- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Apparently, promoter Jimmy Burchfield wants his customers to party like it’s around 2004.
He had scheduled former welterweight champ Ricardo Mayorga to headline his Feb. 21 card at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, R.I. But what was to be the 40-year-old Mayorga’s first fight since 2011 was quickly canceled when promoter Don King claimed he still has Mayorga under contract and sent a legal letter to Burchfield warning him against putting him on the card.
A week after pulling Mayorga off the show, Burchfield on Tuesday added another name fighter whose best days came in the previous decade to take Mayorga’s place in the eight-round main event: former light heavyweight champion Glen Johnson.
Johnson (53-18-2, 36 KOs), who turned 45 on Jan. 2, will face Jamie Velazquez (11-5-2, 6 KOs) in the cruiserweight bout. The contract weight is 180 pounds, according to Henry Foster, Johnson’s manager.
Since a four-fight losing streak Johnson, including in super middleweight world title fights against Carl Froch and Lucian Bute, has won two fights in a row. On Dec. 18, he took the place of Roy Jones Jr. and outpointed Bobby Gunn over eight rounds at cruiserweight.
Now Johnson is getting right back to work on short notice once again.
“We’re delighted to step up on a week’s notice. Glenn is already ready to go,” Foster told ESPN.com. “Glen is always in shape. We take anything that comes along and, hopefully, somebody (with a big name) will decide he will make a good opponent and we turn the tables and get that underdog victory that Glen has gotten many times before.”
Even a diminished Johnson should not have much trouble with Velazquez. Frankly, it’s surprising the bout would even be approved by a commission.
Velazquez, 42, is 0-4-2 in his last six fights with three of the losses coming by knockout. And, oh, yeah, he has not fought since getting knocked out in his last fight -- 15 years ago.