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Marvin Johnson (born April 12, 1954) is an American former boxer who was a 3-time light-heavyweight champion of the world. As an amateur, Johnson fought in the 1972 Olympics in Munich, winning a bronze medal, and made his way up the professional ranks in the light heavyweight division soon thereafter. Johnson was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008 alongside Lennox Lewis and Pernell Whitaker[1]. His nickname is "Pops".

Marvin Johnson
Personal information
BornApril 12, 1954 (1954-04-12) (age 65)
Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.

Contents

Amateur careerEdit

  Won the 1971 National Golden Gloves Light Heavyweight Championship, March 22 at Fort Worth, Texas:

  Won the 1971 National AAU Light Heavyweight (178 lb.) Championship, May 1 at New Orleans, Louisiana:

  • Finals: Defeated Hernando Molyneaux KO 1

  Won the 1971 North American (178 lb.) Championship, May 31 at Latham, New York:

  • Defeated William Titley (Canada) TKO 1

  Won The 1972 National Golden Gloves Middleweight (165 lb.) Championship, March 20 at Minneapolis, Minnesota:

  • 1/2: Defeated Joey Hadley by decision (Hadley cut under both eyes)
  • Finals: Defeated Don Rucker KO 2 (0:50)

  Represented the United States at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, earning a bronze medal in the 165 pound class, after he was knocked out in the second round of a semifinal by eventual gold medalist Vyacheslav Lemeshev of the Soviet Union.

1972 Olympic resultsEdit

Below are the results of Marvin Johnson, an American middleweight boxer, who competed at the 1972 Munich Olympics:

  • Round of 32: bye
  • Round of 16: Defeated Ewald Jarmer (West Germany) by unanimous decision, 5–0
  • Quarterfinal: Defeated Alejandro Montoya (Cuba) by unanimous decision, 5–0
  • Semifinal: Lost to Vyacheslav Lemeshev (Soviet Union) by second-round TKO (was awarded bronze medal)

Professional careerEdit

As a professional, Johnson won his first 15 bouts, including a nationally televised 4th round knockout over highly regarded veteran Tom "The Bomb" Bethea. However, Johnson lost for the first time as a professional in his next fight, against rising contender Matthew Franklin (later known as Matthew Saad Muhammad) by 12th round knockout in a furious battle for the NABF light heavyweight title[2]. Following this setback, Johnson rallied, not for the first time in his career, impressively winning several bouts, until losing a decision to highly ranked Lottie Mwale. A subsequent win over Jerry Celestine set up a world title fight, which saw Johnson taking the WBC light heavyweight crown from fellow southpaw Mate Parlov of Yugoslavia via 10th-round KO in Italy in December 1978. For his first title defense, in April of 1979, Johnson chose Matthew Franklin, the very man who had beaten him in an epic war two years earlier. In front of his hometown Indianapolis fans, Johnson engaged Franklin in a rematch of such intensity and drama that it is regarded among boxing historians as one of the greatest title fights in history[3]. Mirroring their first brutal encounter, Johnson controlled the early going, but the Philadelphia-based Franklin gamely hung in. The tide turned in the 6th and 7th rounds as Johnson began to tire. Ultimately Franklin prevailed in the 8th, a round of such ferocity that it would enter boxing lore[4], stopping Johnson late in the frame, and despite bleeding severely himself, from the nose and from cuts around both eyes.

Showing the resilience that would mark his career, Johnson would again win a world title belt later that very year—this time the WBA version—by fighting the rugged Victor Galindez from Argentina in New Orleans as part of a three-fight 'television card' that included two title bouts (Antuofermo-Hagler I and Benitez-Leonard) staged in Las Vegas. After a see-saw battle through the first ten rounds, Johnson nailed—and floored—Galindez with one of his fabled 'over-the-top-from-underneath' left hands, and the title changed hands when the champion's corner surrendered after Galindez hit the canvas.

As with his previous first title defense, Johnson again chose the strongest available contender to challenge for his belt, this time Eddie Gregory (later to be known as Eddie Mustafa Muhammad). On the Tate-Weaver undercard in Knoxville in March of 1980, Johnson fought courageously, but ultimately succumbed to Eddie Mustafa Muhammad (née Gregory), who used a vicious body attack to outwork, outhustled, and out last the game Champion en route to an 11th-round TKO victory.

Things looked bleak when Johnson fought the up-and-coming Michael Spinks in early 1981—just before Spinks dethroned Johnson's latest conqueror, Mustafa Muhammad. Johnson was off to a promising start, but the 1976 Olympian Spinks landed his famous "Spinks jinx" that put Johnson out for good in the fourth round.

Johnson recovered and proceeded to win 16 straight fights, defeating good fighters like Prince Charles Williams along the way, and in February 1986 would again be before his Indianapolis fans, fighting Leslie Stewart of Trinidad and Tobago for the WBA light heavyweight title that became vacant when Spinks abdicated to become a heavyweight. Stewart gave Johnson some fits, but cuts would take their toll on Stewart and were the reason that the fight was stopped in the seventh round, thus making Johnson the first ever three-time champion in the division. An injury postponed his first defense against Jean-Marie Emebe of Cameroon, but the two would hook up in Indianapolis in September of that year. It was the first time that Johnson would both enter and leave the ring as champion—he was the winner by 13th-round TKO.

