Marc “Too Sharp” Johnson Interview - Youngest Boxer to Enter IBHOF at 40!
Marc “Too Sharp” Johnson Interview - Youngest Boxer to Enter IBHOF at 40! By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (July 16, 2012) Doghouse Boxing - Tweet
It’s been 6 years since Marc “Too
Sharp” Johnson has fought and 8 years since his last defense of his
WBO Super flyweight title his entering into the IBHOF seemed like a
long time coming. One of his best “punch” lines in accepting his
induction was “I don’t think there have been this many people on
a stage of this magnitude in boxing without somebody hitting
somebody,” said Johnson.
Johnson stated “I was the first
Washington, DC, boxer to be born and raised there to make it to the
IBHOF.” He once had a winning streak of 39 fights from 1991 to
2001. The loss was originally given a victory for Johnson and
reversed 2 hours later. It was his first of two fights with Rafael
Marquez, 25-3, by split decision. Referee Robert Gonzalez took away
2 points for holding which cost Johnson the fight. He would suffer
his first stoppage loss in the rematch.
In 1993 Johnson won something called
World Boxing Board flyweight title. He would defend it 10 times
through 1995. In 1996 He won the vacant IBF flyweight title
defeating Colombia’s Francisco Tejedor, 43-4-1, in the first round.
He would make 7 defenses before moving up and winning the vacant IBF
super flyweight title in his hometown defeating Ratanachai Sor
Vorapin, 36-3 in April of 1999.
Challengers for Johnson’s IBF
flyweight title came from Mexico (3) and Puerto Rico (3) with a lone
one from the US in No. 1 contender Arthur Johnson, 17-3 in the first
round. In 2003 Johnson won the WBO super flyweight title defeating
Mexican Fernando Montiel, 27-0-1, by majority decision. He had been
diagnosed with appendicitis days before this match. In his lone
successful defense he stopped Luis Bolano, 41-1, of Colombia. His
only fight out of the US was in his second fight losing to Richie
Wenton, 5-0, in the UK.
Johnson would lose to Ivan Hernandez,
17-0-1, in his second defense in September of 2004. It wouldn’t be
until 2006 in his next fight that he lost to Jhonny Gonzalez, 31-4.
He was stopped in both matches and retired after the latter one.
Johnson had an outstanding amateur
career going 125-6 losing in the 1988 Olympic trials to Eric
Griffins. His father Abraham “Ham” Johnson started training him
at the age of 5. He would always be in his son’s corner. Chris Ray
was always there, too, as his cut-man. For the Fernando Montiel,
27-0-1, Chilly Wilson was in the corner.
Today Johnson is working for the DC
Department of Parks & Recreations Roving Leaders Program. He
reaches out to “at risk youth”. Johnson has found Jesus Christ
as His Lord & Savior. He hopes to eventually become a boxing
referee. At 40 he is the youngest boxer to ever be inducted into the
Johnson was good enough to answer some
KEN HISSNER: You have become the
youngest boxer to enter the IBHOF at 40. Another Johnson, Reggie,
recently told me he was coming back to become the oldest boxer to win
a championship. Please tell me there are no plans for a comeback.
MARC JOHNSON: I’m still thinking
about it. How he does might help me make up my mind. I really want
to be a professional referee.
KEN HISSNER: Do you know Steve Smoger?
MARC JOHNSON: Double SS! Who doesn’t?
KEN HISSNER: I will make a connection
for you. He was just in the Middle East doing a seminar. He should
be back this week.
KEN HISSNER: You lost to Eric Griffin
in the Olympic Trials in 1988. What happened?
MARC JOHNSON: My brother James Harris
and I got to the semi-finals. My brother lost to Michael Carbajal.
I got robbed in the Griffin fight and he tested positive for
Marijuana but they still let him fight Carbajal. He lost and I was
thinking pro’s after that though my brother tried again in 1992.
KEN HISSNER: Your first good opponent
may have been Alberto Jimenez, 24-2-1, whom you won a split decision
over for the World Boxing Board Flyweight title in 1993.
MARC JOHNSON: That was a tough fight.
KEN HISSNER: In 1994 you defended the
WBB title for the sixth time against Enrique Orozco, 28-1-1. Tell us
something about that fight.
