Former IBF Light Heavyweight Champion Glen Johnson (45-11-2, 30 KO’s) stopped former WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Montell Griffin (48-6, 30 KO’s) in the main event of ESPN2’s Wednesday Night Fights from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Florida. The fight was a world title eliminator with the winner slated to face IBF champion Clinton Woods.
In the first round, Griffin boxed from the outside as Johnson, age 38, moved forward and let his hands fly, occasionally scoring on Griffin with good body shots. It was obvious that Johnson was attacking the body hoping to wear down the usually slick Griffin. Griffin, age 36, had more luck in the second as he flicked a jab from the outside and snuck in a few combinations that scored well. Johnson kept coming forward in the third but was met with some effective countering by Griffin as he scored to the head and body.
It seemed like Griffin was changing the tide momentarily. Griffin came out for the fourth trying to duplicate the third but was met by Johnson’s jab and extremely high work-rate. Johnson repeatedly landed over hand rights along with some solid body shots.
Johnson opened up a cut over Griffin’s left eye which was later ruled an accidental elbow in the fifth round as the action heated up.
More body shots in the sixth continued to pay off for Johnson as Griffin’s movement seemed affected. A hard right hand by Johnson clearly bothered Griffin. It seemed like Johnson was now controlling the fight with his well concentrated attack. The Jamaican’s body attack was again constant in the seventh which created an opening for his hard right hands that landed on Griffin’s head several times.
Johnson came forward in the eighth as Griffin continued to box. Johnson again landed plenty of lefts and rights to the body and head as a tiring Griffin held on.
Johnson’s non stop work ethic continued to pay off in the ninth as he continued to land an assortment of right hands including uppercuts, body shots and overhand rights. Griffin picked up the pace at the end of the round to no avail.
Johnson kept the momentum going in the tenth and eleventh to solidify his domination. A left uppercut in the eleventh round spelled the end for Griffin as it was followed up by a barrage of punches to the body and head. Griffin was on the ropes as Johnson unleashed some wicked body shots which put the former WBC titlist in a bad state. Griffin’s corner prompted referee Jorge Alonso to stop the beating at 2:38 of the eleventh.
Twenty-two-year old Colombian Joel Julio (31-1, 29 KO’s) and Mauro Lucero (42-12-1, 28 KO’s) faced off in a welterweight scrap. Julio came out throwing combinations with deadly intentions from the start of the first round. Lucero looked to be having some luck keeping Julio at a distance when a right uppercut, left hook combination dropped the Mexican for an eight count. Lucero rose only to be met by a flurry including two hard straights that put the finishing touches on Lucero as the bell rang. The time of the stoppage was announced as 3:00 of the first round.
Middleweight prospect “Mean” Joe Greene (15-0, 11 KO’s) won a unanimous decision over journeyman Jose Spearman (27-13, 11 KO’s) in the first televised fight of the night.
Greene stalked Spearman in the first as Spearman boxed and managed to keep his opponent on the outside. A powerful left hand dropped Spearman for an eight count in the second round. Spearman rose and Greene pounced on his victim against the ropes. Spearman was staggered twice before the round was over as the more experienced 37 year old managed to survive by grabbing and holding until the end of the round.
Spearman kept Greene at bay with a long jab and boxed better in the third round to make matters a bit closer. Spearman traded with Greene in the fourth and scored with some hard straights that started a swelling over Greene’s left eye. It was during the last seconds of the fight that Greene landed a brutal left that dropped Spearman for the second time as the bell was about to ring. Spearman got up and fought on bravely in the fifth but Greene was the busier, more effective fighter and easily took the round.
Greene landed a hard uppercut that Spearman absorbed in the sixth and easily kept command of the fight as he landed an assortment of punches from the inside guard. The seventh was much like the sixth as Greene kept coming forward but started to show some weariness. Both men reached the eighth round and Greene came out swinging as he scored on several occasions. The scorecards by the judges read 80-70 and 79-71 (twice) in a wipe-out for Greene.
Who will win the Sergey Kovalev vs Andre Ward fight?