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Old 09-01-2007, 11:43 PM   #1
red cobra
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Default Rematch between Willie Pastrano and Harold Johnson

They fought only once in the summer of 1963 with Pastrano taking the Lightheavyweight title from Johnson on a disputed 15 round decision. If they were rematched, who would have won?
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Old 09-03-2007, 01:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rematch between Willie Pastrano and Harold Johnson

Well, I guess no one is going to respond to this one but me. I've seem more obscure topics than this one both in Classic and General Boxing Forums. I don't think anyone would be clammoring for a rematch between these two, except for your defensive boxing fanatics for sure. If Johnson got the rematch that he fairly deserved, I think his age would be a factor working against him . The younger, faster Pastrano's confidence level would have been boosted somewhat by winning the first fight and the title, and he would have, in my opinion, been a more decisive winner this time, again on points, and by a unanimous decision over a frustrated, lethargic Johnson. The tactics Willie employed the first time, the refusal to lead and thereby forcing Johnson to assume the role of aggressor, worked like a charm to win the title, although the decision was hotly disputed. Again, Willie would employ these same tactics, but more effectively this time, and he would win a very boring 15 round decision. Their styles ensured a snorefest to the average fan, but I've always been a fan of BOXING, you know, the noble ART of hitting without getting hit in return. It's the name of the game, and in my humble opinion, the enjoyment of this fine art is what seperates the casual fan from the afficianado.
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Old 09-03-2007, 04:30 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rematch between Willie Pastrano and Harold Johnson

I just spotted your thread, and as luck would have it, Pastrano/Johnson was the last 15 rounder I viewed on-line. As defending champion, Willie would have had an enormous advantage.

Before Pastrano/Johnson, the most recent complete 15 rounder I'd viewed was Griffith/Archer II, and Griff's aggression against Joey was the main reason he successfully defended his title, while Johnson lost his. Archer and Pastrano were strikingly similar in their approaches to challenging the defending champions, but Johnson was overly dependent upon counterpunching Pastrano, where Griffith initiated action against Archer. If Emile had relied on counterpunching as Johnson did, he would have lost to Archer as Johnson did to Pastrano. It also seemed to me that Willie used his legs a little better against Harold than Joey did against Emile.

Griffith rightly declared after decisioning Archer, that if Joey wanted to win the title, he had to come to him. Again, when checking out both matches, you might find that Archer and Pastrano came very close to mirroring each other's performances, but Griffith did a much better job of attacking.

In both matches, the multiple jabs of Archer and Pastrano got a rise out of the knowledgable fans in those crowds, and as Archer got two shots at Griffith later on in the decade, maybe a rematch between Pastrano and Johnson wouldn't have been that far fetched. However, Willie's legs certainly didn't desert him against Harold, despite Johnson's dedicated counterpunching downstairs. Could Johnson have adopted the tactics of Jose Torres for himself? It seems unlikely to me, given how deeply ingrained his counterpunching style must have been at that stage of his career.

Pastrano would have had a solid 15 round experience under his belt for a rematch, and the confidence which came with it. He also stood up to Johnson's early thirteenth round bombs. It's difficult to win a title by decision with counterpunching, and Pastrano would have probably been even more aggressive with his jab in a rematch.

What all this means of course, is that I largely agree with your assessment. And hopefully, the fact of my having watched Griffith/Archer II in it's entirety, as well as Pastrano/Johnson, should reassure you that there are others on this forum who appreciate some of the finer skills involved in the sport. (And I know there are others, because I wasn't the first one to view both matches after they were posted on-line.)
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Old 09-03-2007, 05:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rematch between Willie Pastrano and Harold Johnson

< This guy to the left
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Old 09-03-2007, 05:37 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rematch between Willie Pastrano and Harold Johnson

