By Clive Bernath
When Miami –based Jamaican Glengoffe Johnson meets Clinton Woods (picture //www.mr-will.co.uk/">Mr.Will) in an IBF light-heavyweight final eliminator at the Ponds Forge International Sports Centre in Sheffield on September 5, all the 34 year-old father of three is hoping for is a fair shake if the fight goes to the scorecards.
Johnson has lost only nine of his 49 fights, often in his opponent’s own back yard, but insists that of all his defeats only two were legitimate losses. Johnson has dropped controversial decisions to Silvio Branco in Italy, Omar Sheika in Philadelphia and Julio Cesar Gonzalez in California, but claims he was ‘ripped off’ each time.
I never have no favours, said Johnson in a telephone interview from Miami, recently. I always have to go into my opponents back yard like I’m doing with the Clinton Woods fight. A lot of times I don’t get the fair shake but you know, what you gonna do? I have a career and a family to feed and you know I have to do what I have to do. Some guys are lucky, they have people taking care of them. I’m not in that boat.
There is little doubt that Johnson, who’s Christian name is Glengoffe and not Glencoffe (as most people in the trade refer to him) could provide Woods with the toughest fight of his career, outside of Roy Jones Jr.
Johnson was a late starter to the sport of boxing and did not lace on a pair of gloves until he was 20 years-old and that was only because he wanted to lose some weight and found a gym in Miami that was free to use.
After three years in the amateurs that saw Johnson win 35 of his 40 bouts, the deceptively underrated former WBC Intercontinental super-middleweight champion, decided to turn professional in 1993 and quickly romped to 32 straight wins before losing to Bernard Hopkins for the IBF middleweight title in July, 1997.
Even six years ago Hopkins, who is now the undisputed world middleweight champion, was a class act and stopped Johnson in the 11th round.
Johnson lost his next two in a row against Merqui Sosa and Joseph Kiwanuka before winning four on the spin to earn a crack at the still undefeated Sven Ottke for the IBF super-middleweight crown in November, 1999. Johnson lost a unanimous but close decision on all three judges cards, again in his opponent’s back yard of Dusseldorf , Germany.
The Joseph Kiwanuka fight was definitely a rip off but I cannot say that about the Merqui Sosa fight to be honest. That fight could have gone either way said Johnson. The Ottke fight was close but I think I won it. They gave the fight to him by one or two points I think but that speaks for itself.
According to Johnson, the three consecutive points defeats after Ottke to Syd Vanderpool Silvio Branco and Omar Sheika, were the most controversial of all.
Vanderpool was a rip off and Silvio Branco was the biggest rip off of my whole career, claims Johnson. Wow, I don’t even think he (Branco) won a whole round in the fight. Get a tape of the fight and watch it? Sheika was another rip off. Get a tape and watch that one? I spanked him (Sheika) so badly and they gave it to him. That fight was in Philadelphia.
I don’t even want to talk about the Derek Harmon fight, added Johnson. Oh man. I must say this is boxing, man. Some People have very little conscience in this sport. I have said this so many times. But when I come and see my family, I know I have to feed them and support them, you know?
You see when I keep telling people I keep getting ripped off it sounds like I’m in denial. But when people have seen (tapes) and watched for themselves it’s a better story for people to come up with their own opinion. So get all those tapes? Get them and watch them?
I lost to Bernard Hopkins and the Sosa fight could have gone either way and there were a couple of close fights in there that I think I won but you know most of the other fights I thought I won, man.
So what makes Johnson think that he won’t get ‘Ripped off’ again when he meets Woods in his hometown of Sheffield on a //www.888.com">www.888.com sponsored card, promoted by the Fight Academy on September 5?
Hopefully we have human beings who have a heart, said Johnson, referring to the three IBF officials that will judge his fight against Woods. You know, I hope they don’t take my glory and give it to someone else because I have a family to feed just like the next man. So just give it to the man who wins the fight, that’s all I ask. I’m not asking for any favours, I’m just asking for honesty.
As far as experience goes, Johnson has fought the better class of opponent and could start arguably the favourite against Woods.
I’ve fought way better guys than Clinton Woods has fought, there no comparison insists Johnson. But he’s in there with some of the best fighters that I’ve fought, he’s a good fighter I have a lot of respect for him. As far as our competition, he has not faced the competition that I’ve faced. The only guy that he’s fought that is anything is Roy Jones, he’s the best fighter in the world and I give him credit for that but he hasn’t fought any other good guys after that. I have consistently fought top 10 guys.