Former NFL wide receiver Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson made his boxing debut tonight (Sun., June 6, 2021) during the Maywether vs. Paul undercard, and it was both a rousing success and an abject failure (watch highlights here).
A success because from the first bell Johnson looked slick and powerful and fast, opening the bout with a quick left hand that utilized his seemingly impressive reach well. Later in the first round, he clinched with his opponent, Brian Maxwell, only to explode out and hit his opponent with a hard hook. Maxwell’s attempts to light up Johnson were little more than wild blitzes. Early on, Johnson bounced out of range with ease, circling well around the ring.
A failure because as the fight went on, Johnson’s flashes of brilliance came less and less often. His ability to get in and out of range at ease disappeared. And Maxwell’s swang n’ bang style started landing. In the fourth round, “Ochocinco” took a moment to flex at his opponent. Five seconds later, Maxwell hit him with a big right hand that floored the former NFL’er.
All the impressive moves and solid footwork don’t mean squat after you get dropped and almost face planted. Although Chad won three of four rounds on our unofficial scorecard (the bout wasn’t being judged officially), he’ll forever be remembered in his boxing debut as the “Ochocinco” who got dropped, not the one with some slick tricks after only a month of training.
After the bout, Johnson split between humor and attempted inspiration.
“I had fun,” he declared during the in-ring interview. “My life has always been about taking chances, doing crazy stuff, and this is one off my bucket list. For people that are content, scared to fail, get out there and live, man. Don’t be scared to fail, it’s okay!
“I don’t box,” he concluded. “I fight, but it ain’t in the ring. So of course I was a little sloppy. I had fun. I think I’m ready for [Conor] McGregor!”