Next, it was on to Trinidad for a rematch with Stewart on May 23, 1987. However, it was all Stewart this time, as he floored Johnson several times in the first few rounds, and while Johnson always regained his feet and was never counted out he did tell his cornermen after eight rounds that 'enough was enough,' and by doing so became an ex-champ for a third time.

Johnson retired after that bout.

HonorsEdit

Named The Ring magazine Comeback of the Year fighter for 1984.

Professional boxing recordEdit

43 Wins (35 knockouts, 8 decisions), 6 Losses (5 knockouts, 1 decision) [5]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss 44–5   Leslie Stewart RTD 8 1987-05-23   Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago Lost WBA World Light Heavyweight Title
Win 43–5   Jean Marie Emebe TKO 13 1986-09-20   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States Retained WBA World Light Heavyweight Title
Win 42–5   Leslie Stewart TKO 7 1986-02-09   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States Won WBA World Light Heavyweight Title
Win 41–5   Frank Lux KO 4 1985-12-04   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 40–5   Raleigh Searcy KO 4 1985-10-11   Terre Haute, Indiana, United States
Win 39–5   Eddie Davis TKO 5 1985-04-21   Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Won USBA Light Heavyweight Title
Win 38–5   Charles Henderson TKO 2 1985-01-17   Merrillville, Indiana, United States
Win 37–5   Eddie Collins KO 2 1984-12-13   Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 36–5   Charles Williams UD 10 1984-11-08   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 35–5   Johnny Davis UD 10 1984-08-30   Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 34–5   Jerome Clouden TKO 5 1984-06-14   Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 33–5   Eddie Gonzales KO 4 1984-03-26   Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 32–5   Elvis Parks KO 4 1984-01-18   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 31–5   Mike Brothers TKO 10 1983-11-21   Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 30–5   Andros Ernie Barr KO 8 1983-02-25   Nassau, Bahamas
Win 29–5   Alvino Manson KO 1 1982-10-14   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 28–5   Darnell Hayes TKO 2 1982-04-06   Danville, Illinois, United States
Loss 27–5   Michael Spinks KO 4 1981-03-28   Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 27–4 Rick Nash KO 3 1981-01-28   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 26–4   Eddie Straight KO 1 1981-01-15   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 25–4   Dave Lee Royster KO 4 1980-09-09   Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Loss 24–4   Eddie Mustafa Muhammad TKO 11 1980-03-31   Knoxville, Tennessee, United States Lost WBA World Light Heavyweight Title
Win 24–3   Victor Galindez KO 11 1979-11-30   New Orleans, Louisiana, United States Won WBA World Light Heavyweight Title
Win 23–3   Carlos Marks PTS 10 1979-09-20   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Loss 22–3   Matthew Saad Muhammad TKO 8 1979-04-22   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States Lost WBC World Light Heavyweight Title
Win 22–2   Mate Parlov TKO 10 1978-12-02   Marsala, Sicily, Italy Won WBC World Light Heavyweight Title
Win 21–2   Jerry Celestine PTS 10 1978-09-15   New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Loss 20–2   Lottie Mwale PTS 8 1978-06-17   Belgrade, Yugoslavia
Win 20–1   Johnny Baldwin UD 10 1978-05-24   Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 19–1   Eddie Davis KO 7 1978-04-03   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 18–1   Roberto Reynosa KO 1 1978-01-31   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 17–1   Billy Douglas TKO 5 1977-11-01   Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 16–1   Johnny Fields KO 1 1977-09-28   Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Loss 15–1   Matthew Saad Muhammad TKO 12 1977-07-26   Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States For NABF Light Heavyweight Title
Win 15–0   Tom Bethea KO 4 1977-04-22   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 14–0   Johnny Townsend PTS 10 1977-02-21   Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 13–0   Vandell Woods PTS 10 1976-11-30   Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 12–0   Wayne McGee TKO 1 1976-09-14   Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Win 11–0   Harold Carter TKO 2 1976-04-15   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 10–0   Ray Anderson TKO 6 1976-04-03   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 9–0   Eddie Owens KO 3 1975-11-13   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 8–0   Paul Cardoza KO 4 1975-04-17   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 7–0   Gary Summerhays PTS 10 1975-01-29   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 6–0   Jim Adams KO 1 1974-12-11   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 5–0   Johnny Words TKO 6 1974-11-12   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States
Win 4–0   Ted Paxton KO 2 1974-07-17   Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 3–0   Chuck Warfield TKO 5 1973-10-30   Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States
Win 2–0   Al Byrd KO 1 1973-09-17   Fort Wayne, Indiana, United States
Win 1–0   Sylvester Wilder KO 2 1973-05-22   Indianapolis, Indiana, United States Wilder knocked out at 1:30 of the second round.

Life after boxingEdit

Johnson currently serves as a civilian employee for the Marion County Sheriff's Office in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he formerly served as a Deputy.

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

  • Professional boxing record for Marvin Johnson from BoxRec
  • Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill. "Marvin Johnson". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC.
Preceded by
Mate Parlov
WBC Light Heavyweight Champion
2 Dec 1978–22 Apr 1979
Succeeded by
Matthew Franklin
Preceded by
Victor Galindez
WBA Light Heavyweight Champion
30 Nov 1979–31 Mar 1980
Succeeded by
Eddie Gregory
Preceded by
Michael Spinks
Vacated
WBA Light Heavyweight Champion
9 Feb 1986 – 23 May 1987
Succeeded by
Leslie Stewart