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Mystery Champ

Dec. 27, 2004
Dec. 27, 2004

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Dec. 27, 2004

SCORECARD
WHAT IF ...
LETTERS
AIR AND SPACE
SI Players: Life On and Off the Field
SI Players
Inside
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Inside College Football
YEAR-END ISSUE 2004
The Great American Sports Atlas
LIFE OF REILLY
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Mystery Champ

A bust a year ago, Glen Johnson is now looking like the fighter of the year

Glen Johnson has lost more than his share of controversial decisions, so you'll forgive him for not caring if most ringside observers--including Roy Jones Jr., the former world champ whom he knocked out in September--thought Antonio Tarver was the rightful winner of their light heavyweight fight last Saturday night. After starting his career 32--0, Johnson, whose penchant for fighting on opponents' home turf earned him the nickname Road Warrior, had gone just 9-9-2 in his 20 bouts before Saturday. In at least half a dozen of those losses, though, he had a legitimate beef with the decision. Against the favored Tarver (22--3), who knocked Jones out last May, he was again locked in a tight battle. Tarver landed more punches (296 to 217), but Johnson was more aggressive late, taking the final three rounds on two judges' cards to eke out a split decision. "My heart was beating fast," said Johnson of his wait for the outcome. "I came out ahead, which doesn't happen too often. I'm just thankful." The win makes him a favorite for fighter of the year honors, and it set the stage for a lucrative rematch. "If you look at my history," said Johnson, "I never back down from challenges."

This is an article from the Dec. 27, 2004 issue Original Layout

COLOR PHOTOMIKE BLAKE/REUTERS (TARVER AND JOHNSON)CLOSE CALL Johnson (left) landed fewer shots but outpointed Tarver.