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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £30,000+

£16000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are looking for individual...

Recruitment Genius: IT Project Coordinator / Manager

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...

Recruitment Genius: Mortgage Advisor - OTE £95,000

£40000 - £95000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Purchasers

£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Vehicle Inspectors / Pu...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy