _ Glen Johnson has been "old" for a while now. At least what opponents have been saying since 2005. He's with fine that because even at 41 years old, Johnson can still outpace younger fighters and rack up wins.
During the prefight for tonight's Super Six first round match, Allan Green talked about the age gap and that Johnson looked terrible at 168 pounds. It was a nice attempt to psyche himself up, but from the opening bell, the 31-year-old looked like the older fighter who wasn't dealing well with the weight cut.
Green began to fade in the seventh round and then got drilled by a chopping right behind the ear early in the eighth. On the way down, he got hit by another Johnson right for good measure. Green had to be saved by referee Robert Byrd at the 0:36 mark of the round.
In a strange twist, Johnson, only added two months ago to the field, advances to the tournament’s semifinal round.
Between 2001-2010, Johnson carved out a reputation as a grinder in the light heavyweight division, so he wasn’t about to turn down a chance to get into Showtime’s prestigious super middleweight tourney.
"It’s so great to win. It means a lot to me. I’ve dedicated a lot of time to this business," said Johnson. "I‘ve had my ups and downs, but I never quit. I have worked hard for this opportunity and I’m going to make the most of it."
Green’s response to the knockdown was odd. He seemed to have his wits about him, saying three times that Johnson (50-14, 34 KOs) had hit him in the back of the head. Yet he had difficulty rising to his feet, appearing to be on wobbly legs. Seconds after the fight, Green was confused about the stoppage.
"I was fine. He caught me in the back of head a little bit. Though not on purpose,” said Green. "I got up but the referee said it was over."
Byrd said he reached the count of 10 and Green (29-3, 20 KOs) didn't get back to his feet in time.
Throughout the fight, Johnson was excellent on the inside. His early shots to body slowed Green. The Tulsa native stopped moving, and when he did scoot out of the pocket, he was predictable. He kept sliding out to his right.
"He had been leaning that way all night," said Johnson. "I wanted to get close enough. I was patient. Eventually I knew I was going to lands those punches."
Johnson will face the winner of Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham. They meet in Finland on Nov. 27.
"I would pick Abraham if I had my choice (but) I think I size up well with either,” said Johnson. "I feel great at this weight. It was a lot easier than I thought to get down. Age has nothing to do with anything; I may fight into my 60’s."
Johnson's had a star-crossed existence in recent fights, losing a lot of tight decisions. Without the finish, he may have been embroiled in another controversy. Going into the eighth, the Yahoo! boxing blog had it 68-65 for Johnson but two-of-three judges had it 67-66 for Green. At first first glance, the punch stats backed up those judges. Johnson landed only 11 more shots, but he was the cleaner puncher throughout.
Johnson last fought at 168 pounds in 2000. He looked terrific tonight and said he felt more energetic at the lower weight. It showed.