At the top of the Light-Heavyweight division; old is the new young. I cannot think of another era or weight class in which so many ageing fighters remain in control of the paydays and belts. Not even the moribund heavyweight division can match the 175 pounders for supporting the elderly. I’m reminded of the old eighties buddy flick ‘Tough Guys’; a film in which two vintage gangsters; Bert Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, are released from prison to discover they could still out think, out hustle and out punch their modern day counterparts.
Mess’s Johnson, Hopkins, Woods, Tarver and Jones must be wondering if this ageing thing is little more than an urban legend. Unlike the heavyweights I don’t begrudge these decorated veterans the extra limelight and pay days. Hopkins, 42, is a devout trainer and has utilised every ounce of his natural talent. His longevity a testimony to an unshakable self-belief and iron will, both facets of the survival mentality his troubled youth and the streets of Philadelphia in which he spent it, engenders. He’s the original ‘Tough Guy’ and the sport will be a gloomier place when he does pass on the torch (its hard to see anyone taking it from him).
Late bloomer Clinton Woods, 35, deserves credit for his persistence, operating away from the leading promoters and without packed venues to encourage interest in his career. Ultimately, he’s been rewarded for fulfilling every obligation the IBF has placed on him but few could argue with the improvement he’s demonstrated to overcome Hoye, Gonzales and Johnson in recent times. And Clinton, like most Yorkshireman , is a good guy. Honest and sincere.
But for all the merits of those two, the star spangled achievement of Roy Jones Jr and the infamy of Antonio Tarver nobody comes close to eclipsing Glen Johnson in my affections. The original ‘RoadWarrior’ is simply irrepressible. Neither age or defeat appear able to deter him or dull his thirst for achievement. Emphatic victory last time against Montell Griffin in a bout that served, almost inevitably, as an IBF title eliminator started the latest run at the championship. In order to stay busy while Clinton Woods fulfils his existing obligation to Julio Gonzales, Johnson will tackle Fred Moore – a 40 year old himself – in the first show put together by Bad Dog Promotions on July 27th.
FightBeat.com carry today’s press release. Click Here.