"...they don't want the fight to happen. So, a way to get out is to try to low-ball where they think we won't accept it, instead of saying 'we don't want to fight Glen Johnson.'"
"...the promoter is afraid of stepping him up a level. They want to keep him safe. They don't have the confidence in him they should have."
Former world champion and current top super middleweight contender Glen "The Road Warrior" Johnson (51-15-2, 35 KOs) has been around a long time. He knows the ins and outs of the boxing business and that enables him to see through to the real motivations behind people's actions.
That's why when the promoters of IBF Super Middleweight Champion Lucian Bute make him an offer to fight that defies all logic because it is significantly more than a million dollars less than the $1.35 million offer made to first potential opponent, Kelly Pavlik, he doesn't get upset with the fighter.
In fact, the always-classy Johnson says he still likes and respects Bute a great deal.
"Bute is my friend and helluva a nice guy, but I believe that they're low-balling me very badly, mainly because they don't want the fight to happen. So, a way to get out is to try to low-ball where they think we won't accept it, instead of saying 'we don't want to fight Glen Johnson.' I've been around long enough to know when somebody's serious about an offer and I believe the fighter himself wants to compete but the promoter is afraid of stepping him up a level. They want to keep him safe. They don't have the confidence in him they should have. He's a good fighter. He should have a great fight and maybe he wins and maybe he loses, but he's ready for that fight."
Part of the problem, says Johnson, is that Bute's team remembers how it went when the two sparred in training previously.
"Bute knows the competition coming his way. I know he can compete well and he knows I can. We know each other and both of us know it's not an easy fight. I think the promoter has to have a little more courage with their fighter. Don't try to keep me from accepting by low-balling me."
"They know fighting Glen is life or death. That's why his people are offering to pay him so little," adds Johnson's co-promoter, Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing. "Glen got the better of him in sparring and they're spooked."
Margules, though, agrees it's time for Bute to step up and have some career defining fights. "Look at the record. He hasn't fought near the quality opponents Glen has and, in fact, he hasn't fought one opponent in his career Glen wouldn't be favored over if he fought them too."
Johnson is quick to praise the network that has, time after time, afforded him terrific opportunities. "I give thanks to Showtime for doing such a wonderful job for me. They gave me great opportunities and I want to thank everybody involved with boxing at Showtime. To put me on the short list as an opponent for Bute shows they are trying to make competitive fights. I commend them for the wonderful things they are doing in boxing."
"Glen knows he's never been a flashy trash talking kind of fighter who always seems to get the monster paydays. He's just a hard-working Jamaican kid who fought his ass off and he deserves respect for that," added Johnson's other co-promoter, Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment. "He appreciates everything Showtime has done for him, but the offer Bute's people are making is unacceptable. Glenn needs a big fight, but sometimes you have to stand on principle. This is one of those times."