WASHINGTON, D.C. — Former two-division titleholder Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson, the first African-American fighter to win a flyweight title, told RingTV.com on Wednesday that he believes that there is “no comparison” between himself and THE RING’s No. 1-rated pound-for-pound fighter Manny Pacquiao, who captured his first of a record eight crowns as a 112-pounder in December of 1998.
“There is no comparison. Let me tell you something: like I have said before, nobody called me out, I called them out. So, I didn’t fight no dead men. I didn’t have to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes,” said Johnson.
“I didn’t have to pull the wool over the eyes of people who don’t know boxing by fighting guys like Shane Mosley, Oscar De La Hoya and even all of those guys like Antonio Margarito. Them guys were already dead. Everybody I fought was alive.”
On Tuesday, Johnson was elected to the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s Canastota, New York-based museum, along with five-division titleholder Thomas “The Hit-Man” Hearns, five-time trainer of the Year Freddie Roach, ring announcer Michael Buffer, Showtime Sports color commentator Al Bernstein and veteran boxing journalist Michael Katz among others.
Johnson was on hand at Wednesday’s Washington, D.C., event at the John A. Wilson building, which houses D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray, Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown and their support staffs.
A native of Washington, D.C., Johnson was in attendance to help promote Saturday night’s HBO-televised clash at the Washington Convention Center between RING No. 1-rated junior welterweight and WBA/IBF beltholder Amir Khan (26-1, 18 knockouts) and RING No. 6-rated Lamont Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KOs).
Roach will work Khan’s corner, and Buffer will introduce the fighters with his trademark phrase, “Lets Get Ready To Rumble.”
A slick boxer-puncher, the 40-year-old Johnson (44-5, 28 KOs) was ranked as high as No. 3 in the sport’s pound-for-pound ratings before retiring in February of 2006.
Johnson was ducked by standout fighters of his day from 108 to 115 pounds, such as Johnny Tapia, Danny Romero, Michael Carbajal and Ricardo Lopez.
Meanwhile, Johnson believes Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) has been the beneficiary of having faced inferior if not past-their-prime opposition, including No. 5-rated pound-for-pound and 38-year-old WBO/WBA lightweight beltholder Juan Manuel Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs), over whom Pacquiao won a controversial majority decision on Nov. 12.
It was the third meeting between the two, who had earlier battled to a draw and a split-decision win for Pacquiao in May of 2004 and March of 2008, respectively.
“When Pacquiao finally fought Juan Manuel Marquez again, it was a guy that was 40 percent dead, and the guy controlled the whole fight, and the guy controlled the pace of the fight. When I fought, I controlled all of my fights,” said Johnson.
“Nobody else controlled the pace. I always made the comparison of me and Marvin Hagler and Aaron Pryor. Me and Hagler were left-handed, and we were too good and too black. Aaron Pryor could use both hands, and he was too good and he was crazy.”
Photo by Delane Rouse, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org