Former light-heavyweight champ and super-middleweight contender Glen Johnson is convinced a recent offer from Lucian Bute’s team is proof the Canadian titlist’s management is not serious about making the fight.
The two fighters entered negotiations earlier this month following Kely Pavlik’s refusal to fight Bute in November for $1.35 million. According to Johnson, Bute’s team offered him “significantly more” than a million dollars less to take a November date. While not specifying the exact amount, Johnson views the offer as a low-ball figure designed to make him turn down the fight.
“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,” he explained. “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.”
Johnson and Bute have sparred together regularly over the last year in preparation for their bouts. Johnson claims that he’s gotten the better of Bute in those sparring sessions, which has prompted his friend’s management to be cautious about pairing the two in an official fight.
“Bute knows the competition coming his way. I know he can compete well and he knows I can,” Johnson detailed. “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.”
At press time, Lucian Bute’s team has not responded to Johnson’s claims. Johnson remains the lead option to face Bute in November.