Denver Hosts Johnston-Jose on May 18
LAS VEGAS - Denver’s prodigal son Stevie “Lil’ But Bad” Johnson returns home to Denver to fight there for the first time in 6 1/2 years when he headlines “Rocky Mountain Mayhem,” promoted by Silverhawk Championship Boxing, on May 18 at the Broomfield Event Center in Broomfield, Colorado.
Johnston (40-4-1, 18 KOs) will defend his IBA World lightweight title belt against Dominican knockout artist Luis Ernesto “The Butcher” Jose (27-4-2, 24 KOs) in the 12-round main event. Also scheduled to fight on the “Rocky Mountain Mayhem” card are NBA light welterweight champion Adrian “Juanito” Mora (18-0-1, 10 KOs), of Thornton (CO), and Sonny Liston-look alike heavyweight Cedric “The Bos” Boswell (23-1, 18 KOs).
“I feel very good about fighting at home again,” Johnston said. “I’m returning as a champion and that’s awesome. The people there are real sports fans. They love sports and me. I always train hard but I’m training even harder for this fight because I’m going home to give my best possible performance.”
Johnston captured the World Boxing Council lightweight championship twice between 1997 and 2000, and had seven successful title defenses. His many victims include five major world champions: Sharmba Mitchell, Jean Baptiste Mendy, Cesar Bazan, James Page, and Alejandro Gonzalez.
In his last Denver fight on September 15, 2000, Johnston sold-out the Pepsi Center and he was originally declared the winner by majority decision against then WBC lightweight champion Jose Luis Castillo (41-4). Thirty-minutes after the decision had been announced, however, officials discovered a scoring error resulting in a draw and Castillo retaining his title.
Johnston briefly moved up in weight to fight at 140 pounds, but the 5-5 crafty southpaw soon realized that he was giving away too much size and strength, returning to his natural weight of 135 pounds.
“It was a really big difference,” Stevie spoke about fighting as a super lightweight. “I fought Vivian Harris on two weeks notice. We both weighed in at 140 but he was a lot bigger than me. I wasn’t a true super lightweight. He must have weighed 160 pounds after he re-hydrated and he’s 5-11. I was a true lightweight fighting a middleweight.”
Jose, who has 24 knockouts in his 27 wins, has already resorted to trash talking while the always-classy Johnston has taken the high road. “I am going to show the world on May 18th that I will be the new, true IBA lightweight champion, not Stevie Johnston, who doesn’t belong in the same ring as me,” Jose spouted. “People of Denver, listen to me. You think you’re a big league city? The Orange Crush means nada. ‘The Butcher’ is going to give your city a big league name when I humiliate your favorite son, ‘Lil’ But Bad.’ Ain’t no way he ever fought anyone even close to a talent like me. I, Luis Ernesto Jose, will make believers out of everyone in Denver. I will butcher Stevie Johnston in the Broomfield Event Center. Not even his mother will recognize him.”
“I don’t know too much about my opponent other than he’s left-handed and comes to fight,” Johnston remarked. “I look at all of my fights like it’s my last. I want to go down as one of the best lightweights of all-time.
“I’m not looking past this fight, but I’d love to fight any of the lightweight champions, my belt against their belts, one by one. My goal is to unify the lightweight division. That’s what fight fans want, to know the real lightweight champion of the world. I’ll fight the (Acelino) Freitas-(Juan) Diaz winner (April 28) for the WBO-WBA unified title against my IBA belt, or any of the other Diaz champions (WBC’s David and IBF’s Julio).”
KO Corner News • Weight Classes • Junior Welterweight • Lightweight • Cedric Boswell • Stevie Johnston