Boxers come from every corner of the globe. Sometimes, fighters are products of their environment, favoring styles prevalent in the country or state from which they hail. Various regions of the United States are considered factories for great fighters, though that certainly is not the case with each state. In this weekly Sherdog.com series, the spotlight will shine on the best boxer of all-time from each of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Fighters do not necessarily need to be born in a given state to represent it; they simply need to be associated with it.
Though small in stature, Mark Johnson was a giant inside the ring. “Too Sharp” was among the best fighters in the sport from the mid-1990s through the early 2000s.
Johnson parlayed an excellent amateur background into a sensational professional career, and it paid off handsomely. The Washington, D.C., native knocked out Francisco Trejedor in 95 seconds to capture the vacant IBF flyweight championship on May 4, 1996. He successfully defended the title on seven occasions before moving up in weight to claim the IBF super flyweight crown with a unanimous over Chaiya Pothang a little less than three years later. While age appeared to catch up to him in back-to-back losses to Rafael Marquez in October 2001 and February 2002, Johnson later regrouped and added the WBO junior bantamweight championship to his collection in a majority decision over Fernando Montiel.
The best-known lower-weight stars of the era -- Michael Carbajal, Johnny Tapia and Ricardo Lopez -- were rumored to have avoided Johnson in his prime. Nevertheless, he closed out his career with a stellar 44-5 record and 28 knockouts before being inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2012.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Ronald “Winky” Wright, Lamont Peterson, Gary Russell Jr., DeMarcus Corley, Keith Holmes, Sharmba Mitchell