Boxing: Klitschko lives in fear of 'slick' Johnson

There was a raging debate over Kirk Johnson's weight here yesterday that was only surpassed by the arrival of a blizzard and six inches of snow.

Johnson jumped on and off the scales wearing three layers of clothing to protect him against the cold and it was announced that he had weighed 260lbs, which is about 20 more than most people expected him to be for tonight's main event at Madison Square Garden against Vitali Klitschko.

The fight at the historic venue is for the right to be called the best acting heavyweight in the world and until Lennox Lewis makes a decision about his future this spurious title will remain.

The problem with Johnson's weight is that if he is actually 260lbs then it is obvious he has not trained and has therefore not taken Klitschko seriously.

However, there are many in the New York boxing business that smell a rat and they remain convinced that underneath the padded jackets and multiple sweat tops Johnson is actually much lighter. "I weigh what I weigh,'' claimed Johnson but he was unconvincing and refused to remove any of the layers and take his boots off.

If Johnson is fat and slow at 260lbs then tonight's fight will be a simple slaughter in favour of Klitschko but if the Canadian's true weight is closer to 240lbs then his ability to move, his noted slickness and his decent chin could ruin Klitschko's grand night.

In theory Klitschko is the favourite and a good win will entice Lewis to end his sunny exile and return to the ring and give the towering Ukrainian a rematch. The pair met in June in Los Angeles and Lewis was trailing on points before Klitschko's face started to shred and a doctor called a humane halt to the bloody fight.

Klitschko's wounds, which required over 60 stitches to close, healed miraculously and within days he was demanding a rematch to finish what he had started but Lewis had already dusted off his flip flops and vanished into the nether world of luxury resorts and exotic places.

Johnson had originally been Lewis' opponent for the June night in Los Angeles but he pulled a muscle and tumbled swiftly from the reckoning and is extremely fortunate to find himself in the proposed loser's corner this evening. If the weight gain is a ploy and if Johnson does win it will further confuse a chaotic division but oddly a Klitschko victory will actually look respectable.

There is an interesting co-main event and it features a boxer who is probably responsible for most of the 11,000 confirmed ticket sales. There is unlikely to be a walk up, as they say in the boxing business, unless there are three or four thousand fans of the noble art who also possess a pair of cross country skis. Joe Mesi is unbeaten in 27 fights and in his hometown of Buffalo, in up state New York, he regularly attracts crowds of 14,000 at the basketball arena. Tonight is his big night in the Big House, which is the nickname for the Garden, and he has clearly captured the imagination of the fans.

Mesi is a heavyweight stuck in a tacky position because once he had won more than 10 or 12 fights he was instantly branded as the new Great White Hope. He has, as all Great White Hopes have done in the past, insisted that he is just a heavyweight but there has been a degree of calculated media coverage of his career.

Mesi is Italian, smart and a good talker but the jury is still out on whether he can fight as well as he speaks or looks.

Tonight Mesi will meet local fighter Monte Barrett, a one-time contender, in a fight that will move him closer to the respectability that he believes he deserves and that he believes he is denied because of his skin colour. If Mesi can add Barrett to the list of men that have so far failed to last the distance and if Klitschko can beat either a fat or a thin Johnson then the two big white guys will be main attractions next year.

There was a rumour last night that this city's most famous heavyweight, Mike Tyson, would be at the fight. Tyson like many people here at this time of year will be looking for a good Christmas bargain. Klitschko or Mesi would be ideal fights for him next year and would alter considerably his current bankrupt state.

News
Actor Burt Reynolds last year
peopleBurt Reynolds, once among the most bankable actors in Hollywood, is set to auction his memorabilia
News
Gordon and Tana Ramsay arrive at the High Court, London
newsTV chef gives evidence against his father-in-law in court case
News
people

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
News
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
books
News
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Arts and Entertainment
One of the installations in the Reiner Ruthenbeck exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery
artCritics defend Reiner Ruthenbeck's 'Overturned Furniture'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Opilio Recruitment: UX & Design Specialist

£40k - 45k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Publishing Application Support Analyst

£30k - 35k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: We’re currently re...

Opilio Recruitment: Digital Marketing Manager

£35k - 45k per year + benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Opilio Recruitment: Sales Manager

£60k - 80k per year + Benefits: Opilio Recruitment: A fantastic opportunity ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game