Manny Pacquiao sparring a former UFC fighter? Setting the record straightWritten by Leroy Cleveland
Many in the MMA world were giddy to learn fight legend Manny Pacquiao was sparring with Dashon Johnson, a fighter who was once employed by UFC.
Can a mixed martial artist really rumble in the ring with a fighter on Pacquiao's level, even if it is quality sparring?
The key word is quality.
What some have not reported is, Dashon, first and foremost, is a veteran "boxer" whose skills were good enough to earn him a spot in MMA's most respected organization.
So all this proves is that a converted journeyman boxer with a losing record can hang in MMA, not the other way around.
There 's no doubt UFC fighters are some of the most talented athletes in the world, but let's keep it real. This isn't jiu jitsu.
So who is Dashon Johnson?
A pugilist first, Johnson has 37 professional boxing fights (15-19-3) and 11 (9-2) MMA bouts. Hence, he has more than three times as many bouts as a boxer than an MMA fighter and is clearly not a mixed martial by trade a la BJ Penn and GSP, two great combatants whose focus, on the professional level, was mixed martial arts, not boxing.
Check out Dashon on BoxRec and Sherdog.
Johnson made his professional debut in boxing in 2008, four years prior to launching his pro MMA career. And despite his modest record in boxing, Dashon has shared the ring with some formidable foes including Glen Tapia (then 15-0), Jermell Charlo (then 18-0) and Joshua Clottey (36-4).
And last year, Johnson dropped a decision to the awkward and crafty Sergio Mora (then 26-3-2), a fighter who gives every opponent fits.
It's easy to understand why Manny Pacquiao would be sparring with Johnson. He's a slick, 27 year old, 5'9" boxer with a lot of experience who has faced some quality opposition and has been stopped inside the distance only twice in 37 boxing fights.
And while his amateur record cannot be found, don't be surprised if he had upwards of 60 or 70 amateur (boxing) fights prior to entering the pro ranks.
So although Dashon Johnson fought under the UFC banner, he was never a real MMA fighter per se. He was simply a veteran boxer who very admirably climbed his way to MMA's top organization.
But MMA or not, what elite boxer wouldn't want to have a slick veteran like Dashon in their camp?
Kudos to trainer Freddie Roach....
Based on Johnson's youth, size and (boxing) resume, he can probably give any elite boxer, including Mayweather and Amir Khan, a decent workout and some quality looks in the ring.
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