View Full Version : Harold Johnson vs. Willie Pastrano
09-07-2005, 09:09 AM
I rewatched this fight last night. Extremely close fight that could have gone either way, in my opinion (confirmed by the razor thin split decision the judges returned). Both fighters had their moments, and contrary to the claims of those who dislike boxing exhibitions, Pastrano did not just "run" in this fight. He had a beautiful jab working, countered Johnson's -also nice- jab with quick rights, and threw rapid-fire combo's throughout the entire 15 rounds. Johnson came to life in the mid to late rounds, but there were some stretches -especially early- in which he was not doing much besides a lot of ineffective chasing. Let me put it this way; the rounds that Pastrano won, he won fairly clearly (by outboxing Johnson), while the rounds Johnson likely won were rounds where Willie stood flat-footed and traded (with Johnson having the edge in power and Willie in volume). The most remarkable thing in this fight, in my view, was Johnson's inability to put any significant hurt on Pastrano. As I compare this with the devastating effect of Jose Chegui Torres' punches on Pastrano, I am a bit puzzled. Was Torres that much of a harder puncher than Harold? Like Torres, Harold hit Willie with hellacious body shots, but their effect was nil compared to the paralizing effect of Torres' shots. Any insights here?
As a side note, Don Dunphy stated the had Johnson won, his plan was to go up to heavy and challenge Liston next. With all due respect to the great Harold, I just can't see him making a dent on Sonny. Incidentally, Sonny and Joe Louis were sitting next to each other about three rows from ringside. Man, do I love these old fight films!
P.S. Another great one to watch is Harold Johnson-Doug Jones (it features Johnson at his near best).
09-07-2005, 05:14 PM
I used to love seeing Willie Pastrano fight, the same with Ralph
Dupas, the fighter coming out of New Orleans at that time were mostly the kind that would put on a boxing exhibition
09-07-2005, 06:02 PM
I liked that fight; and the best part was Pastrano winking at the camera before the fight. Willie was Cool with those towels under his robe. That was the first fight to use that zoom into the ring from the apron, right? I just remember willie trading with Johnson in the first round and that lasted about 5 seconds till Willie held and spun out. Lost and lots of fun to look at.
09-08-2005, 04:07 PM
Nice to see guys still talking about that fight. I was in the minority, but I think Willie won that fight. I DONT think he should have recieved the title though. He didnt win enough, but Harold was sleepwalking in that fight and Willie had the legs. Gregorio Peralta might have been the best light heavy of that era and he caught a tuff break in the title fight with Willie or he might have won. He was very strong at 175.
Who can explain why Torres hurt Willie so, but a shots to the liver can end it for anybody. Then again Willie had the title and the broads that can come with and Willie was a good lookin guy.........
09-09-2005, 12:48 AM
Johnson got the better of Sonny in Philly gyms in the late 50's and that is probably the reason why he wanted to fight him.
09-09-2005, 12:55 AM
You analyzed Pastrano perfectly, Rocky.
He admitted about the dames and living in the fast lane.
I watched that fight again this evening while I was on the treadmill and I agree that Willie outboxed Harold.
Did he do enought to take the title?
I don't think so, much as I admired the Dancing Master.
What moves he put on Johnson!
Just breathtaking stuff for a purist, don't you think Rocky?
The way he would spin out, pivot on a 45 and give Harold his side with no target to shoot at.
Brilliant stuff; and I think that was Willie's Finest Hour.
He left us too soon.
09-09-2005, 11:20 AM
maybe I saw a different fight but I had it 9-6 in rounds for harold over pastrano. putrid decision.
09-09-2005, 11:38 AM
You may be correct wolgast..
I have never sat down and scored the fight, just watched it several times.
Don Dunphy was saying that it was close and "In the event of a draw" etc.
09-09-2005, 11:39 AM
I would expect most fans from Philly to feel that way.
09-09-2005, 11:28 PM
Easy decision to score. Johnson lost based on the fact that while he was aggressive, it wasnt effective at all. Pastrano may not have been as popular or as pretty. He may not even have been "better" but he won that fight fair and square.
09-11-2005, 12:33 AM
Man oh man, I am missing some ESPN Classics here.
What day was this on and what time was it televised gentleman?
I saw the fight live once and I remember thinking Harold won but that Willie boxed brilliantly.
Torres got Willie in the right spot and did the same thing to drop iron jawed Wayne Thornton. Jose practiced that shot all the time and had that shot down pat.
He did not throw it like a Mexican Gancho to the liver, but he would reach around the elbow and nail the kidney or get under the elbow in an exchange to the short rib.
I made him show me this one night in San Juan in his hotel room at a convention, he complied and we had some fun with it. I always liked Jose as a person and his wife Ramona, good people.
Harold did handle Sonny in the gym and that picture of Johnson standing next to Joe Louis you guys put up here awhile ago is one I saved, and it is beyond awesome.
Willie left too much strength in the bedrooms of New Orleans in the day for the brass ring to stay in his hands a long time. He cut up Peralta and handled Downes but Jose Torres was ready for him that night.
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