Undisputed Underdog

At 40, Glen Johnson is still fighting for respect

He pays child support for his two young daughters and has just filed for full-time custody of Glen Jr., who's now 13. Johnson says he agreed with the boy's mother that a young man should live with a positive male influence. "It's important for me to show him how a man is supposed to live," he says.

They also talk about all the things he could do after his career ends. He and Jillian plan to get into entertainment promotions. "Not just musical promotions," he says.

"The entire spectrum of music entertainment, Caribbean, gospel shows," Jillian adds.

Glen Johnson hits the gym six days a week. He's fighting to feed his family.
C. Stiles
Glen Johnson hits the gym six days a week. He's fighting to feed his family.
As Johnson cools down after a day of training, trainer Trevor McKenzie unties his gloves and towels off his head.
C. Stiles
As Johnson cools down after a day of training, trainer Trevor McKenzie unties his gloves and towels off his head.

"And comedy shows too," he says. "And I've thought about a nightclub or some place to take all the people you're promoting." He says he'd like to be able to live comfortably off his investments, and he needs to make enough in the ring "so that I can have some income that's liquidated where I can tap into now and then if I need to."

Foster has asked him to train a young prospect he's bringing down from South Dakota, but Johnson is hesitant.

"I just don't want to work so hard with a kid and train so hard and be ready and have everything just" — he clenches his huge right hand — "I don't think I can take the heartbreak. There is so much heartbreak in boxing. It takes so much out of you."

There is quiet as he thinks about what he's just said. Then he continues thinking aloud. "Maybe I could promote or something where I don't have as much at stake emotionally."

He says he can't sleep without a television on. He says the silence of night opens up a floodgate of thoughts that overwhelm him.

Why keep fighting? Why keep going in a corrupt political sport that eats old boxers alive? Why starve yourself and run until your knees and ankles swell and ache?

"These are my options," he says. "I can either do this or go back to working construction."

Though he doesn't have a fight scheduled, Johnson is back at the gym the next morning.

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