People have been saying light heavyweight Glen Johnson is underrated for so long now that Johnson has become the most overrated fighter in boxing.
Johnson (49-12-2) is a hardworking high-volume puncher with solid skills and great stamina. He’s won a title and defeated some excellent fighters throughout his 15-year career. But he’s also lost, frequently and consistently, since he began campaigning at a world-class level.
In April, 2008, Johnson took on division champion Chad Dawson on Showtime. The two waged a decent scrap – both men had their moments – but Dawson ultimately prevailed 116-112 on all three judges’ scorecards, allowing him to keep his title.
Fast forward to May of this year. Dawson, still champion, outpointed Antonio Tarver for the second time in seven months. Tarver and Johnson split their two fights in 2005 and 2006, with Tarver coming on top in the rematch.
So now, because Tarver, who lost to Dawson decisively in the pair’s first encounter, was granted the second shot, writers have been clamoring for Johnson to get a second crack at Dawson as well.
Sorry fight world, but boxing has never worked that way.
Just because Tarver was granted an unwarranted second fight against Dawson doesn’t mean Johnson will be given the same opportunity. Dawson is a 27-year-old champion in his prime who has beaten enough solid opposition to earn a place amongst the world’s best pound-for-pound fighters. He doesn’t owe a 40 year-old who is 7-3 in his last ten fights anything.
Sure, there are other reasons for writers wanting Johnson to get a second crack at Dawson. Johnson is a humble boxer who loves fighting and always brings his best. He’s one of the sport’s nice guys, and he fights the best opposition available. Why not give him a big-money fight for a championship, especially when the light-heavyweight division is so weak?
The answer to the above question lies in Dawson’s position in the sport. Why should Dawson, who could potentially land a mega fight against Bernard Hopkins or Joe Calzaghe, fight a dangerous contender he’s already beaten?
Realistically, if Dawson and Johnson were to meet again, Dawson would win another unanimous decision but take significant punishment doing so. Johnson, despite being outboxed, would get his fair share of licks in, much like he did in the first fight.
Dawson doesn’t need to take such punishment because he’s already done it once before. He’s climbed the Johnson mountain and doesn’t need to go down and climb it again. “Bad” Chad is champion now and has the right to fight different opponents.
Further, despite the media clamor for Dawson-Johnson II, Johnson is by no means in a position at 175 pounds to be deserving of an immediate title shot. Though a terrific top-ten fighter these past few years, Johnson is, in big fights, better at losing closely than winning. He’s suffered defeats to Dawson, Tarver, and even Clinton Woods since 2005, and his only wins have been against fringe contenders. Johnson only gets so much media praise because of the adversity he’s overcame in his career.
And although Hopkins and Calzaghe remain the only super fights for Dawson at 175 pounds, there are still many solid opponents aside from Johnson. Australian Danny Greene, Canadian Adrian Diaconu, and American Shaun George have all been hot lately – why doesn’t Dawson fight them? Heck, even Woods deserves a shot because he beat Johnson.
I don’t like the idea of Dawson-Johnson II. It’s overrated.