Glen Johnson set for elbow surgery

Former light heavyweight champion Glen Johnson said Wednesday that he will have surgery to repair torn ligaments in both elbows in January, but that he plans to resume his career later in 2012.

"I'm having both elbows done at the same time in January and they say I'll need about three months of therapy, and then I'll be back in action," Johnson said.

Johnson lost a lopsided decision to super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute on Nov. 5. He said after the fight that he had injured his right elbow during the bout, which Bute won on a near shutout decision.

Johnson said his elbows have given him problems for years.

"It's just been during the course of my career, but I guess (the ligaments) just finally broke off," he said. "I've had pain in the elbows before and had cortisone shots to relieve some of the pain, but it got worse against Bute. I guess it finally gave out."

After the Bute fight, Johnson, who lives in Miami, went to his native Jamaica to visit family and relax for three weeks, but the swelling and pain in his elbows did not subside. So when he returned to Florida, he visited the doctor.

"I went to the doctor and had an MRI and realized what was going on. The ligaments tore off the bone in my elbows and I have loose pieces floating around in both elbows," he said.

Even though Johnson (51-16-2, 35 KOs) turns 43 on Jan. 2, he said he plans to resume his career.

"Oh, yeah, definitely, I will fight," Johnson said. "Super middleweight or light heavyweight. It all depends on where I get the fights."

After Johnson, the 2004 fighter of the year, lost a light heavyweight title challenge to Tavoris Cloud in August 2010, he dropped down to super middleweight, a division he had not fought in for a decade. Johnson dropped down in weight because he was invited to join Showtime's Super Six World Boxing Classic as a replacement for injured Mikkel Kessler.

Johnson knocked out Allan Green in the eighth round in his tournament debut to advance to the semifinals, where Carl Froch took a spirited majority decision from him in June.

Johnson said his elbows were giving him problems against Froch and continued to get worse when he faced Bute in his next fight.

Dan Rafael is the senior boxing writer for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter @danrafaelespn.