Manny Pacquiao is sparring with former UFC fighter Johnson
MANILA, Philippines - You can count Dashon Johnson - who splits time fighting in boxing and mixed martial arts - among Manny Pacquiao’s sparring partners as he prepares for his May 2 fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Johnson, 27, of Escondido, Calif. has been at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles for the past two weeks, working 3-4 rounds at a time on 5 different occasions as one of the General Santos City, Philippines native’s 5 sparring partners.
Johnson says he is impressed by what he has seen from the 8-division champion.
“Pacquiao's work ethic isn’t like anything I've ever seen,” Johnson tells Rappler. "He's such a hard worker and has a solid group of guys around him always pushing him to the limit and giving him positive encouragement. He's one of the hardest workers I've ever seen and I've been around and trained with a lot of world champions.”
Other sparring partners include unbeaten young fighters Kenneth Sims Jr and Rashidi Ellis.
Johnson, known as Fly Boy, turned pro in 2008 and has a record of 15-19-3 (5 knockouts). Johnson has fought between welterweight and light heavyweight against a number of name contenders and prospects, including former WBC junior middleweight titleholder Sergio Mora, former Pacquiao sparring partner Glen Tapia, and Jermell Charlo.
Johnson even competed in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), losing twice by submission in 2014 before being released from the company.
Unsure of what he’d do next with his career, Johnson gave Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach a call offering his services. He says his style isn’t particularly like that of Mayweather, which relies heavily on a shoulder roll defense and countering with straight right hands, but insists he can play “Money” Mayweather in the gym just fine.
“My style isn't necessarily Mayweather’s in real life, but I can definitely emulate his style very well. Not to mention I'm the exact same size as Mayweather as far as reach and height and size,” said the 5-foot-9 Johnson.
Johnson is confident that Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 KOs) can become the first person to defeat Floyd Mayweather Jr (47-0, 26 KOs) when they finally clash at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. And not necessarily by decision.
“Manny is looking unbelievable right now and honestly I don't see the fight going the distance at all.”