If you want to know a bit about Tureano Johnson then all you need to do is look at his nickname and his Twitter bio.
The 31-year-old 18-1 (13 KOs) middleweight contender from the Bahamas pulled no punches when WBN spoke with him last week. ‘The Truth’ is his preferred nickname and his Twitter bio reads: ‘Middleweight boxer on a mission to be the most exciting fighter in the world!’
The truth for Johnson right now is that he finds himself in a pack of hungry 160lb wolves looking for an opportunity to get to the big dog Gennady Golovkin or, as Johnson eluded to in our interview, that Miguel Cotto puts his WBC world middleweight championship on the line against a real-life middleweight.
“I used to be a fan of Miguel Cotto,” said Johnson of the Puerto Rican.
“Now I’ve seen the person that he is or the person that he has become it makes me wonder. This is who I used to idolise? He was a hardcore fighter. Now I find him to be in it just for the money.
“Why would you go to middleweight in the first place? To lure someone like Floyd Mayweather there for another pay check? I’m an exciting fighter and I want to be in exciting fights. What Cotto is doing is disgusting, it upsets me greatly. If this is why he has come to middleweight then he is not a middleweight champion.”
I asked Johnson if he thought what Cotto was doing right now, by holding his WBC title hostage, was disrespectful to the division and its contenders.
“You have answered it pretty much yourself. This is the truth,” he answered.
“It’s disgraceful and shameful. It’s an insult to the fighters and the fans. The middleweight limit is 160lbs and you [Cotto] want to drop down? You want guys to come down in weight below the middleweight limit? 155lbs? It’s unfair and shameful. The WBC should order a mandatory for Miguel Cotto to fight a MIDDLEWEIGHT fighter at 160lbs.”
Johnson has announced himself on the boxing scene as a fan friendly fighter, one that the media and the fans would like to see more of given his desire to please and excite, whoever is watching. Last year though, his unbeaten record was taken away from him after what many saw as a controversial stoppage at the hands of Curtis Stevens.
“I did suffer my first defeat against Curtis Stevens but it was not at the hands of him it was because of the referee who stopped the fight in an unfair and disgraceful manner,” Johnson said.
Stevens now finds himself in the fledgling BKB boxing series, and challenges Gabe Rosado for his BKB middleweight title in the circular pit this Saturday night in Las Vegas. This new 21st century combat sport looks a perfect fit for someone like Johnson. Can he see himself one day joining the BKB ranks?
“Hey, I’m an action guy. If I can get a good fair fight then why not?”
“As it stands right now it’s not on my radar, I do have interest in taking part in it but it’s not my first option. I can assure you that maybe it will happen, in the near future, after speaking with my promoter Mr Gary Shaw. If he can get me inside a boxing ring I am looking to become the most exciting fighter ever to step foot in the ring. And if I step into BKB I will have the same attitude.”
The fighters that excite Johnson come from the past. Men like Joe Frazier, Marvin Hagler and Arturo Gatti all tick the boxes for Johnson. In 2015, Gennady Golovkin is not only one of the main men of the sport but one who fans willingly choose to watch regardless of the opposition, thanks to his relentlessness and ruthlessness. Johnson wants those to remember that the middleweight division isn’t all about GGG.
“The division hasn’t been given the respect that it’s due and that it deserves. Number one reason is that so many people are just focusing on one guy – triple G. The middleweight division is a very high profile division with a lot of phenomenal fighters.
“On the other hand, you don’t just have fighters you have promoters and advisors who aren’t allowing fights to happen. You have guys like Peter Quillin who just turned round and dropped the [WBO] belt and then oversteps other people to get to another guy to fight for a world title. I think it’s unfair.”
Johnson says that Golovkin has faced good fighters, not great fighters yet. And he holds accountable men like Quillin for not stepping up to face the top dog at his weight. Johnson has eyes on Golovkin and Cotto, and with a ranking of number two with the WBC it would appear that the likely route is to the latter. First, a meaningful fight has to be made. Above him in the number one contender slots lies Matthew Macklin conqueror, Jorge Sebastian Heiland.
“That is a fight I have been wanting to happen,” he said of a possible Heiland fight.
“I’ve tried. I want that opportunity. They say Tureano doesn’t have sufficient fights against the best fighters. Give me the best fighters in the top 10 division. I’m a middleweight fighter, I’m number two with the WBC. Are there eight, nine, ten guys out there who want to be a world champion? Should they be given opportunities over me to fight for world titles? Well go ahead and fight me first. I’ll fight Heiland if I have to prove myself,” he declared.
One last bit of ‘Truth’ according to the Johnson gospel.
“My name is Tureano ‘The Truth’ Johnson because I tell the truth. Willie Monroe Jr. blocked me on Twitter because I tell the truth. Brother, you are only upset because you don’t want to hear the truth and you’re scared to fight me. Golovkin is scared to fight me as well because he went with a soft tissue fight against Monroe. I’m totally disappointed in all of them.”
Shaun Brown is WBN’s Chief Writer, follow Shaun on Twitter @sbrown2pt0