Tuesday, June 05, 2012

'Too Sharp' Tribute!

This is the week that many Beltway Boxing Fans have been waiting on for a long time!  This is the week that former three-time world champion and Beltway Boxing Legend Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson takes his rightful place among the legends in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

There are many great "Too Sharp" moments, including the night Johnson won the IBF Flyweight title on May 4, 1996 in Anaheim, CA when he knocked out Francisco Tejedor in the first round.  The image of Tejedor vainly trying to get back up after being knockdown and weeping in despair afterwards is one of the most lasting images I've ever seen.

For this tribute, I want to focus on another classic moment -- one that took place in DC on February 22, 1998.   Johnson was making his fifth defense of his title in front of a packed house at the DC Armory and a nationally televised ESPN2 audience.  Johnson faced a truly legitimate contender in Arthur "Flash" Johnson, who gave Johnny Tapia fits in losing a 12-round split decision in 1995.

I've recounted the story of how Mark Johnson gave up a substantial amount of money to have the bout in DC and how he had it in his contract that local ring announcer Henry "Discombobulating" Jones would work the event.  By the way, the passage of time has led to two situations in the present.  One of course, the passing of Johnny Tapia.  The other is the post-fight interview.  Coincidentally, Johnson and the man conducting the interview -- Al Bernstein -- are in the same class of inductees that will go into the Hall of Fame on Sunday.  Another coincidence was the referee for the bout was Joe Cooper, who would of course, be the third man for Lamont Peterson and Amir Khan.

What resulted was truly one of the landmark events in Beltway Boxing History.  Let's relive that moment here:
Part 1.

Part 2.


Anonymous said...

Any info on a ESPN card scheduled for august 4th in dc at the renaissance hotel????

Anonymous said...

I am truly happy for Mark but most important I have never herd of a fighter putting a ring annoucer in his contrack Jones owe Toosharp big time the first ever fighter born and raised in Wash Dc to make to the Hall Of Fame

Gary Digital Williams said...

I am finding out info on this card. Unless ESPN is making a move to Saturdays for the summer, they won't be televising it because August 4 is a Saturday.

Also, Seth Mitchell will not be fighting on that card -- that I have confirmed from Mitchell's representatives.

As far as the contract for that February 22 card -- a contract can be put together with any type of stipulation. That was a move of loyalty from Johnson to Jones and Johnson promised Jones that when he had an opportunity to defend his title in DC, that Jones would work the card and Johnson delivered on that promise!

Yes it is huge as far as the first DC-born boxer to go into the Hall of Fame. DC now has football hall of famers, more than one basketball hall of famer and now a boxing hall of famer!

Anonymous said...

I can't see why Chop would fight a guy as dangerous as Augustus. He doesn't need that fight and it doesn't make sense considering he has put himself back in the mix at 140. I hope this card comes off, but it already looks sketchy.

Gary Digital Williams said...

To continue on this point on the contract, Oscar De La Hoya set the real standard for this by putting in his contracts that Michael Buffer would be the ONLY ring announcer that would announce his bouts.

I faintly remember that causing a slight issue when De La Hoya fought a Showtime boxer (can't remember which one off hand) on a Showtime PPV. Showtime used Jimmy Lennon to announce the fighter, but was De La Hoya still had Buffer there to announce him!

Anonymous said...

Great Stuff! Brings back a lot of memories . . . for a lot of reasons :). Too Sharp, well done. Best wishes this weekend CHAMP (IBHOF Inductee)!

Fight Doctor (J. Spears)

Anonymous said...

I can remember watching Mark play football for # 4 boys club and than would box The same day Ham brought a fight to club # 4 he also played baseball and was good they have a paper down South West called the southwestern look it up Gary

Gary Digital Williams said...

I've heard of the Southwesterner. I actually used to read it regularly when I lived in Southwest.

If there is an article on Mark in that, please let us know.

Anonymous said...

what's amazing about that clip of too sharp to me is the width of his shoulders and the length of his arms. I believe he was 5'2" or so. His reach was far longer and he had shoulders like a linebacker. he could really, really fight. congrats! hell of a fighter and has a rightful place in the boxing hall of fame.