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Originally Posted by robert ungurean
< This guy to the left
His counterpunching prowess might have made for a very interesting matchup with Liston. The automatic assumption by many is that Sonny would have crushed him, but aside from Ali, his toughest matches seemed to come against sub 200 pounders. As absurd as the notion could seem, Liston/Johnson might not have been the blowout some may assume. Johnson was capable of being that good.
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Old 09-03-2007, 07:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rematch between Willie Pastrano and Harold Johnson

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Originally Posted by Duodenum
His counterpunching prowess might have made for a very interesting matchup with Liston. The automatic assumption by many is that Sonny would have crushed him, but aside from Ali, his toughest matches seemed to come against sub 200 pounders. As absurd as the notion could seem, Liston/Johnson might not have been the blowout some may assume. Johnson was capable of being that good.
Harold told me he had no problem handling Sonny in sparring sessions for what its worth.

Last edited by joeboxer; 05-30-2006 at 08:04 PM.
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Old 09-03-2007, 07:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rematch between Willie Pastrano and Harold Johnson

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Originally Posted by robert ungurean
Harold told me he had no problem handling Sonny in sparring sessions for what its worth.
That's very revealing. Thanks!
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Old 09-04-2007, 09:40 AM   #8
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Default Re: Rematch between Willie Pastrano and Harold Johnson

Very good and insightful post, Duodenum, which is usually what I expect from you. The correlation between Pastrano-Johnson and Griffith-Archer is one that I've never thought of before, and I saw the 2nd Griffith-Archer bout on tv back then. If Johnson could have adapted better to the challenge of a committed counterpuncher in Pastrano like the more versatile Griffith did in Archer, it may have made a difference, but as you made mention, Willie used his legs better and generally was a bit more effective in his bid against Johnson than did Archer against Griffith. The purists, like I've said, take more of a delight in this type of contest between defensive specialists and technicians, where a knockout probably isnt going to be the bill of fare, and instead, strategy and the parlaying of tactics takes the stage. Far from making for a dull contest, in fact there is, for a few of us anyway, an opportunity to enjoy a physical "chess game" so to speak, where the real artistry of this sport is emphasized.
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Old 09-04-2007, 10:21 PM   #9
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Default Re: Rematch between Willie Pastrano and Harold Johnson

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Originally Posted by red cobra
Very good and insightful post, Duodenum, which is usually what I expect from you.
I keep getting that more and more from members of this site, and the pressure's becoming a crushing burden to measure up to. (Thanks anyway.)
Quote:
The correlation between Pastrano-Johnson and Griffith-Archer is one that I've never thought of before, and I saw the 2nd Griffith-Archer bout on tv back then. If Johnson could have adapted better to the challenge of a committed counterpuncher in Pastrano like the more versatile Griffith did in Archer, it may have made a difference, but as you made mention, Willie used his legs better and generally was a bit more effective in his bid against Johnson than did Archer against Griffith. The purists, like I've said, take more of a delight in this type of contest between defensive specialists and technicians, where a knockout probably isnt going to be the bill of fare, and instead, strategy and the parlaying of tactics takes the stage. Far from making for a dull contest, in fact there is, for a few of us anyway, an opportunity to enjoy a physical "chess game" so to speak, where the real artistry of this sport is emphasized.
Where the suspense and intricacies behind Griffith/Archer are concerned, years ago I read an instructional book on boxing (it may have been by Chuck Bodak, but I'd have to dig into my library to be certain), and it mentioned how Archer essentially forged his career out of movement and a great jab.

When Grffith/Archer II was posted online, it was a no brainer for me to immediately check it out. Robert's mention of knowing Harold Johnson was sufficient for me to do likewise with his defense against Pastrano.

Angelo Dundee used to say that SRL had the jab of Pastrano, and as Ray decked Benitez with that jab, this was additional motivation for me to check out Pastrano/Johnson. That was how I serendipitously came to watch both these contests, back to back. (That Pastrano and Johnson have both always come across to me as likable characters was further incentive to spend some quality time checking it out.)

Last edited by Duodenum; 09-05-2007 at 12:50 AM.
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