1. UNBEATEN in 24 professional outings, ‘Prince’ Naseem Hamed had defended his WBO world featherweight title four times prior to meeting IBF champion Tom Johnson in 1997, and was aiming to prove himself as the best in the division.
2. Although considered the hardest puncher at 126lbs at the time, a recent struggle with Manuel Medina – who had won and lost against Johnson – highlighted some of the Sheffield star’s limitations, though he was favourite to beat the American at the London Arena in Millwall.
3. Johnson, who was no stranger to travelling to opponents’ back yards, was unbeaten in five years entering the contest and was looking to make a 12th successful defence of his title. Only Eusebio Pedroza (21) and Barry McGuigan (19) had bettered that achievement before.