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Johnson/Mackey bout huge for pro boxing

Guardian Sports Reporter

Published: Aug 24, 2013

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Former Commonwealth Boxing Council Super Middleweight Champion Jermain Mackey and Taureano Johnson are talking up a match. A lot has to happen for such a bout to get the go-ahead from the Bahamas Boxing Commission. No doubt, as has been the usual, the commission will relax the conditions as much as possible to yet remain credible with the world boxing organizations it is associated with.

Now, the boxers just have to follow through on all of the boastful words.

Such a bout will ignite interest in professional boxing in the country and indeed in the Caribbean region. The encounter would be pivotal, connecting a fighter, formerly with world title potential, and one who is up-and-coming and eager to make a professional statement.

Johnson, considered widely as the best amateur boxer in the history of the country, wants badly to at least have equal success as a professional. He has always been an engaging figure in the ring, ready to mix it up. Johnson has never had a boring fight. Even in his defeats as an amateur, he inspired the action.

His defeats have been because of a lack of ability to shift his tactics from time to time. As a pro, he has gotten more seasoned and a bit more versatile. He stands thus, as an appropriate opponent for Mackey and if the bout comes off, Johnson would be the likely favorite.

This would be the case for a number of reasons.

Firstly, Johnson is a durable opponent and sports a 15-0 record. He is on the rise. Mackey is very close to being officially tagged as a has-been. Mackey has lost the last three times he has been in the ring. A positive note for him would be the fact that about a three-year break came between 2009 and 2012. His body got some much-needed rest.

A bout with Johnson will prove whether he has anything at all left. I wonder though, if he will only talk at this stage, rather than risk the chance of another devastating loss, this time before the home folks.

Could Mackey be a frightened chap these days?

I saw Ryan McKenzie challenge him face-to-face several years ago at the Nassau Stadium. McKenzie, the Bahamian light heavyweight champion, offered to come down in weight all the way to Mackey’s limit to accommodate the bout. That was at a time when Mackey was connected to Elkeana Saunders in a promotional set-up. Mackey didn’t make the fight.

Now, it is Johnson who has called him out.

Mackey is really at a crossroads. The commission, about two years ago, regulated its title divisions and eliminated fighters who had been inactive. Although there is not a lot of activity going on, the time is drawing near once again for another look at the divisional structure.

Mackey could be stripped of the title. That’s a distinct possibility. The little market value he has now, would then be gone.

If he wishes to continue his career, he has few options. He really should accept the fight with Johnson and have his handlers make contact with the commission to find out what are the conditions required. Mackey is nearing the point of old age in boxing. He will be 34 in December.

The clock is ticking.

A win over Johnson could revive his career.

• To respond to this column, contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com.


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