Tuesday, October 30, 2012

'Too Sharp' Johnson Featured in This Month's Ring!

International Boxing Hall of Famer and three-time world champion Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson is the latest boxer to be featured in The Ring Magazine's section called "Best I've Faced" where former boxers are asked who their best opponents are in a number of categories including strongest, best jab and many others.

In the latest issue (December 2012), The Ring's Lem Satterfield asked Johnson those types of questions.  Many of the answers brought back fond memories for me in covering Johnson's career.  I won't give you all the details because I want you to pick up the magazine, but I have to relate a special memory based on one of Johnson's answers.

When asked about who his strongest opponent was, Johnson told about an opponent named Ancee Gedeon, a super flyweight originally from Haiti who fought out of California. Gedeon had a great backstory since he spent a good portion of his young life homeless.

Since Johnson's boxing base was in California at the time (he had signed a contract with Forum Boxing), it was thought the bout would be somewhere in that state.  Somehow, though, the bout ended up on a card at the DC Armory on April 23, 1994 and I had the pleasure of calling the tremendous bout for my local TV series, Boxing Spotlight.  The bout went 10 solid rounds with Johnson winning a decision.

Eventually, both men would get world title shots within a month of each other.  Gedeon would win his next six bouts and a USBA Bantamweight title after the loss to Johnson and earn a bid for the IBF Bantamweight title on April 2, 1996 in Providence, RI.  However, champion Mbulelo Botile would stop Gedeon in the 11th round.  Gedeon would retire two bouts later with a record of 15-9-1, five KO's.

One month later on May 4, 1996, Johnson would win the first of his three world titles, stopping Francisco Tejedor in the first round at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, CA to capture the IBF Flyweight crown.  Interesting bit of trivia:  At 40 years old, Johnson is the youngest inductee in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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