by Hans Olson
When news hit yesterday that Kelly Pavlik had pulled out of his scheduled bout this weekend against Darryl Cunningham, it was assumed that Pavlik had also given up the opportunity to fight against the world’s best Super Middleweight, Lucian Bute. Had Pavlik followed through with the Cunnigham fight and won, he would have been guaranteed 1.35 million to get into the ring with Bute in November.
It appears that now, that won’t happen.
After Mikkel Kessler decided to turn down the shot at Bute, Pavlik was seen as the next best opponent. Pavlik, a staple on HBO and Showtime for years, has the most marketability for a mega-fight that Bute has craved since his ascent to the top of the division. With Carl Froch and Andre Ward set to square off in the finals of Showtime’s Super Six Tournament in October, few marquee names in the division remain out there.
When I interviewed Lucian’s trainer Stephane Larouche last month
(http://www.boxinginsider.com/columns/lucian-bute-standing-above-the-super-six/), I asked him who would be next in line if something fell apart with Kelly Pavlik.
His answer was Glen Johnson.
Remembering my chat with Stephane, I got in touch with Glen’s manager Henry Foster to inquire if such a deal to fight Lucian Bute is in the works. “Assuming now that Pavlik is out of that, I think Glen is very high up on the list” said Foster. “We’re pretty good friends with Interbox and their team; I believe Ken Hershman and Showtime would be on board. Glen has performed on their network on numerous occasions quite admirably. All in all, I’d say we’re very high on the list.”
That Glen Johnson is the next in line to fight Bute is perfectly legitimate. He’ll fight against anybody and he’ll fight them hard, and with passion. He’ll need that against Lucian Bute, a fighter that nobody seems to want to get in the ring with. If Kessler and Pavlik both had issues regarding money, would Glen pass up this chance to earn by most standards a very lucrative payday? “From what I understand, Pavlik was receiving in excess of a million dollars,” continued Foster. “We think that Pavlik would probably be earning a premium to what we would expect to get. The fight could definitely be made.”
Since taking a few weeks off from his hard fought decision loss to another one of the divisions upper echelon fighters Carl Froch, Glen has been working hard to stay in fighting shape. “He did take a period of vacation in Jamaica of about two weeks, but yes, he’s in the gym. We’re ready willing and able to fight Bute any place, any time.”
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