|Interview with Glen Johnson: Against Chad Dawson "We Are Looking For The Knockout!"
Interview by Bob Carroll, Doghouse Boxing (June 2, 2009)
For the last year, former IBF light heavyweight champion Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson 49-12 (33) has been telling anyone who listened, that he wanted a rematch with the last man to beat him, former two time light heavyweight world champion, “Bad” Chad Dawson 28-0 (17). The last fight between the two was deemed an immediate classic. Even though Dawson was awarded a 4 point victory over Johnson, most people who witnessed the fight thought that Glen Johnson had won. Johnson, only the second man to “physically beat” Roy Jones Jr, should have an easy road to any fight he wants, but has always maintained that he is “the most ducked man in boxing” This rematch should help Johnson lose that moniker.
Last Wednesday, Chad Dawson announced that he would relinquish the IBF championship over a mandatory challenge with Tarvoris Cloud, 19-0 (18), which HBO would not let him honor, and then immediately announced he would negotiate a rematch with Glen Johnson. Later that night on Fightin’ Words Radio Show, Johnson broke the news that the negotiations were done and the fight was signed. He also had some strong words about how this fight would be different than the last fight.
Recently Glen Johnson sat down with Doghouse Boxing to talk about his upcoming rematch with Chad Dawson and his plans for the future.
Bob Carroll: Glen, you campaigned very hard for a rematch with Chad Dawson. The first bout between you two could be described as an epic battle. Finally it seems that Dawson has agreed to rematch you. Is there a target date and venue for the fight?
Glen Johnson: No, I don't know of any. They have yet to give me a venue, they have yet to tell me a date. The only thing that we have accomplished so far, they made an offer financially which we accepted. Now we are waiting on paperwork to move forward. That paperwork would have dates and places on it. I don't know if they have those items squared away already and they are just not saying, or they are working on those things as well. One thing I do know, it will be on HBO.
BC: The first fight between you two was probably the best fight of 2008. You lost a decision that most people watching at ringside and on television thought you won. To avoid a repeat of that fight, what do you plan to do differently this time?
GJ: Well, we have a couple of things that we are planning to do differently. I don't think I should reveal those things, but we definitely have a plan. We feel that we won the first fight, and we know that there are a couple of things to do differently so the fight doesn't look as close, it does not look like I am getting hit when I am not, so we are making some changes in those areas. We are going to stay aggressive, you are going to see the original Glen Johnson, I mean I'm not changing that, but there are a few things here and there that we want to fine tune and it will be a big difference. Also, we are looking for the knockout, we are not looking for this fight to go to a decision. If, for some reason, it does go to a decision, we want to make sure we are far, far ahead. There should be a riot if they try to steal it this time.
BC: After the fight, you are standing there as the scores are being read and Chad Dawson announced as the winner, did you feel you had won that fight and how much did it bother you to hear the scores in his favor?
GJ: Well, that was the biggest indicator that the fight was a set up fight. Those judges were not watching the fight, there were just sitting there and at the end of each round, there were just scoring it for Chad Dawson. They were not paying attention. Even though I won the fight, and I know I won the fight, and everyone who was watching, knew that I won the fight. I would never have taken those scores for me because it was a much closer fight than that, you know what I mean? There is no way you can judge that fight with that wide a margin. You don't judge that fight, with as close as a fight that it was, with that wide of a margin, it just doesn't happen. Bob, you just said that it was probably the fight of the year, but the scores saying it was a one sided fight can not be the fight of the year! The judges scores simply say it was, in their minds, a one sided fight. To me that was the biggest statement that this was a fixed fight and the judges saying to me "we really don't care what you are doing Glen, we score it for Chad in this fight."
BC: Have you made any changes to your training or training team since that fight?
GJ: No, my training team is the same. We won't make any changes, my team is my team and I have been with them for a while now and there won't be any changes. I feel quite confident with what we do and we believe we have the winning formula.
BC: Does the fact that there will not be for a major title diminish the meaning of the rematch?
GJ: Not for me, I mean for me, I believe it will be a quality fight and certainly the best fight in the light heavyweight division. Title or not, there is no way that will change the quality of this fight. The most important thing is that TV is interested in it, the fans are interested in it and that proves the quality of the fight.
BC: Since your first fight with Dawson, you have defeated Aaron Norwood and Daniel Judah, but the bigger names stayed away from you. Did you feel that you were being shut out of the top fights due to fear of Glen Johnson?
GJ: I definitely feel that way. The guys do not want to take any risks in fighting me. The guys who have something to lose, do not want to take a chance against me because the don't believe they can beat me. If they believed they could beat me, they would take a chance and fight me. Fighting me would be a money making thing for them. But if they do not believe they can win, then they won't put themselves into a position where they have to fight me. Even with this fight, the fans, the writers such as yourself and other media like HBO really putting the squeeze on Chad Dawson, this fight would not have happened. This guy was ready to go down to super middleweight just to avoid this fight. So again, this is the only way I get rematches or major fights from these guys.
