Veterans and ex-champions Glen Johnson and Jose Luis Castillo will both be featured on the July 13 edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights in Chicago, with Johnson returning to the light heavyweight division and Castillo ostensibly fighting at welterweight.
Johnson (51-16-2, 35 KO) has lost two straight and four of his last six fights, and at 43 is probably on the last legs of his career, and may well be done with the truly relevant portion of it. In 2011, he lost a competitive fight to Carl Froch, but then faced buddy Lucian Bute in November and basically laid an egg, though the "Road Warrior" still managed his usual whining about the scoring despite being shut out over 12 rounds and not putting in any type of sincere effort to win the fight.
But he's done with his rather astonishing experiment at 168 pounds, where he moved down to become a late replacement in the Super Six World Boxing Classic, and is headed back to 175, where he's probably a lot more comfortable in his old age. Johnson will be facing Polish-born Chicago resident Andrzej Fonfara (21-2, 12 KO). The 24-year-old is still basically a prospect, as he's yet to face good competition. On paper, he's the exact sort of fighter Johnson still beats, as "Gentleman" Glen really only comes up short against other top fighters.
Castillo (63-11-1, 54 KO) is 38 years old now, and to call him a shell of his former self would be extremely kind. He's coming off of a win, but more accurately, he's coming off of yet another failure to make weight, when he was heavy in March for a scheduled fight with Jose Miguel Cotto. He was only on that card at all because he's friends with Erik Morales, who also failed to make weight.
Prior to his last fight, he lost to Jorge Paez Jr, a true second-generation mediocrity, and was probably last seen by most getting the crap beaten out of him by Alfonso Gomez on the Pacquiao vs Clottey undercard. Castillo announced his retirement after that shellacking, but predictably was back in the ring just three months later. The Mexican warrior is so shot that he makes Shane Mosley look fresh, so expect nothing in this fight. In fact, don't even expect it to actually happen -- it's 50-50 at best that he even makes weight.
His opponent is scheduled to be Ivan Popoca (15-1-1, 10 KO), another Chicago fighter, originally from Mexico. In Popoca's last fight, he was knocked out by Ruslan Provodnikov on ESPN. Still, he might actually be good enough to beat Castillo at this point, which is pretty troubling for people who remember the lightweight champion who competed in arguably the greatest fight of the last 20 years, and once had an argument for a win over Floyd Mayweather (he's the only guy with a good one, in my estimation).