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Johnson vs. Woods II- Win, Lose, but Please No Draws
Feb 5, 2004 By Brent Hedtke
On November 7th of last year, Glencoffe Johnson, 39-9-2 27 KO's and Clinton
Woods, 35-2-1 21 KO's squared off for the IBF Light Heavyweight strap that
was vacated by Antonio Tarver. The showdown between the two war-torn ring
veterans was the definition of a pick em' fight and more than a few fight
fans were unable to decide on a favorite. For 12 see-saw rounds the
Sheffield native Woods and the Jamaican born Johnson threw every punch in
the book at one another and provided the English crowd with more fireworks
than a Naseem Hamed ring walk. When the final tallies of 116-112, 115-113
and 114-114 were read, it cemented what most observers were thinking; this
one was just too close to call. This time though, neither fighter has any
intention of involving the judges in determining the outcome.
Glen Johnson has seen his share of ups and downs through his nearly eleven
years as a pro. He started off his career with an eye-catching record of
32-0 with 21 ending inside the final bell. Johnson capped off his unbeaten
streak with a unanimous 10 round decision over then undefeated Sam Garr and
a 2nd round TKO of Dave Hamilton.
His first professional loss came at the hands of longtime middleweight king
Bernard Hopkins. The Executioner proved to be too much for the undefeated
challenger and Johnson's corner was forced to throw in the towel in the
sixth round. He has since gone 7-8-2 but he has never looked better than in
his recent controversial draws with Woods and Daniel Judah and his career
defining victory over top contender Eric Harding.
In September of 2002, Clinton Woods became another feather in Roy Jones's
Pound for Pound cap. Most thought Johnson was just an active participant in
Roy's "Bum of the Month Club" (or with Roy's fight schedule, "Bum of the
Year Club"), but Woods has since pulled himself up off of the proverbial
canvas and re-vitalized his career.
Coming off of three consecutive KO victories since the Jones fight, Woods
has garnered himself a #7 ranking by The Ring Magazine (just two spots below
Johnson) and an avid following in his hometown of Sheffield. The first
fight solidified Woods and Johnson as consummate professionals and ring
practitioners of the highest level. The winner of the rematch this Friday
will no doubt raise his profile in the 175 lb. class and possibly swim
closer to the waters in which Tarver and Jones lurk.
So what can we expect from the two in the rematch? Both will be looking to
end it before the 12th and end it convincingly. They know each other's
styles and what to expect from the man in the opposite corner.
Woods will need to use his height and reach advantage to fend off Johnson's
trademark rushes. In the first fight Woods spent too much time on the ropes
which nullified his natural physical advantages over the Johnson and in turn
played right into Johnson's plan of bombarding Woods early in the rounds
and wearing him down.
Johnson on the other hand will need to pace himself and use his jab when he
gets fatigued. He will have to cut off the ring and try to corner Woods and
save his rushes for the right moment. When he finds his "moment" though,
he'll have to try to close the show more effectively than he did in the
first couple rounds of their first encounter when he came out like a
bulldozer. He will have to try to repeat his performance on the inside as
well. When he was able to get in close and work over Woods' body, he made
Clinton's razor like jab seem non-existent. If he can pull all these
aspects together he just might get the victory that many felt he eeked out
the last time around.
Both men would like nothing more than be able to call themselves a
"champion" and win the IBF belt that was kept from them by Hopkins and
Jones, respectively. Once again, this is a pick em' fight just like the
first one. My gut tells me that Johnson will get the decision by a narrow
margin, but expect the unexpected when these two seasoned pro's do it one
more time this Friday night.
Email questions or comments to Brent at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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