Glen Johnson, who turns 44 on January 2, says that he'll rely on his experience to combat unbeaten young foe George Groves when he travels to London on December 15 to face the 24-year-old Hammersmith fighter, and believes he's still the better all-around fighter.
"From what I've seen of Groves he's a good strong kid with lots of talent and he's coming up in the sport and I know he'll be looking to do a number on me. I've faced the best in the business over the years against the like of Jones, Tarver, Hopkins and I believe that I'm a better all-round fighter. Groves will not show me anything that I haven't seen before, he's got the youth, but I've got the experience and that will count for plenty."
Johnson (51-17-2, 35 KO) will likely need every bit of his ring knowledge to successfully shake up the super middleweight division by knocking off Groves (15-0, 12 KO), a top prospect who holds the Commonwealth title and did hold the British title, of which he was eventually stripped following just one title defense.
Glen Johnson is a fighter that pretty much everyone respects, and for good reason, but he's also a 43-year-old fighter on a three-fight losing streak, which kind of bottomed out when he dropped a decision to Andrzej Fonfara in July. Immediately following that fight, Johnson announced his retirement on ESPN airwaves, but has been quickly brought out of that by a good offer and good opportunity.
Still, as respectable and likable as Johnson may be, Groves should be considered the solid favorite here at this point in the game, and a Glen Johnson revival and win should be considered a sizable upset if it happens. Johnson still knows his way around the ring, but is a good bit past his physical prime, and it's come naturally with age. The other thing to consider is whether or not he's simply doing this for the money to add to a retirement fund -- to me, Johnson hasn't looked heavily invested mentally in either of his last two fights (particularly his awful non-effort against Lucian Bute last November).
But that said, with a fighter like Glen Johnson, it's damn hard to count him out. He should have been out of the picture before he ever truly got into it, and he's had a tremendous career. If he's feeling it on December 15, Groves could have his hands full and then some.
Groves vs Johnson will air on BoxNation in the UK as part of Frank Warren's bill from the ExCel Arena in London, with lightweight titlist Ricky Burns in the main event.