Prospect Johnson on Roy Jones' Card July 14

He’s bold and he’s brash. He’s cocky and confident. There is an air of the young Cassius Clay in the personality of super middleweight prospect Ron Johnson. The 9-1, 168-pounder even has the nerve, the temerity, the gall and the chutzpah to grandly label himself “The American Dream..

Doesn’t that bring back memories of the verbose, poetry-spouting kid from Louisville who became an icon named Muhammad Ali? But, if the 21-year-old boxer from Cleveland does not qualify as a rhyme maker himself, he does have two strong poetic connections.

His mother, whose nom de plume is Tori J (her book on sale now is “Journey Through Darkness”), is a published poet and his trainer is none other than wanna-be poet, Floyd Mayweather Sr.

There is even a bit of poetic license in the story of how another Ron Johnson’s fate may have predestined this Ron Johnson’s ring career.

“My uncle, Ron Johnson, was a boxer,” Johnson said, “and he died in the ring just before he had his first professional bout. He was only 19 and he was my father’s brother. When I was born, everyone said I looked like him and that I might be a boxer myself. They were right.”

Johnson moved from Ohio to boxing hotspot Las Vegas to be tutored by Floyd Mayweather’s father in the finer points of pugilism.

Now Johnson is about to be in the spotlight as he has been signed to a promotional deal by Murad Productions (Murad Muhammad) and will fight on the undercard of the big July 14 Biloxi, MS., PPV show starring ring legend Roy Jones Jr. and unbeaten Anthony ‘Tyger” Hanshaw. Johnson is sparring in Vegas on a daily basis with Hanshaw and he predicts a rough fight for both men at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum.

“Roy is such a giant in boxing,” Johnson said. “He has given so much to our sport. I’ve been friendly with Tony since age six, though, and he was the man in Ohio amateur circles. I saw him fight Jermain Taylor, Kelly Pavlik and many more. All of us in Ohio looked up to Tony as a boxer.

“It’s tough because Roy can box and punch,” Johnson said. “But Tony is like me, he’s got the skills to pay the bills and he can beat Roy Jones. But I can’t discount a man of Roy’s stature.”

Promoter Muhammad praised Johnson as a young man of “high moral character” and said he envisions big things for the fighter.

"Sky is the limit for this kid,” Muhammad said. “His one loss should not have happened. He had the other guy down twice. But he bounced back 10 days later with a victory. It was a lesson learned for Ron. Ron is a good kid who comes from a strong family. I’ve met his parents and I told them I’ll be Ron’s father in boxing, I will take him under my wing.”

For his part, Johnson said he has sponsors lined up including such names as Sean “P Diddy" Combs, the musical star and impresario. In Johnson’s view, he will be taking care of business inside and outside the ring.

“The American Dream.” Coming soon to a boxing ring and or television set near you.

Once there was a dreamer named Cassius Clay and now there is an ambitious fighter named Ron Johnson.

Article posted on 02.07.2007

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