He started his professional campaign on Sept. 3, 1993 in San Antonio, TX with a 1st round tko win over fellow Texan Chris George.
One month later, he traveled to Puerto Rico where he was stopped by local favorite Pedro Calderon.
He bounced back with a pair of wins, and then took 3 straight fights against undefeated fighters, going 1-0-2. After 7 fights Johnson's record now stood at a solid 4-1-2.
This is when Golden Johnson's talent started to really shine. He ran off an 8-fight win streak to build his record to an impressive 12-1-2 before facing his first world class test.
June 6, 1998 at Arizona Charlie's Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV saw Golden in his biggest step-up bout as he squared off with highly regarded prospect Juan "Hispanic causing panic" Lazcano who came in with an equally impressive record of 14-1-1. Johnson shocked boxing insiders as he scored a 3rd round technical knockout win over Lazcano. The shock wasn't so much that Johnson won the bout, but rather, how he won so convincingly! That victory instantly raised his reputation as is demonstrated by the level of competition he would face from that point on.
In his next bout, Johnson was named as the man who would challenge James "Too Sweet" Crayton for the vacant NABF Lightweight championship. July of 1998, nearly 5 years after starting as a pro, Johnson traveled to Connecticut and won that title with a spirited, close, but unanimous decision win.
Golden Johnson was now 14-1-2, and he was the North American Boxing Federation's Lightweight Champion. He won his next bout by tko in 4 rounds against Mexico's 45-fight veteran Jesus Saldana before stepping into his first title defense.
October 16, 1998 saw Johnson in another matchup of highly respected contenders when he squared off against former IBO world champ, and current USBA Lightweight Champion - Israel "Pito" Cardona (29-2). The title belts of both champions were on the line - winner takes all. It turned out to be the close fight that everyone was expecting, but when the dust settled, and the judges' scorecards were read, it was Cardona walking away with the win, and the titles on scores of 116-112 for Cardona, 116-112 for Johnson, and the deciding card going 115-113 for Cardona in a razor close fight that could have easily gone either way.
That close loss only cemented Johnson's standing as a world class contender, and in his next fight, he was put into his first challenge for a World Title belt! Golden Johnson would challenge undefeated phenom and IBF World Champion - "Sugar" Shane Mosley (30-0) for his IBF title. Jan. 9, 1999 in Pensacola, FL was the night, and it belonged to The "Sugar Man" as Shane Mosley was at his fighting peak that night looking sharp, and stopping Johnson in round 7 to defend his world championship.
Back-to-back losses, but they came at the highest level, and that did not stop the determined Johnson from getting back to work and getting back on the winning track. He disposed of Eduardo Martinez with a 3rd round knockout, and then regained his NABF Lightweight belt from the man who now held it - Filipino - Miguel Arrozal (27-10-1), stopping the man known as "The Manila Mauler" in 4 rounds.
Johnson then defeated Eldon Sneed, before losing a war to Ben "Wonder" Tackie (18-1). Again, that loss did not deter him, as he stepped up in weight class, and defeated fellow contender Teddy Reid for the vacant NABF Jr. Welterweight title belt. Golden was now a 2 division NABF champion, and back in the hunt for another world title shot.
In his next fight, Johnson moved up in weight again, and challenged Bobby Heath (23-8-4) for his NABF Welterweight championship. March 22, 2001 was a great night at the Freeman Coliseum for Johnson as he was all business, and left no doubt about the outcome, stopping the champion at 2:20 of round 6, and winning his 3rd NABF title belt in a 3rd weight division!
The roller-coaster ride continued as Johnson was ko'd in 3 rounds by world-ranked contender "Vicious" Vivian Harris (17-1-1) just 3 months later in an ESPN2 televised, non-title bout at the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia.
As was his tradition, Golden Johnson got right back to work and scored an impressive 4th round tko win of his own over undefeated Johnny Casas (9-0) in an all-Texas showdown. He then defended his NABF Welterweight title belt with an equally impressive 11th round knockout over Chantel Stanciel (20-1-1) in New York.
Four months later, Johnson went after another title belt, this time it was the WBC Continental Americas Jr. Welter belt, held by Cosme Rivera (23-7-2). The fight was held at The Scope arena in Norfolk, Virginia, on a card that also featured Larry Holmes vs Eric "Butterbean" Esch. The Rivera/Johnson fight went the full 12 rounds, with Rivera successfully defending his belt via unanimous decision.
Just under 2 months after his unsuccessful title challenge, Johnson found his self at the Orleans casino resort fighting for the WBA Fedecentro Welter Title against southpaw belt holder - Sebastian Valdez (17-4). Johnson again found his self on the short end of a unanimous decision, and for only the 2nd time in his career, had suffered back-to-back losses.
Golden Johnson was far from being finished as a world-class contender. He did take 2 1/2 years off from the ring wars, but when he returned in Feb. of 2005, he did not waste time with a tune-up fight, but instead, was given a shot at the vacant IBA Americas title belt against undefeated Freddy Hernandez (17-0). Johnson was ready for war as he scrapped his way to a very hard fought split decision victory over the favored Hernandez on scores of 114-113 for Hernandez, 116-111 and 114-113 for the "14 Karat" man - Golden Johnson.
Johnson returned with another win, this time over San Antonio's Ramon Gomez (7-4) via 3rd round tko, and then fought to draw with talented Larry Mosley (15-1-1) in a 12 round battle for the vacant NABO Welterweight title. The scores read: 116-112 for Mosley, 115-113 for Johnson, and 114-114 making it a 3-way split draw.
|Johnson made a statement with a terrific upset win over Oscar Diaz|
After the strong showings against Hernandez, and Mosley, Johnson was rewarded with a chance to regain the NABF Welterweight championship, but it would be against red-hot contender Oscar "El Torito" Diaz (25-1), and would be fought at the Alamodome in Diaz's home city of San Antonio. It made no difference to Johnson who looked strong as he went to war with, and stopped the favored champion at 58 seconds of round 11! It was a great night for the skilled warrior.
Golden Johnson would fight just once more. But what a way to go out! ...one year to the day later, he took on world ranked former WBO Welterweight world champion, the hard hitting - Antonio Margarito (34-5, 24 ko) in a battle for the vacant WBO Inter-Continental Welterweight championship held at Madison Square Garden. The bout was the co-main event of the Miguel Cotto vs Shane Mosley World title fight.
It was a quick night as Johnson exchanged but got caught with the bombs of Margarito. Johnson went down twice, but got up and fought back each time before being dropped for a 3rd and final time as referee Wayne Kelly waved the fight off. It was an exciting end to a fascinating career that lasted over 14 years. Golden is the cousin of 3-time world champion Reggie "Sweet" Johnson, there is no doubt that championship boxing is in the family blood line.
Golden Johnson finished his remarkable boxing career with a final record of: 25 wins, 8 losses, 3 draws, winning 18 by knockout. He is highly respected among boxing fans and pundits alike.
Check out his record on boxrec: COMPLETE PRO RECORD OF GOLDEN JOHNSON
If you would like DVD of this great warrior, here is what I have available in my collection: