Updated: January 29, 2010, 4:19 PM ET

Johnson meets Mack with paydays on his mind

Rafael By Dan Rafael
Chad Dawson and Glen JohnsonAP Photo/Mike CarlsonIn his last fight, Glen Johnson, left, found himself on the wrong end of a decision.

Even at 41 and coming off a decision loss to Chad Dawson in a November rematch, former light heavyweight champ Glen Johnson isn't ready to retire just yet, although he briefly contemplated it.

Still one of the top 175-pounders in the world, Johnson believes he has another run left in his old bones, and he wants the paydays that would go with winning another title.

Johnson was scheduled to fight Yusaf Mack in a title eliminator Saturday night in Las Vegas, with the winner earning a mandatory shot against Tavoris Cloud. However, the card was canceled when Andre Berto withdrew from the main event against Shane Mosley after the massive earthquake that rocked Haiti two weeks ago, killing eight members of his family.

That left Johnson and Mack in limbo because their fight faced a tight deadline from the IBF and they risked being bypassed for the eliminator if they didn't meet. However, the IBF agreed to a brief extension, and promoters Lou DiBella and Leon Margules did some quick work with an assist from ESPN, which cleared space and a few bucks to pick up the fight. Now, Johnson (49-13-2, 33 KOs) and Mack (28-2-2, 17 KOs) will fight just six days later than originally planned -- Feb. 5 on "Friday Night Fights" (ESPN2) at Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Fla.

The card also features a rematch of a draw between South Florida welterweights Joey Hernandez and Ed Paredes in the main event slot -- it was scheduled long ago, and they're the ones with local drawing power -- and the fifth professional fight of junior featherweight super prospect Guillermo Rigondeaux, a two-time Olympic gold medalist. But Johnson-Mack is the significant fight on the card, and Johnson couldn't be more psyched about the save.

"Obviously, I was disappointed when the fight was off, but you have to understand the situation, which is bigger than the fight," said Johnson, a Miami resident. "I always had faith that the possibility of rescheduling was there. I'm just happy that it worked out the way it did, and I hope Berto's situation is a good one and all those people over there are OK and on their way to recovery. That is a situation bigger than me."

One good thing about the date swap is that it will allow the bout to be seen nationally. When it was on the Mosley-Berto card, it wasn't going to be on HBO's telecast.

"When you're on national TV, that's always the best situation. More people can see what you still have in the tank," Johnson said. "I'm super happy the fight was rescheduled quickly and much more happy it's on TV. You put those two things together and it's a beautiful thing."

Johnson said he thought about retiring after the loss to Dawson but changed his mind. He didn't get beat up, took very few clean shots and had an opportunity to get back into the hunt for a title very quickly, which he hopes he can parlay into money fights.

"I really didn't want to put myself through the long road back at my age," he said. "This is the perfect situation for me. Instead of months and months, this opportunity came quickly and was a breath of fresh air and put new air under my wings. I am excited about it."

He isn't so excited about the paltry paycheck -- just $12,000, the same as he would have made on the Mosley-Berto card, and a long way from the $1.25 million he once made in a rematch with Antonio Tarver.

"There's not a lot of money involved, but sometimes when the money isn't there you have to look at the big picture," Johnson said. "It's an opportunity, and hopefully it will pay off down the line. I could certainly say 'no' and then look into the fog and not know what's ahead. So let's go ahead and do this and you have something to look forward to, and hopefully it will turn into something down the road. I have to take these steps to be where we want to be."

Henry Foster has managed Johnson for years and is as realistic about the financial situation as Johnson.

"We know when we lose [at some point], it's going to severely affect our ability to earn," Foster said. "That's why we're taking the fight -- not for the money but for the opportunity to fight Cloud and win the IBF title and parlay that into a high-profile, big-money fight. At 41, the economic reasons are the motivator. He's still one of the more feared guys at 41 in the division, and very seldom does a glove land clean on him. He can go on as long it stays like that and it makes economic sense. We know Mack is a tough, big, strong Philadelphia fighter. He's going to bring it, and Glen has to have his A-game together. We're not taking him lightly."

DiBella, who promotes Mack and co-promotes Johnson is impressed by Johnson's willingness not to pout over short money despite his accomplishments.

"There has never been an issue about Glen's fighting spirit," he said. "There's no question why Glen is so respected. Give him an opportunity and he'll take it. He knows at his age elimination bouts aren't coming around every day. He's realistic. Here's an opportunity again. He's a man's man, in and out of the ring."

The Johnson-Mack winner could make a quick turnaround and face Cloud (20-0, 18 KOs) on March 26, when he's scheduled to make his first defense on "Friday Night Fights."

"That's what I was told," Johnson said. "Hopefully, it works out that way. It will be very exciting, and I look forward to being a champion in a few months."

The speedy turnaround doesn't worry Johnson.

"I'm not a guy who abuses my body," he said. "I stay in the gym working. I fight better when I stay busy, and I fight back-to-back because I stay sharp. This is a great situation for me to have them so close together. I believe it will help me, not hurt me."

If Johnson defeats Philadelphia's Mack, 30, and faces Cloud, it will be for another puny purse. However, beating Cloud would put Johnson back into the big time.

"You want to get back where you get those paydays," Johnson said. "So you gotta take those opportunities. Right now, we don't see anything more beneficial than this, so we take these fights and accomplish what we want to accomplish, and then look for the next opportunity. At the end of the day, we're fighting for money. That's the name of the game, so we got to take what we have to take to be where we want to be."

"It's a tough road this Glen Johnson has to hoe," Foster said. "It ain't easy for a guy who's been doing this for 20 years."

Familiar face in Clottey's corner

AP Photo/Frank Franklin IILooking back now: Joshua Clottey has reunited with trainer Godwin Kotey.

In preparation for his welterweight title shot against Manny Pacquiao on March 13 (HBO PPV) at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, former titleholder Joshua Clottey has reunited with trainer Godwin Kotey. They haven't worked together since 2004.

"Godwin is a very famous trainer in Ghana," said Vinny Scolpino, Clottey's manager. "This is the trainer Joshua has been asking for to prepare for Pacquiao. It will be Godwin who puts together our game plan."

Clottey and trainer Kwame Asante split after Clottey's decision loss to Miguel Cotto last summer.

Clottey was recently in Ghana, where he helped Kotey iron out his visa paperwork. Kotey is expected to arrive in New York on Friday before going with Clottey to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for the training camp.

"Joshua is in great fighting shape right now," Scolpino said. "He is anxious to get into the ring against Pacquiao."

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.


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