2005-09-17 Jesus Chavez w rsc 11 Leavander Johnson, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - IBF

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2005-09-17 Jesus Chavez w rsc 11 Leavander Johnson, MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA - IBF. Referee: Tony Weeks. Making his first defence at the age of 35, Johnson (135) started well with the jab, but after he was cut over the right eye in the second he began to be systematically cut down by solid left hooks and rights over the top. Round after round followed the same pattern, Johnson looking exhausted by the end of the sixth as Chavez (135) continued to march through him. At the end of the tenth Johnson looked completely spent, and having been blasted against the ropes without reply in the 11th he was finally rescued by the referee after 38 seconds had elapsed.

Tragically, after the fight Johnson collapsed in the dressing room and following surgery to remove a blood clot from the brain he never recovered, dying six days later.

With Chavez taking time out, Julio Diaz outscored Ricky Quiles over 12 rounds at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Hollywood, Florida to win the ‘interim’ title on 18 May 2006 before going on to meet the champion in February 2007.