Last night's ESPN Friday Night Fights maybe didn't go as most expected, as Glen Johnson lost a ten round unanimous decision to Andrzej Fonfara and Jose Luis Castillo stopped Ivan Popoca after eight rounds, ending the career of one warrior and prolonging that of another.
Johnson (51-17-2, 35 KO) lost on scores of 99-91, 97-93, and 97-93 to the Chicago resident Fonfara, who improved to 22-2 (12 KO). I will note right now that I have seen neither fight yet, but the 43-year-old Johnson, who lost his third straight, wasn't arguing the decision, and after the bout announced his retirement from boxing.
Johnson gave fight fans a damn fine career, one that I hope will be remembered as it should be. He never ducked a fight or an opponent or even a location. In a boxing landscape where all ideas are treated as acceptable -- fight too tricky, opponent too good, location too biased -- Glen Johnson went after everyone. He won a lot more than he lost, and a lot of his losses were debatable.
He was also for the most part a "Gentleman" -- his secondary nickname after "Road Warrior" -- and though he got a bit silly complaining about robbery losses in the latter part of his career, especially his clear one-sided loss to Lucian Bute, I think you have to look at that through the eyes of the fighter. He said what he thought he had to say. There's no way he really thought he beat Bute, and apparently the 24-year-old Fonfara earned it tonight at the UIC Pavilion.
In the co-feature, Jose Luis Castillo (64-11-1, 55 KO) scores his best win since 2007, beating Popoca (15-2-1, 10 KO) over eight round. Popoca was dropped in the second and cut on an accidental headbutt in the third, and retired after the eight round. Castillo, 38, doesn't have a legit future in the 147-pound division, but if he stays healthy, active, and sane, he could possibly be a valuable gatekeeper. Popoca, 30, is probably finished as someone worth keeping a serious eye on at this point, posting his second straight loss, both by stoppage.