By Scotti Vandevender – Fightnews.com
Mark “Too Sharp” Johnson (44-4, 28 KOs) entered the ring as the WBO champion and self proclaimed best 115-pound fighter in the world “bar none.” But, 21-year-old Ivan “Choko” Hernandez (19-0-1, 13 KOs) came to prove otherwise as he fought a courageous fight from the start.
Hernandez began the fight charging forward, stunning the champ with a straight right hand that staggered Johnson backward, immediately letting Johnson know this would be no easy fight.
“ I knew when I landed the first right hand that I could do it. I knew with my heart, my determination, that I could win the fight,” Hernandez later revealed strictly to Fightnews.
While Johnson pressed the action in the second and third rounds, Hernandez proved willing to stand toe-to-toe and trade power shots as the two traded arsenals of uppercuts, and hooks in close quarters. Hernandez continued to come forward through the fourth as he landed a shot to the chest that momentarily shook Johnson. Hernandez pressed forward again into the sixth round when Johnson took charge.
Johnson turned up the heat as his punches started landing on the young Hernandez in succession. Johnson landed a huge overhand right, followed by a left that wobbled Hernandez. Johnson then landed punch after punch, loading up on each shot. Looping overhand punches and uppercuts thundered across Hernandez’s skull as he held onto Johnson to end the sixth.
With the recover power of Holyfield in his prime, Hernandez charged forward to begin round seven as if unaffected by the round before. “I felt the punches hard in round six. I can take nothing away from Johnson. My heart said keep going.”
Hernandez then blasted Johnson with a straight right hand that immediately sat him on his rear. Johnson looked to his corner and smiled, up righting himself at the count of eight. Then Hernandez continued to apply pressure.
Relentless and pursuant of the champion, Hernandez continued unleashing punch after punch. Then Hernandez thundered a right uppercut to Johnson’s ribcage and down he went. Felled and on all fours, Johnson could not raise from the canvas for close to a minute as referee Armando Garcia counted him out a 2:42 of round eight, leaving Ivan “Choko” Hernandez the new WBO Junior Bantamwieght champion.
After the fight jubilant manager Jesse Mercado specifically sought out Fightnews for the prime story while also interpreting for the Spanish-speaking Hernandez. “He (Hernandez) is only 21 years old. This is just his 20th fight! He has a long career ahead of him!”
“ I can not believe it. Thank God. I have a solid team. The addition of Ronny Shield helped me find weak spots. Our plan was to pressure Mark,” Hernandez said. “Super flyweights are avoiding each other. We knew what we had. We knew we were ready to fight the best in the world. I was 51-5 in the amateurs and knew I could do it.”
While Mercado seeks to have his fighter unify the belts at 115 pounds, Hernandez would like to handle some unfinished business of his own via a match up with fellow Mexican fighter Fernando Montiel. “I would like to fight Montiel. Montiel said Johnson was fighting a nobody. What do you thing now Montiel? I have beaten the best fighter in the world,” Hernandez stated.
I would like to thank Jesse Mercado for the exclusive interview and wish him and his fighter the best.
D. Logan (7-1-1, 5 KO’s), tough to See that “O” go!
Last Saturday night, while most fight fans we’re just thinking about heading toward the FedEx Forum, the fights had already begun. One of those fights was the Darnell Logan (7-0-1, 5 KO’s) of Covington, TN, vs. Mario Lacey (5-7-3, 5 KO’s) from Mobile, AL. The bout began with both fighters trading shots in the center of the ring. Logan was able to get off good shots to the head and body but Lacey took them well.Towards the end of round 2 Lacey floored Logan with a hard right hook that landed flush to the head. Logan took his time getting off the canvas and when he finally gained his senses and lifted himself up, his legs were too wobbley and the referee called the fiight at 2:54 of round 2.
Montana wins rematch over Brown!
Former cruiserweight contender Saul Montana (41-12, 36 KOs) decisioned Gabe Brown (15-5-1, 9 KOs) in a heavyweight contest on Saturday at the FedExForum as part of the non-televised undercard in support of the Glen Johnson vs. Roy Jones Jr. showdown. Brown, whose weight exceeded the 350-pound limit of the scales on Friday, had no answer to the sticking and moving style of Montana. Montana (229) was able to stay on the outside and potshot the plodding, blubbery Brown at will throughout the fight. Brown got the crowd cheering for him in the third when he swayed his enormous hips in hula hip fashion at the advancing Montana. The cheering turned into laughter soon afterwards which was replaced by booing moments later. The sixth round was the only round that Brown showed any offensive initiative. Brown was able to briefly close the gap and go toe-to-toe with Montana during the sixth round but Montana retreated into ropes to escape the assault. Montana was hurt during the exchange but
Brown ran out of gas before he could capitalize. The nose of Brown was busted up by pecking jab of Montana during the middle rounds. Montana went on to win a unanimous ten-round decision. This fight was a rematch of their November 2003 affair in which both fighters were down in the opening round but it was Brown who TKO’ed Montana in the first round.
John Johnson Faces toughest opponent yet!
Undefeated light heavyweight John Johnson (6-0, 5 KOs) had a tougher time than anticipated in winning a decision over Martin Verdin (6-4, 3 KOs). Johnson, an outstanding amateur, was caught a few times by Verdin during the four round contest but Johnson was never in danger. A left hook sent Verdin crashing to the canvas midway into the first round. Verdin recovered but the southpaw Johnson kept the pressure on with thudding left hooks. Verdin suffered a nasty gash below his right eye during the third round and a vicious assault at the end of the round had Verdin hanging onto the ropes. Johnson won a unanimous decision with all of the judges’ scorecards reading 40-35.