tampabay.com

Johnson ready for a rematch with winner

By VINCENT THOMAS and JOHN C. COTEY
Published October 2, 2005


TAMPA - Glen Johnson is familiar with Antonio Tarver and Roy Jones . He beat both in 2004. His knockout of Jones left the light heavyweight on the canvas for nearly 30 minutes.

Sitting ringside at the St. Pete Times Forum Saturday night in a sharp, brown pinstripe suit, Johnson, from Miami, said he's ready for either Jones or Tarver.

"Of course I want to fight the winner. That's the reason I'm here," he said. "Whoever the winner is, is the one I want."

After more prodding, though, Johnson revealed who he was really after.

"I probably would go with Roy because I believe he would make more money than if I fought Tarver," Johnson said.

Johnson (43-10-2, 29 KOs) flew in from California, fresh off Friday's 10-round TKO of George Khalid Jones (23-3-1, 13 KOs).

Johnson ducked under a left hand and staggered Jones with a right to the head. As Jones of Paterson, N.J., began to sink against the ropes, Johnson threw two more rights, then motioned referee Marcos Rosales to halt the bout, which he did with 30 seconds left in the 10th. All three California judges had Johnson ahead on the scorecards after nine rounds (87-83, 87-83 and 89-81).

CROWD REACTIONS: Midway through the Brian Minto - Vinny Maddalone bout, most in the crowd stood and joined in a rowdy, raucous cheer. The main event challenger, Roy Jones, was making his way to his dressing room, still in his street gear. Ever the "People's Champ," Jones smiled, bit his bottom lip and clinched his fist.

About 10 minutes later, a baritone chorus of boos rang out. The jeers were for Tarver, the WBC, WBO and IBO champion and native of Tampa. He grinned an embarrassed smile and kept moving.

Friday's weigh-in and the prefight electricity were heavily in Jones' favor. The only person to get more love than Jones was the man who created the brand of sneakers Jones wears - the NBA's Michael Jordan .

M.J. entered the arena in a pinstripe suit, flanked by his bodyguards. He waved to the crowd before taking his ringside seat.

LOVE FOR LACY: Gil Scott-Heron once sang Home Is Where the Hatred Is . Maybe for Tarver, but not for Jeff Lacy . The St. Petersburg native was swarmed by fans as he walked through the arena signing autographs.

"Oh, man this is great. It's what it's all about," Lacy said. "This is the Tampa Bay area, where it all started for us."

Trainer Dan Birmingham said Lacy will leave next week for camp in Reno, Nev., to prepare at high altitude for his Nov.5 fight against Scott Pemberton . Lacy will defend his IBF super-middleweight title. He was supposed to fight Wales' Joe Calzaghe , but the WBO champ pulled out with a broken left hand. Birmingham said Lacy will go to Reno after attending the Diego Corrales - Jose Luis Castillo rematch Saturday in Las Vegas.

IN TRAINING: Winky Wright will leave shortly for training camp in Las Vegas for his Dec.10 fight. Wright may target a meeting with IBF No.1 contender Sam Soliman , most likely at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut.

A deal is expected soon.

If he does fight Soliman, Wright, the middleweight mandatory challenger for the WBC and WBA, could earn mandatory status in the IBF as well.

That will put him in line to fight the winner of the Dec.10 bout between Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins .

"Don't matter to me, man," Wright said when asked about his next opponent. "Whoever, wherever, whenever."