by Hans Olson
Lucian Bute and Glen Johnson weighed in at the Laurier Quebec Mall in front of a Bute-crazy crowd in Quebec City earlier today. With weights of 166.5 (Johnson) and 167.5 (Bute), both fighters looked in terrific shape, and ready for action.
Photo: Tom Casino/Showtime
“I feel great!” said an excited Glen Johnson as I caught up with him immediately after the weigh-in. I asked Glen what he feels he needs to do to win the fight tomorrow night, a fight that Lucian Bute, the best Super Middleweight in the world, is heavily favored to win.
“Keep beatin‘ asses!” exclaimed a confident Johnson. Did Glen see anything in the ‘close-to-100 rounds’ he sparred with Bute a few years ago? “I pay no attention to the sparring. Sparring is not that relevant. I have a game-plan put in place based on the way he fights and everything. For him specifically. We’re ready to fight.”
Does Glen take a certain pride in taking this fight, a fight that others such as Kelly Pavlik and Mikkel Kessler turned down? “Of course. Definitely. I have to take these fights. This is how I made my name. I take the tough challenges. The ones that look like they’re not doable, I come and do them. That is the extra credit that I keep on working towards getting.”
Glen’s manager Henry Foster shared some thoughts with me as well. “I’m very excited about it. I’m looking forward to it—I think that it’s going to be a tremendous fight and I love our chances,” said Henry. “Glen just has to do what he does best, which is come out and put on steady pressure and just bring his A-game.”
At Glen’s age, he’s a marvel with these big fight opportunities. Something Henry agreed with. “You know, he’s shown himself to be competitive with all the young champions today. In fact, the last fight where we lost a majority decision—one of the judges made it a draw. And that was against a great champion Carl Froch. So Glen has retained his relevancy for these relevant fights, because of the quality of his performances.”
Jo Jo Dan was on hand, showing support for his fellow Romanian as he prepares for a huge fight of his own in a few weeks against Selcuk Aydin. “So far, so good,” said Jo Jo after I asked him how training camp has been going thus-far. “I’ve had preparation for like 2 months, and everything is great…I can’t wait to fight, I’m excited to fight!”
Jo Jo and his team will leave for Turkey on November 19. After being robbed in their first meeting, I asked Jo Jo if he thinks he’ll need a knockout to secure a victory this time. “My plan is to win every round,” continued Jo Jo. “If the opportunity comes to knock him out, I won’t waste that chance.”
Fast rising prospect Kevin Bizier, who fights Christian Bladt on tomorrow’s undercard, took a few minutes to chat with Boxing Insider as well. “I feel great!” said Bizier, who will spar with Miguel Cotto starting next week in Cotto’s preparation for Antonio Margarito. “On the 8th we go to Miami to begin sparring with Cotto,” said Bizier, brimming with excitement. “I’m very excited to spar with him!” If Kevin gets the job done tomorrow night against Bladt as many expect him to do, we’ll see him back in action on December 17 right here in Quebec City against an opponent TBA.
Glen Johnson’s co-promoter Lou Dibella was on hand. It’s been a busy week for Lou, and he shared some of his thoughts on a number of topics.
On what Glen Johnson needs to do to win tomorrow night:
“I mean, Bute’s young. He’s fresh. Glen, I think is as tough as nails, and still one of the best at this weight. Even better than he was at 175, even though he’s 42 years old. We have no illusions about the difficulty of this fight. It’s a very difficult fight. I think that Glen has to get Lucian’s attention and hurt him. It’s going to be a fight no matter what. These guys know each other very well. I expect Bute to show Glen a lot of respect and probably box heavily from the outside, use his jab. But Glen has to make it a rumble.”
On promoting Jermain Taylor’s next fight:
“Well, I was aware of the fact that he had been checked out in Arkansas and they approved him to fight. But he went to the Mayo clinic that approved him to fight, the Cleveland clinic that approved him to fight. The Nevada State Athletic Commission medical board 5.0 approved him to fight, and they sent him to the neuro division of the Mayo clinic, which is in Nevada, and they also said he was fine. Jermain has also made a lot of lifestyle changes. He’s in great shape physically. He had some bad habits before his time off. I know him very well, and I think that I’m going to be somewhat cautions. But he’s got a good management team with Al Haymon and he’s back with Pat Burns as his trainer. It’s a very different situation than it was when I stepped away.”
On the next move for Sergio Martinez:
“I hope Mayweather or Pacquiao! I just have my great doubts that that fight’s going to happen between Pacquiao and Mayweather. I hope it does for the sake of boxing. But if it doesn’t, Maravillla is the biggest fight for either guy. And I think with the enticement of him going down to 150, that it’s possible. If it’s not possible, we’re looking to get back in the ring in March. Maybe a St. Patty’s day situation against one of the Irish middleweights.”
On the negotiation process with either Mayweather or Pacquiao (weights, drug testing, etc.)
“My guess is that either Floyd or Pacquiao would want to get the greatest advantage over Sergio, and the way to do that is to force him down in weight. But Sergio weighed 158-ish for his fight with Barker, and actually weighed less than that the day of the press conference and he had steak and dessert! And he had breakfast and lunch the day of the weigh-in and made 158. You know, 154 is not a hardship for him. He’s a natural 154 pounder. 150 on the other hand, is a hardship. But it’s maybe the kind of equalizer to entice Pacquiao or Floyd into the fight. And we’d do the testing of course. We’d do the testing anyway.”
Interbox’s Jean Bedard then took time out of this busy promotion to share some thoughts.
“I think we’ve worked very hard since the beginning step-by-step to build a fan-base,” said Bedard of Lucian’s popularity. “Lucian is very generous with the people. They love him as a guy, but they also love him as a boxer. That’s how we achieved this. This is a big step. Everyone knows Glen Johnson, all his skills. It’s a big step for him if he wins clearly against Glen Johnson.”
Finally, I got a word with Pier Olivier Cote, who will fight Jorge Luis Teron on the televised undercard tomorrow night on Showtime. “I’m very happy to be on Showtime, it’s a privilege for me,” said Pier. “I trained a lot with a fighter who resembles Teron very much, so I have a few tricks and I’ll know how to take the fight to him!”
Stay tuned for more exclusive Boxing Insider coverage live from Quebec City…
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson