Former Boxing Champs Clash for IBA Title

by Ken Hissner: Not often do two former world champions agree to fight one another. On February 23 at the Lake Charles Civic Center, in Louisiana, Reggie "Sweet" Johnson (43-7-1, 25 KOs) from Houston, Texas, will face Julio Gonzalez (41-4, 25 KOs) from Huntington Beach, California. At stake is the vacant IBA Light Heavyweight title..

The clash of former world champions will be entitled, Fight Night for Climate Change and will be promoted by Trinity World Boxing Promotions in association with Green Planet Mobile, Goossen Tutor Promotions LLC, Keeppunching Entertainment, and Impact Marketing.

Johnson is a former WBA middleweight and IBF light heavyweight champion who is always in the gym preparing for a fight. Only due to an injury was his fight with former champion Glen Johnson postponed. In a conversation with the former champion I questioned why such a tough opponent first time back after a lay-off. He told me "I want to fight the best in order to fight for a world title again." Adding, "I know Gonzalez has beaten Johnson so to me it's a step up in opponents. We sparred together in the past in California, so we know each other well." A most likeable person and one you don't have to ask too many questions, Johnson summed it up in saying "I'm a throwback."

Johnson's opponent, Gonzalez, is what you call a working man's fighter. He always gives you an honest night's work in the ring. He will have several inches of height on Johnson whose southpaw style may give him problems. His trainer Doug Huntley said "Julio has been working with two southpaw sparring partners and is in good shape." I asked him about Gonzalez last fight, a rematch with IBF champion Clint Woods. He said "the first time we fought Woods (2005) I thought we won that fight, but the second time (2007) I thought was a fair decision." Gonzalez is most known for defeating Dariusz Michalczewski who was (48-0) at the time in Germany back in 2003 for the WBO title.

Both fighters have a common opponent in Roy Jones, Jr. to whom both lost decisions. In Johnson's next to last fight he lost a split decision to former world champion Antonio Tarver. Both fighters are true professionals and crowd pleasers. This should an action-packed fight from start to finish and the winner will be in line for any of the other organizations champions.

Article posted on 08.02.2008

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