Glen Johnson Interview: “The Best Guys Need To Compete … Don’t Listen To The Commentators”
Interview By Sam Geraci
The following interview with Glen Johnson took place on July 12th, 2012 at the Palmer House in Chicago immediately before Johnson made weight for his July 13th fight against Andrzej Fonfara at the UIC Pavilion.
SG: Let’s get right to it. What happens after this fight assuming that you win?
Glen Johnson: We’ll look at the fight and then see who wants to fight. They got Bernard Hopkins out there and we’ll see if he’s interested. Certainly, there is Kelly Pavlik. We’ll see. He says he wants to make another step up so we’ll see.
SG: How much longer do you intend to fight?
Glen Johnson: It all depends on how I’m feeling. I don’t really have a time slot. It could be in the next fight or it could be two more fights; I don’t know maybe a year or two years later.
SG: I mean, you don’t have the story like many boxers or athletes in that you have to fight do you?
Glen Johnson: I’m okay. I’m decent. I’m not where I want to be, but all of us are greedy in that way.
SG: In the boxing world, we always knew you could fight but after the Roy Jones fight you really exploded. What was it like around the world for you after you dominated Jones?
Glen Johnson: It was nice. The welcoming and the expectations were through the roof. I fought hard for many years without any recognition, and so after the Roy Jones fight I finally started getting some recognition which I was thankful for.
SG: Was that best for you? What has been the pinnacle so far?
Glen Johnson: My highest point was when I fought everybody and got fighter of the year. That was my pinnacle.
SG: What are you most proud of outside of the ring?
GJ: Outside of the ring I love the way I am able to maintain my sanity in this crazy world of boxing. You know, people kinda lose respect a lot and go off and I am glad I never fell into that.
SG: As a follower of the sport, I think you have the best quote I’ve ever heard: “I’m not the best; I’m just the guy willing to fight the best.” Is that how you want to be remembered?
Glen Johnson: You know, I just want to be remembered as somebody who tried to do it the right way. Respectfully. I don’t want to go out disrespecting anybody. I don’t have to disrespect my opponents to compete against them. I just want to do it the right way and make as much money as I can doing it the right way.
SG: Besides your ability to take a punch, when looking at each of your attributes: speed, defense, power or skills as a fighter, nothing stands-out as really special but when looked at as a whole fighter you have been special. What is it that has made you a special fighter?
Glen Johnson: I think detail. Just paying attention to where a guy is and where a punch is coming from so you can set something up. I really pay attention to the details. You know, I think my all-around knowledge of boxing is probably my strongest point.
SG: I’ve been asking this to a lot of older fighters, but are you guys still that good or are these guys just not that good?
Glen Johnson: I think I am just that good (laughs). At least I want to believe so (laughs).
SG: Who is the best fighter today?
Glen Johnson: The best fighter today…I don’t know; it’s difficult. I would say the best talent today is probably Chad Dawson. I think he is the best talent but I don’t know if he is the best fighter. I don’t know if he is complete.
SG: Who wins? Dawson or Ward?
GJ: I would say Ward because of where the fight is going to be.
SG: What do you mean by that?
GJ: I just don’t think Dawson fights well under pressure. I just believe the crowd gonna react to anything Ward do and not so much off of anything he do, and I just don’t think he’s mentally strong enough to stay the course without being applauded.
SG:: That fight is everything that is right about boxing. What about the bad side? What don’t you like about the sport right now?
Glen Johnson: I think what’s bad about boxing right now is the bad decisions by the judges. And, you know, you need something in place that says “the best guys need to compete against a certain level of fighter.” You know what I mean. We need the competition to be better. I hate to see the one-sided fight. I don’t like to watch a fight and feel sorry for one guy. I want it to be competitive. I would like to see guys fight people of a certain skill level.
SG: What about PEDs and steroids?
Glen Johnson: I don’t know much about all of that, but if it’s true it’s awful. It’s crazy.
SG: Back to what you know: as someone who has fought at 160, 168, 175 and I think you’ll fight almost anywhere, how much does five or six pounds really matter? I mean you hear so much that it can make or break a fighter.
Glen Johnson: It don’t matter too much to me. Weight is not an issue. I believe my skillset will work well at any weight class.
SG: If you had something to say to younger fighters what would you say?
Glen Johnson: Pay attention to boxing because boxing is about skillset and don’t let your ego get in the way of learning.
SG: What about to the fans? What do the fans not know about the sport that they should?
Glen Johnson: Don’t listen to the commentators most of the time. Look for punches that are scoring and not just the fact that the guy is throwing punches.
SG: When it’s done, when you retire, what are you going to do?
Glen Johnson: I would love to do some color-commentary. If not, I will do my own thing in remodeling homes and in investing in homes by buying and selling. You know, I’ll probably get into some promoting and stage some boxing shows or concert shows.
SG: Is there anything else you want to add?
Glen Johnson: Just thanks to my fans for continuing to stick with me. When times are low, they follow me all the way back to the top.