BC: In 2003, you challenged Clinton Woods for the IBF light heavy title, drawing with him in the first fight and then winning a UD in the second. What was it like to finally hold a world title belt over your head?
GJ: It was a great feeling, I mean, we went to England and captured a vacant title. After beating Clinton the first time, they called it a draw, we went back and beat him again. The second time, I came back victorious, with a title. It was my first major belt, major world championship, super excited. I finally felt like I had achieved the crown that I was working so hard for after all those years. It's a feeling that words can not describe.
BC: After winning that belt, you did not take the easy road. Your first defense was against Roy Jones Jr. At this time, Jones was looking to bounce back from his loss to Antonio Tarver. You not only became the second man to actually “beat” Jones Jr., but you knocked him out in the 9th round. Was there something that you saw in Jones that you knew you could beat?
GJ: I always felt like my style of fighting would beat Roy Jones. I told my friends years before that fight, that if I got the chance to fight Roy Jones, I would beat him. They didn't believe me, they laughed at me. When I got that fight scheduled, I was super excited. I was finally going to get the chance to prove what I had been saying for all of those years. I knew all of the people that I said it to and I knew they all were watching, so I could not wait to prove myself right. As big a feeling as it was winning my title, this was a big feeling just accomplishing that goal of beating Roy Jones. Not just getting a lucky knockout or lucky win, but to win that fight totally and then knock him out in the ninth round was just like icing on the cake. It was just a tremendous feeling.
BC: How does it feel to be one of the few men to beat Jones and one of only two to knockout the future hall of famer?
GJ: It's great, you know. I feel that it is a testament to my skills and my fighting ability. That's what I would like that to stand for, not just the fact that I knocked out Roy Jones, he's a great fighter. I want that fight to show that I have the ability to do it. That's how I would like people to feel about that fight. It is just a great accomplishment. I started boxing when I was 20 years old and to be able to learn on the job, and be able to develop the skills and the knowledge I gathered over the years. I am tremendously proud of myself and I feel like, if you put your mind to anything and you really commit yourself to put in the work, if it is humanly possible, you can accomplish it! That is how I look at my career.
BC: You went onto to fight Antonio Tarver, winning one, losing one. Would a rubber match with him be of interest after the rematch with Dawson?
GJ: Yes, definitely. I always tried to get the rubber match with Antonio Tarver. He made it difficult, he tries his best to avoid me. Now, I believe it will be easy for me to get that rematch done because he doesn't have much to lose now, so I believe he will be coming my way soon. I'm looking forward to that and will be working hard to get that fight as well.
BC: In a recent interview for Doghouse Boxing, Shaun George called you out, even implying you are ducking him. Is he a fight you would be interested in taking?
GJ: Shaun George? Who is Shaun George? The name sounds familiar to me. I don't even know who he is, but he sounds familiar. So listen, I really don't know who Shaun George is, the name sounds familiar, but anytime Shaun George wants to fight, I'll be happy to do it. Just let me know where and when and how much, that's it.
BC: After 63 fights, is there one that sticks with you as the toughest fight?
GJ: The toughest fight I have had was against Bernard Hopkins at middleweight. When I fought him, I didn't have the experience that I have now to deal with that level of fighting. I can say that I was taken to school by Hopkins and he was the only person to ever have a run away win against me in my career. That was my toughest fight so far.
BC: Glen, I want to thank you for taking time out of your training day to speak with Doghouse Boxing. You have the floor now, what would you like to say to all of your fans and to the readers of Doghouse Boxing?
GJ: Well Bob, I certainly thank you for the interview and the chance for your readers to get to know a bit more about Glen Johnson. The only other thing I would like to say, before I got the Roy Jones fight, I was scheduled to fight Joe Calzaghe twice and he pulled out both times. After the last time he pulled out, I told my people that I don't want to fool with Joe Calzaghe no more, this guy doesn't really want to fight me, let's find somebody else to fight. That is when the Roy Jones situation came into play and I got the opportunity to have the fabulous over Roy Jones. That is a known fact and I don't know if your readers knew that fact. It is certainly public information.
I'd like to thank Glen Johnson for taking time out of his schedule to talk to Doghouse Boxing. I'd also like to thank Macke Roberts for setting up the interview. For more on Glen Johnson, listen to Bob Carroll, Butch and "THE Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. every Wednesday night from 8-9pm EST on Fightin' Words Radio Show. To listen live via the internet, go to http://1490wwpr.com and look for the "listen here" tab. Also, don’t forget to check out the show’s website at www.fightinwordsonline.com
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