Titles: WBC Light heavyweight champion 1978-1979, WBA light heavyweight champion 1979-198o and 1986-1987 Record: 43-6 Born: April 12, 1954 in Indianapolis, Indiana (USA) Years active: 1973-1987 Nickname: None Johnson with his balding head and spindly body did not look like the classic light heavyweight, only in terms of heart will Marvin Johnson be compared to the other great light heavyweights. Make no mistake Johnson could fight however as his place on the 1972 Olympic team will attest too. In 1972 he also won the Golden Gloves title but only managed to take the bronze medal in the Olympics. After the Olympics Johnson turned pro in 1973 but for some reason only fought 13 times in 4 years. The clear turning point in the career of Marvin came in a epic battle which he ultimately lost to Matthew Saad Muhammad for the NABF light heavyweight title. It was a pitched incredible battle in which both fighters seemed on the verge of defeat only to summon up a reserve of energy from God knows where? It was Johnson who ultimately lost however.....a fight light that will never produce a loser! It was a fight that demanded he get more exposure. Wins over Billy Douglas, Eddie Davis and Jerry Celestine got Johnson a title shot at Mate Parlov in December of 1978. It was a opportunity that Marvin would not waste and Johnson took to the offensive and set a torrid pace that had Parlov holding by the 4th round and out in the 10th after 2 knockdowns in that round. It was a great win for a Johnson who had just gotten married 6 weeks prior to the bout. It was to be a short title reign for Johnson and once again Matthew Saad Muhammad was to beat Johnson. Less than 4 months had passed since his win over Parlov and he and Muhammad engaged in another terrific battle. It seems that Muhammad was just too strong for Johnson who was known as one of the fastest starters in boxing but once again Muhammad wore down Johnson in the late rounds. By the end of the 5th round Johnson was cut over both rounds and bleeding from the nose and mouth. Johnson showed heart by battling on wining some of the later rounds. Still he would ultimately loose in the fight of the year. Marvin never one to give up showed heart to battle on for another shot which he was to get against Victor Galindez. Stopping the rugged Galindez was a virtual impossibility but that is exactly what Johnson did in 11 rounds where he countered the slower Galindez at will. It seems Marvin's manager must have hated him (that is a joke) as he was once again not given a easy money making defense of his newly won title. Less than 3 months after winning the title from Galindez the tough Philadelphia schooled Eddie Gregory with whom Johnson was a roommate at the 1972 Olympic trials took the title from Johnson in 11th round. Once again Johnson started quickly again knocking Gregory down in the 3rd but a constant body attack wore down Johnson over the rounds. Another loss to future great light heavyweight Michael Spinks followed. This would spell the end for most fighters but Johnson again fought on and his patience was rewarded in 1986 when he stopped Leslie Steward for the vacant WBA title. This time Johnson would hold on to the title for 1 year but it was Steward who would win the title back in a rematch. Marvin in retirement worked at a Indiana State prison as a guard.
1973 May 23 Sylvester Wilder Indianapolis KO 2 Sep 17 Al Byrd Fort Wayne, IN KO 1 Oct 30 Chuck Warfield Fort Wayne, IN TKO 5 1974 Jul 17 Ted Paxton Chicago KO 2 Nov 12 Johnny Words Indianapolis KO 6 Dec 11 Jim Adams Indianapolis KO 1 1975 Jan 29 Gary Summerhayes Indianapolis W 10 Apr 17 Paul Cardoza Indianapolis KO 4 Nov 13 Eddie Owens Indianapolis KO 3 1976 Apr 3 Ray Anderson Indianapolis KO 6 Apr 15 Harold Carter Indianapolis KO 2 Sep 14 Wayne McGee Philadelphia KO 1 Nov 30 Vandell Woods Philadelphia W 10 1977 Feb 21 Johnny Townsend Philadelphia W 10 Apr 22 Tom Bethea Indianapolis KO 4 Jul 26 Matthew Franklin Philadelphia TKO by 12 Sep 28 Johnny Fields Cleveland KO 1 Nov 1 Bill "Dynamite" Douglas Philadelphia KO 5 1978 Jan 25 Roberto Reynosa Indianapolis KO 1 Apr 3 Eddie Davis Indianapolis KO 7 May 24 Johnny Baldwin Philadelphia W 10 Jun 17 Lottie Mwale Belgrade, Yugoslavia L 8 Sep 15 Jerry Celestine New Orleans W 10 Dec 2 Mate Parlov Marsala, Italy TKO 10 (Wins WBC Light Heavyweight Title) 1979 Apr 22 Matthew Franklin Indianapolis TKO by 8 (Loses WBC Light Heavyweight Title) Sep 20 Carlos Marks Indianapolis W 10 Nov 30 Victor Galindez New Orleans TKO 11 (Wins WBA Light Heavyweight Title) 1980 Mar 31 Eddie Gregory Knoxville, TN TKO by 11 (Loses WBA Light Heavyweight Title) Sep 9 Lee Royster Atlantic City KO 4 1981 Jan 16 Eddie Straight Indianapolis TKO 1 Jan 28 Rick Nash Indianapolis KO 3 Mar 28 Michael Spinks Atlantic City KO by 4 1982 Apr 6 Darnell Hayes Danville, IN TKO 2 Oct 14 Alvino Manson Indianapolis TKO 1 1983 Feb 25 Ernie Barr Nassau, Bahamas KO 8 Nov 21 Mike Brothers Chiago TKO 10 1984 Jan 18 Elvis Parks Indianapolis TKO 4 Mar 26 Eddie Gonzalez Atlantic City KO 4 Jun 14 Jerome Clouden Atlantic City TKO 5 Aug 30 John Davis Atlantic City W 10 Nov 8 Charles Williams Indianapolis W 10 Dec 13 Eddie Collins Atlantic City TKO 2 1985 Jan 17 Charles Henderson Merrillville, IN TKO 2 Apr 21 Eddie Davis Atlantic City TKO 5 Oct 11 Raleigh Searcey Terre Haute, IN KO 4 Dec 4 Frank Lux Indianapolis KO 4 1986 Feb 9 Leslie Stewart Indianapolis TKO 7 (Regains WBA Light Heavyweight Title) Sep 20 Jean Marie Emebe Indianapolis TKO 13 (Retains WBA Light Heavyweight Title) 1987 May 23 Leslie Stewart Port of Spain, Trinidad TKO by 9 (Loses WBA Light Heavyweight Title)