Johnson starches Jones Jr. in the ninth
By Anthony Cocks, Site Editor (September 26, 2004)
In a stunning upset IBF light heavyweight champion Gelngoffe 'The Road Warrior' Johnson retained his world title with a one punch knockout of former pound-for-pound stalwart Roy Jones Jr. in the ninth round of their contest at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee on Saturday night.
The end came midway through the round as Johnson launched a sneaky overhand right behind a jab that caught Jones high on the head and sent him crashing to the canvas. Jones to hit his head on the way down and his body became rigid from the concussion almost immediately. It was obvious that the former undisputed light heavyweight champion would not make it to his feet before referee Bill Clancy completed his ten count.
All three judges had Johnson ahead at the time of the stoppage by scores of 78-74 and 77-75 twice.
Johnson, 40-9-2 (28), started the fight aggressively, swarming Jones form the opening bell. The fear and apprehension of many of Jones' previous opponents was not apparent in Johnson, who bullied Jones to the ropes and continued to let his hands go for the full three minutes, launching hooks and right hands with vicious intent. Jones, for his part, seemed to struggle with the pressure, although he did manage to land a few counterpunches to Johnson's midsection.
In the second round Johnson continued to pressure Jones, although his punch output dropped off. While Johnson was searching for a home for his right hand in the third, Jones stayed on his toes and cautiously picked off the reigning IBF champion with quick counters.
Johnson continued to stalk the former WBA heavyweight champion in the fourth, but Jones was starting to time his opponent and catch him on the way in with counter left hooks and straight right hands. In the fifth Johnson trapped Jones on the ropes and started to unload, rocking the 35-year-old Pensacola native with an overhand right. Jones survived the follow up barrage to sting the rugged Johnson with a series of left hooks, but Johnson's early success won him the round.
The sixth round saw Jones box effectively off the back foot, but as soon as Johnson started to apply the pressure it was obvious that Jones didn't enjoy the close quarters combat. In the final minute Johnson again backed Jones onto the ropes and while many of his punches were ineffective, he managed to dictate the action and prevent Roy from setting his feet for his vaunted counters.
The trouble for Jones continued in the seventh and eighth rounds, as Johnson aggressively pursued Jones around the ring. Although there is not much action in these two stanzas, Johnson's dogged pursuit of Jones prevented the 15 year veteran from establishing the distance he required to catch Johnson with his quicksilver counters.
The ninth round also began at a measured pace, with Jones on the back foot trying to find enough room to fight his natural fight. After a lackluster first minute Johnson flicked out a jab and stepped in behind it, launching the same hellacious right hand that he had been throwing since the opening bell. Jones, who had his left hand hanging down around his waist as is his usual style, was in no position to protect himself against the punch and fell to the canvas like a lead weight.
The ten count was a mere formality. Glengoffe Johnson celebrated jubilantly in centre ring while the physician tendered to the prone Jones.
For the 35-year-old Jamaican-born Johnson, future paydays against the likes of Antonio Tarver and Joe Calzaghe await. For Roy Jones Jr., who falls to 49-3 (38), this loss may well signal the end of a hall of fame career.
In an ironic precursor to the main event, Mark 'Too Sharp' Johnson the Johnson who was 'supposed' to win was stopped by a savage body rip in the 8th round of his WBO super flyweight title defense by unheralded Mexican Ivan Hernandez.
Despite being given next to no chance of success, the little known Hernandez, 19-0-1 (13), took the fight to Johnson and gave as good as he got in the early going. Hernandez didn't hold back in the second, but the 33-year-old Washington DC native took it all in his stride as he threw calculated counters to discourage his opponent.
The fight switched to the inside in the third round, with Johnson standing his ground while Hernandez launched his heavy artillery. Despite Hernandez enjoying some success pressing the action, the former WBC and IBF flyweight champion slipped and countered effectively, landing solid body rips, uppercuts and hooks to the head.
The fourth round was close, with Johnson controlling the action with his superior accuracy and harder punches, but Hernandez continued to press the issue with his unbridled aggression.
In the fifth Johnson opted to use more of the ring, keeping the fight at range and counterboxing effectively from the outside. Displaying superior ring generalship, Johnson picked off Hernandez who was left reaching with his punches.
It was more of the same in the sixth until a chopping overhand right from the southpaw Johnson staggered Hernandez with a minute to go in the round. Switching to the orthodox stance, Johnson delivered a series of measured punches including bolos, uppercuts and more chopping overhand rights, but Hernandez showed plenty of heart to weather the storm and survive the round.
The one minute break worked wonders for Hernandez, who came out rejuvenated in the seventh and took the fight to Johnson. A straight right hand from Hernandez caught a flatfooted Johnson with his feet squared up and dropped him to the seat of his pants. Although the punch didn't hurt Johnson, it clearly damaged his confidence.
The seventh round had the same effect on Johnson as the sixth did on Hernandez, as the 33-year-old came out to avenge the two point deficit he suffered in the previous stanza. Johnson upped his workrate with his counters, but almost out of nowhere a left hook from Hernandez followed by a right uppercut to the sternum dropped the 33-year-old for the count.
While Johnson falls to 44-4 (28) and needs to give serious consideration to his future, 21-year-old Ensenada native Hernandez can look forward to a bright future in a division lacking superstar potential..
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