In a surprising bit of news, promoter Lou DiBella tells Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com that Glen Johnson has entered the discussion to replace Mikkel Kessler in stage three of the Super Six World Boxing Classic.
Reeno also says that Sakio Bika has officially turned down the chance to replace Kessler and fight Allan Green for "personal reasons."
Johnson is a surprise for obvious reasons to many, I'm assuming, but let's first look at what makes sense about it. For one thing, he's a good fighter still, recently going the distance in a tough, grueling fight with Tavoris Cloud, which Cloud won narrowly on the scorecards. For another thing, he's never had any issue about fighting anyone, really. He's taken on the best for years. The biggest thing that would make him ideal is that he's promoted by DiBella, who also promotes Green. That means that DiBella could have an easy time making a Green-Johnson fight. Another promoter isn't dragged into the Super Six, which has already started to spiral a little bit, no matter what PR spin anyone wants to put on it.
The sticking point is weight. Johnson has been fighting at 175 full-time since July 2001, when he went up in weight and knocked out Thomas Ulrich. He hasn't made the 168-pound limit since September 2000. That's ten years. Johnson is now 41 years old, and no matter how much praise he gets for always being in shape, the truth is he's been a bit sluggish of late at 175. He and Cloud cut a good pace, but that pace fairly well drained Johnson by the end of the fight. Not to mention, Johnson has been hitting the limit fine on the scales, coming in at 173½, 173¼ and 173 for his last three fights, but he's also ballooned in weight overnight, coming in around or a bit above 190 on fight night.
DiBella says Johnson believes he wouldn't have trouble cutting down to 168, but realistically there's almost no way a 41-year-old fighter doesn't have trouble cutting to a weight he hasn't made in a decade. There has been talk of Johnson moving up to cruiserweight following his last two defeats to Cloud and Chad Dawson, and if he's going to change division, up is the way to go, not down.
Making the whole thing even more tough to believe is that Green also had trouble making 168 for his fight with Andre Ward, it was reported, and he was considering a move up to 175. They'd be scheduling a super middleweight fight between a guy who hasn't made the weight in 10 years and a guy who just had difficulty getting there, or at least said he had some trouble.
If the fight is made, it may wind up on the November 6 card headlined in Las Vegas by Juan Manuel Lopez-Rafael Marquez. Showtime would be in something of a desperate position trying to find room for the fight in the remainder of 2010, and putting the two DiBella fighters on a card headlined by a Top Rank fighter and a Gary Shaw fighter is about the only option they really have, other than sending them both to Montreal as part of their December 18 PPV event main evented by Jean Pascal (GYM) and Bernard Hopkins (Golden Boy), and paying to see a portion of the Super Six, which has been free so far, would probably not sit well with many people, especially considering it's two replacements in the tournament.