Kevin Johnson Derails Unbeaten Devin Vargas

Kevin Johnson16.05.09 - By Paul Strauss: Kevin Johnson exposed the unbeaten heavyweight prospect Devin Vargas. Vargas’ long and successful amateur career failed to translate into a good showing against a tough opponent like Johnson. Specifically, he failed to throw punches with authority. It was obvious to everyone in attendance at Harrah's Marina Hotel Casino, in Atlantic City, NJ who was in charge.

It was fun to watch Johnson initially give his best impression of the great Jack Johnson with his left low, and right held high with palm forward to parry. Also, ala The Galveston Giant, Kevin points his left foot straight ahead, squares his shoulders, and keeps his weight back on his right foot.

When punches are thrown, Johnson parries, pulls back, or uses a shoulder roll. In the meantime, on offense he uses a fast hard jab, which is hard for his opponent to pick up when launched from its lower position. He also hooks well off of the jab, and managed to land several hard hooks to Vargas' right ear, which had him complaining that he couldn't hear out of that ear..

For good measure Johnson also mixes in sharp right counters thrown after he executes his shoulder roll. By the third round he was landing all three on Vargas, and it was obvious he wasn't very concerned about what Vargas might do in retaliation. Specifically, Vargas had been throwing combinations, and if still in the amateurs, he would have been scoring points. But, the pros are a different thing altogether. Reality sets in for successful amateurs when they come to realize they can't win by simply landing punches on the knuckle portion of the glove to a target area. The reality is something has to be behind it, and it was evident Vargas didn't have that "something" to keep Johnson off him.

Johnson could have had Vargas out by the third if he was a better finisher. Even so, he had things his own way, and was pot-shot’g Vargas with looping rights and hard left hooks. Finally, at 2:23 of the 6th round, Vargas' corner threw in the towel.

Ending someone's undefeated streak is always a good thing, but don't get too excited about Johnson's performance. He was obviously in the ring against someone with a padded recorded, who is game, but a light puncher with a vulnerable defense. Against tougher competition, it is doubtful Kevin would resemble the all time great Jack Johnson to any great degree.

The semi-main event showcased the talents of Jorge Luis Teron in a rematch against Aldo Valtierra. The two had just met December 4th, 2008, when Valtierra came away with a MD. Teron came in to tonight's contest feeling he had figured out Valtierra in the later rounds of their previous meeting. He was confident he would be coming out of this fight as the clear winner.

Teron is another one of those fighters who causes fans to shake their heads in amazement. They wonder how this kid makes weight! How can a well-muscled six-footer make weight at 135 lbs! Well, he does, and generally speaking he uses his size pretty well; although he does have a tendency, once in a while, to engage at close quarters when unnecessary.

In tonight's action, Teron seemed to win every round with the possible exception of one, when he got clipped with a solid right hand. The punch caused his mouth piece to go flying.

The fact is Teron got tagged with more than one right hand, but didn't suffer much as a result, other than a little puffiness and a scrape under the left eye. Teron exhibited a pretty good jab, and nice sharp, short left hook. He also has good foot work, but does bounce a bit on occasion, which leaves him "unset". All in all, he looked good, and demonstrated he learned from his only defeat. He is now 23-1-1, with the draw occurring in a six round bout back in 2006. If he works on tightening up his defense against the right hand, he could be trouble for a lot of fighters in the lightweight division.

Now, get ready for the Andre Ward vs. Edison Miranda matchup Saturday. Ward seems extremely confident, and as always Miranda is predicting a KO. IT should be an interesting medalist versus knockout artist. The two won’t have any big physical advantage over the other. Ward with enter the ring with his 18-0 record, along with his 2004 Olympic Gold Metal for the Light Heavyweight Division, and two national championships. Miranda brings his 27 big KOs into the ring, and is always supremely confident he will keep adding to that number. Andre's got a few KOs of his own, and knows Pantera has been beaten three times, and has been stopped twice. The fireworks will start tomorrow night on Showtime, coming to you from the Oracle Arena, Oakland, CA.

Article posted on 17.05.2009

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