Born Marcellus Joseph Johnson on August 13, 1971 in Washington, DC. A decorated amateur, Johnson won the National Golden Gloves title in 1988 and the 1989 ABF championship.
He turned pro in 1990 with a third round kayo over Ray Gonzalez. Initially fighting mainly in his hometown, in 1993 he began boxing under the Los Angeles-based Forum Boxing banner and headed west to start a march to the world’s flyweight title. A thrilling, give-and-take battle against world-rated Alberto Jimenez (W 12) at the Inglewood Forum brought him to the forefront of the division. Fourteen wins over the likes of Roberto Alvarez, Eduardo Ramirez, Enrique Orozco, Leon Salazar culminated with a shot at the vacant IBF flyweight title against Francisco Tejedor on May 4, 1996. ”Too Sharp” scored a devastating first round kayo to become the first African American flyweight champion in history. He successfully defended the crown seven times over the next two years, including a first round stoppage of Arthur Johnson. He became a two-division champion by beating Ratanachai Singwancha (W 12) in 1999 for the IBF super flyweight belt. Johnson next tested bantamweight waters and lost two bouts to Rafael Marquez (L 10, TKO by 8) in 2001 and 2002. Upon returning to the super flyweight class, he captured the WBO title by dethroning highly regarded Fernando Montiel (W 12). He lost the championship to Ivan Hernandez in 2004 (KO by 8) and after a 2006 loss to Jhonny Gonzalez (KO by 8) hung up his gloves with a 44-5 (28 KOs) record.
With a combination of dazzling hand speed, punching power and technique, the southpaw Johnson was widely considered one of boxing’s top pound-for-pound elite during his championship reigns.
Born: Aug.13, 1971