MARC JOHNSON: In the third round he
broke my right eye socket under my eye. In the twelfth and final
round I broke his jaw and they stopped it.
KEN HISSNER: In May of 1996 you
stopped Colombian Francisco Tejedor, 43-4-1, in the first round to
win the vacant IBF flyweight title. Tell us how thrilling that was.
MARC JOHNSON: Nobody was going to deny
me the championship at that time.
KEN HISSNER: In your fifth title
defense you stopped NABF champion Arthur Johnson, 17-3, in the first
MARC JOHNSON: Yes, and he had made the
Olympic team at 112, a division over Carbajal. I was surprised he
went out so fast.
KEN HISSNER: You only fought out of
the US once and that was in your second fight in the UK. Was that
the reason you never fought out of the US, and if not why?
MARC JOHNSON: It was a bad decision
and I vowed not to go overseas again unless there was a boat load of
KEN HISSNER: In 1999 you win the
vacant IBF super flyweight title in your hometown of DC over
Thailand’s Ratanachai Sor Vorapin, 36-3 who would later win the WBO
bantamweight title in 2004. Was this an even bigger thrill than
winning the flyweight title?
MARC JOHNSON: It was a bigger thrill
having won my second division title. I couldn’t get Danny Romero
in 1996 or Johnny Tapia in 1999. Cameron Dunkin had both fighters
and would never let either fight me.
KEN HISSNER: You had a defense against
Raul Juarez, 28-5, in DC, in November of 1999 which ended in a NC in
4 due to low blows on the part of both boxers. What happened?
MARC JOHNSON: It was our second fight
and Juarez was looking for a way out.
KEN HISSNER: You had won 39 straight
fights and met Rafael Marquez, 25-3 in Texas. You thought you won
the fight but didn’t. What happened?
MARC JOHNSON: They declared me the
winner but reversed the decision 2 hours later.
KEN HISSNER: You had a real scare
before the month was out after signing for a rematch with Marquez.
MARC JOHNSON: I was standing on the
corner with Leon “Too Sharp” Wilkins. I was known as Lil Sharp
then. I was shot in the foot and he was shot to death. We never
knew who did it. He was my best friend so I took his name “Too
KEN HISSNER: What happened in the
MARC JOHNSON: I was winning the fight
early but he came on and dropped me with a body shot in the eighth
round to win the fight.
KEN HISSNER: After the Juarez rematch
in 1999 you never made 115 again until 2003 for the WBO super
flyweight title defeating Mexico’s Fernando Montiel, 27-0-1. How
were you able to make that weight and was that the first and only
time Chilly Wilson was in your corner?
MARC JOHNSON: I wanted to fight at
118. I had beaten champion Tim Austin twice in the amateurs so I
knew I’d never get that chance. Chilly Wilson sparred with me when
I was an amateur and we had him help us in the corner.
KEN HISSNER: After defeating Puerto
Rico’s Luis Bolano, 41-1, at 115, 4 months later you were at 123 in
a non title bout. Just 2 months after that you were back to 115
losing to Ivan Hernandez, 17-0-1. Was weight a problem?
MARC JOHNSON: I was drained making
weight and thought in 24 hours I could get my energy back but didn’t.
I could barely walk to the scales.
KEN HISSNER: You ended your career
losing to Jhonny Gonzalez, 31-4, for his WBO bantam title. He is the
current WBC featherweight champion now. You couldn’t make weight so
it was a non-title bout.
MARC JOHNSON: I knew my career was
over. My family and friends even let me know.
KEN HISSNER: When did you accept Jesus
Christ as Your Lord & Savior?
MARC JOHNSON: I accepted Christ as my
Savior in 1993 at the 2nd Baptist church in Southwest DC.
KEN HISSNER: Who had the most
influence on you?
MARC JOHNSON: I’m a momma’s boy.
My mom was always there for me. She would bang on my door with a
spoon and say “get up and run”. She is my best friend and I call
her every day.
KEN HISSNER: I want to thank you for
taking the time to answer these questions. Anything you want to say
to your fans?
MARC JOHNSON: I look forward to be
back in the ring someday either as a boxer or a referee.
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