Last night in Quebec City, Lucian Bute cruised past Glen Johnson with a near-shutout victory on the scorecards. There isn't a lot more to say about the boring, one-sided decision than we said last night, but there is more to say about something that happened after.
After the fight, Glen Johnson said, " "I thought I won the fight. I don’t think he was landing anything. ... My right arm swelled up in about the fourth round so I couldn’t throw my big right hand. I basically beat him with one hand. ... It’s tough winning the fights on the road in these guys’ hometowns."
Now, I know that fighters have to talk, or at least they think they do, so at minimum, this isn't unusual. But it's really, really absurd, and doesn't lend itself well to Johnson's image as the gentleman fighter, an honest working man's pugilist who may not have ever had A-level skill, but became, for a time, an A-level fighter.
Glen Johnson has gotten some bum decisions in his time. A good number of his 16 losses were decisions that could have gone his way, some that should have. But Johnson has gotten so used to complaining about being robbed that he apparently doesn't believe it's even possible for him to lose decisions any longer.
Johnson had complaints after losses to Carl Froch and Tavoris Cloud. OK, those I can live with. They were competitive fights, and while I believe he did indeed deserve the Ls put on his record, at least they were within the realm of reality.
But last night Johnson did nothing effectively. The idea that Bute wasn't landing anything when Bute grossly outlanded Johnson and outworked the veteran in everything but exhibition-only jabs is preposterous. Maybe Johnson really knows that and just had to go into his routine. Or maybe he's become delusional, and the idea of him being such a lovely human being and admirable fighter has given him the slack to do it without fear of being called out for a level of absurd whining that would have boxing fans jumping all over someone like Floyd Mayweather, Bernard Hopkins, David Haye, Antonio Margarito, Andre Dirrell, Carl Froch, Anthony Mundine, etc.
You know, your villains. Not white hat Glen Johnson.
This isn't even the first time this has happened. After he was routed and made to look old in his 2009 rematch with Chad Dawson, which was less one-sided than this one although scored far too close by two of the ringside judges, he complained then that he thought he'd won.
At least that time, two of the judges gave him a fool's argument with their 115-113 scores. And at least that time, Johnson showed some fire in the ring, and though easily controlled by Dawson for nearly the entire fight, Johnson gave the impression he was trying to make Dawson uncomfortable. Or beat him. Or anything.
Last night's display against Bute had nothing of the sort. Johnson came out and anchored himself at a distance that gave him no shot to win the fight. He was consistently short on just about everything he threw. His greatest chance in the fight was to get inside, which he often does, and to make his opponent uncomfortable, which is his bread and butter.
He didn't do it. He stayed there. Outside. The only time anyone pressured to get closer, it was Bute, knowing for certain that Johnson's no-steam shots weren't going to hurt him.
Bute showed proper respect early. When it became clear that his sparring buddy wasn't going to do more than give him a workout, he made a few charges.
Johnson took them, seemed to feel many of Bute's shots, and just waited. And waited. And stood there. And stood there.
Sure, he threw his hands a good bit. But with no intent. With no passion.
Glen Johnson is a good fighter. He's a good guy. Whatever happened last night is what it is. I have no great desire to spend much more thought on Bute vs Johnson. Bute wins and goes forward. Johnson lost, clear and fair and square, and largely because he didn't fight like he was Glen Johnson. Maybe he would have lost anyway, but he at least could have given himself the chance to make his complaints look remotely valid.
Maybe he had the complaint on his mind more than the fight.