Chad Johnson certainly hasn’t taken the conventional path to the boxing ring.
The former Bengals Pro-Bowl wide receiver has been out of organized soccer since a one-game stint with the Mexico Professional American Football League’s Fundidores de Monterrey.
But on Sunday, Johnson will open Floyd Mayweather’s undercard against Logan Paul with a four-round exhibition showdown against boxer Brian Maxwell.
How has Johnson prepared for the first and possibly only boxing match of his career? Here’s a look at how he got ready for Sunday.
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Boxing for years
Johnson has never stepped into the ring professionally, but that doesn’t mean the sport is new to him.
According to a report by ESPN’s Cameron WolfeJohnson has had boxing training in every football offseason since he was in high school with the goal of helping his hand-eye coordination and footwork.
That training helped him get the attention of Mayweather’s manager, Leonard Ellerbe, who offered him a chance to fight on the ticket, Johnson told the podcast: IM an athlete.
“I would not go into the ring with Charlo or Canelo [Alvarez]But the opportunity presented itself to move with someone who has skills and experience in the ring, “Johnson said in the ESPN report.” I felt like I was in the right shape and had enough experience to do it. With great respect for combat sports, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. “
Sparring with the Charlo brothers
It hasn’t been enough for Johnson to prepare for the fight in offseason football alone. You have had to work with some professionals.
And they are not taking it easy.
Johnson told TMZ Sports who has been training with the Charlo twins, Jermell and Jermall Charlo. Johnson said that during a recent session in the third round, he was “in the middle of the ocean without a life jacket and I was drowning.”
Although he has been feeling the blows of a pair of professional boxers who won 65 bouts and lost only once, he said that learning from them and his training partners helped him prepare for the next showdown.
“It was an experience where they took advantage of me and it’s a great thing. Obviously going to the ring with someone who does it at the highest level and learning the mistakes. I like it that way,” Johnson said, according to TMZ. “There was no other way to prepare for something of this magnitude. I had to come here. It’s just that there is no other way.”
MORE: Why Chad Johnson Says Boxing Is ‘Unique’
In addition to the physical and technical aspects of training, Johnson also makes sure he takes care of what’s going on internally.
The Orange County Registry reported that he has been on a diet prior to the exhibition fight, eliminating McDonald’s, which had been a staple during his NFL career, and avoiding cigarettes for the past two months.
While on the I Am Athlete podcast in early 2021, Johnson said he never hurt himself because he constantly ate McDonald’s.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.