Golovkin-Lemieux undercard: Johnson outpoints game O’Kane
NEW YORK CITY – Tureano Johnson took a step toward challenging the winner of Gennady Golovkin-David Lemieux by outpointing game fellow slugger Eamon O’Kane on the undercard of the WBA/IBF middleweight title unification showdown on Saturday.
Their entertaining scrap, part of the HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast from a packed Madison Square Garden, was an elimination bout for the No. 1 spot in the IBF’s middleweight rankings. Johnson (19-1, 13 knockouts), of Nassau, Bahamas, won by scores of 119-107, 118-108 and 117-109, but those one-sided tallies don’t really tell the story of the fight.
Johnson appeared to be on his way to making quick work of O’Kane (17-2-1, 5 KOs), dropping the Belfast, Ireland native twice in the opening round with a series of flush hooks and crosses.
But O’Kane came to fight. Although the Irishman continued to absorb flush power shots from Johnson, who often boxed from a distance as a southpaw while standing-and-trading in an orthodox stance, he gradually fought his way back into the bout with constant pressure and a relentless body attack.
By Rounds 5, 6 and 7, O’Kane was backing Johnson to the ropes and effectively working the harder-punching middleweight over. However, O’Kane gassed out a bit down the stretch, allowing Johnson the time and space to place telling uppercuts, hooks and crosses to the body and head.
O’Kane threw more punches than Johnson, according to CompuBox stats but Johnson landed a lot more, including 58 percent of his power shots (396 of 687). That power punch connect rate set a CompuBox record for the middleweight division (eclipsing the 375 that Bernard Hopkins landed against William Joppy).
In a heavyweight attraction, Cuban standout Luis Ortiz outclassed and overpowered Matias Ariel Vidondo, of Roario, Argentina, in three round to remain undefeated. Ortiz (23-0, 20 KOs) rocked Vidondo into the ropes near the end of Round 2 and then clipped him with a left as he bounced off of them. Vidondo went down hard and the fight probably should have been stopped then, but the young Argentine somehow found his way back to his corner.
However, the Cuban southpaw dropped him even harder with the first combination (a long-range hook-left cross) he threw in the opening seconds of Round 3. This time Ortiz’s big left hand left Vidondo (20-2-1, 18 KOs) face down on the canvas. The fight was waved off 17 seconds into Round 3.
Ruslan Madiyev, a rugged 22-year-old junior welterweight prospect from Kazakhstan (managed by Golovkin’s team), earned a four-round decision over durable late-sub Sean Gee, of Chicago.
Madiyev (6-0, 3 KOs – or 6-1 if you count a loss he suffered in a World Series of Boxing semi-pro bout) rocked Gee (2-3) into the ropes early in Round 2, prompting referee Shada Murdaugh call a technical knockdown. Gee was strong and game enough to stand his ground during much of their physical in-fighting but he couldn’t match Madiyev’s punching power (particularly the pop in his looping right hand).
Madiyev, who was supported by vocal contingent of Kazakhstan fans in attendance, won by scores of 40-35 (twice) and 39-36.
Lightweight prospect Lamont Roach, of Washington, D.C., scored a unanimous six-round decision over durable and game young journeyman Jose Bustos, of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Roach (9-0, 3 KOs), who just turned 20, landed the harder, cleaner punches en route to unanimous scores of 59-55. Bustos (7-6-3, 4 KOs) landed a few shots of his own, though, enough to win Round 2 on two scorecards and Round 3 on one.
In the opening bout of the K2/Golden Boy Promotions card, junior welterweight prospect Maurice Hooker remained unbeaten with a very close, hard-fought 10-round split decision over Ghislain Maduma.
Hooker (19-0-2, 14 KOs), of Dallas, Texas, scored a knockdown in Round 4, which gave him the edge on 95-93 and 95-94 scorecards. Maduma (17-2, 11 KOs), who rocked Hooker badly in Round 6 and was the aggressor for much of the bout, earned a 95-93 tally on the third official card.
It was a brisk, competitive and entertaining fight. Hooker, the taller and rangier of the two 140 pounders, was the boxer in the matchup. Maduma, the squat and more athletic of the two, was the bomber.