Glen "Road Warrior" Johnson (51-16-2, 35 KOs) is working hard with trainer Orlando Cuellar, co-Trainer Hamlet McKenzie and strength and conditioning coach Steve Arintok at Thump Boxing Gym in Miami.
The still-dangerous former world champion is putting the finishing touches on preparations to face Chicago's "The Polish Prince" Andrzej Fonfara (21-2, 12 KOs) in the 10-round main event of 8 Count Productions and Warriors Boxing's "CROSSROADS", boxing event at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago and live on ESPN Friday Night Fights next Friday, July 13.
In the co-main event that night, former world champion Jose Luis "EL Terrible" Castillo (63-11-1, 54 KOs) will face Chicago fan favorite Ivan "EL Marro" Popoca (15-1-1, 10 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight battle.
"Training went well," said Johnson. "I feel good. I'm going to come out and look good next Friday. I feel sharp right now. I'm feeling real relaxed and energetic. I'm excited about going out there and showing the things I can do and re-establishing myself."
Johnson says he's happy about the choice of opponent for his return, and true to his always-considerate nature, not just because he thinks he can win.
"I know he's a big aggressive kid, who uses his jab and comes forward with the right hand and the hook. He's just an aggressive guy, basically. I love aggressive guys. They create good fights for the people."
So why does a 43-year-old ex-champion continue to trade leather with men who could be his son? Because he can.
"I like the challenge. I'm excited about going out there and doing the things I do. I'm still able to do it at a high level. People are still excited about seeing me perform, so that's another plus. Mostly, I keep doing it because I'm still enjoying it."
Aware of father time, however, Johnson says at this point in his career, a loss to a non-champion like Fonfara would probably spell the end.
"Oh yeah. If I lose to a guy like this, then that would tell me exactly the opposite of all I just said - that I'm sharp and ready to go and can still do it on a high level. If I lose I probably won't want to do it anymore."
Putting the pressure of keeping his boxing career alive aside, Johnson says he'll probably deliver in a big way Friday.
"The way I'm feeling right now, I think I will stop this guy, but it's always easier said from the outside looking in. I just want to get in there and see exactly what's happening and then I'll put my shots in the right spots. I really think I'll stop him."
Johnson has fought in Chicago a couple times already, but claims this is already his favorite fight in the area.
"This is my first time where I can actually enjoy the weather. Every time I went there, it was freezing ad I hated it. I'm not a cold-weather guy. I'm going there now when it's fairly warm and the kind of weather I can deal with. I will enjoy this fight more than any other one I've had here."
A die-hard basketball fan, Johnson says he's already having a great summer because of his favorite team's victory.
"Miami Heat. Champions. Glen Johnson is extremely excited about that. The only thing that would be better is if I won another world championship!"
Several local and national prospects are scheduled to appear on the CROSSROADS undercard.
In a six-round welterweight battle, Jaime Herrera, 7-2-0 (4 KOs) of Franklin Park, Illinois, will face Tyrone Chatman (9-1-2, 6 KOs) of St Louis, Missouri; Bassett, Virginia's Elijah McCall (9-1-1, 8 KOs), son of heavyweight champion Oliver McCall, will appear in a six-round heavyweight scrap against Jason Massie (7-2, 4 KOs), Cleveland, Ohio; popular Chicago super middleweight Paul Littleton (3-0, 3 KOs) will face Ramiro Bueno Jr., (2-2-0, 1 KO) of South Bend, Indiana, in a five-round bout; cruiserweight Junior Wright (3-0, 3 KOs) of Evanston, Illinois, will face Covon Graham (1-2-1, 1 KO) of Detroit in a four-rounder; Chicago super featherweight Juan Bustamante (3-0, 2 KOs) will go against Michah Branch (0-1-0) of Cincinnati, Ohio, in a four-rounder; Miami, Florida's hard-punching Vilier Quinonez (3-0, 2 KOs) will take on Hesperia, Michigan's Rogelio Saldana (1-3, 1 KO) in a light heavyweight four-rounder; and in a heavyweight four-rounder Curtis Tate (4-3, 4 KOs) of Oakland, Tennessee will face Calbert Lewis (0-1) of Gary, Indiana.
Advance tickets for CROSSROADS/ESPN FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS, presented by 8 Count Productions, Warriors Boxing, Round 3 and Blue Wave Boxing, priced at $151, $101, $51 and $31 are now on sale through Ticketmaster ( www.ticketmaster.com ), the UIC Pavilion Box Office (312-413-5740) and the 8 Count Productions' Office (312-226-5800).
Doors on the evening of the event will open at 7pm with the first bell at 7:45pm. The UIC Pavilion is located at 525 S. Racine, just one block south of the Eisenhower Expressway. Doors on the night of the event will open at 7pm with the first bell at 7:45 pm.
The UIC Pavilion is now serving alcohol at all boxing events. For further information, please visit their website at www.uicpavilion.com .