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Articles of 2004

The Demise of Roy Jones Appeared Inevitable



If all you saw Saturday was the highlight of Glencoffe Johnson's knockout of Roy Jones Jr., then you're surely shocked.

Seeing Johnson's right hand carom off of Jones' cranium, and watching the former longtime pound-for-pound king crash to the canvas, was a sight that was even more stunning than “RJJ's” May knockout loss to Antonio Tarver.

But, as Saturday's showdown for the IBF light heavyweight title wore on, it became more and more apparent that Jones' demise was inevitable. It is also obvious we'll never see the fighter who dominated a decade's worth of middleweights, super middleweights and light heavyweights again.

A grocery list as to why Jones lost so convincingly Saturday.

Jones was too timid: Aggressiveness has never been a staple of Jones' attack, but, in his prime, he never appeared terrified of being clocked: He was just so fast he could punch freely without consequence. Saturday, he appeared gun-shy to the point of fear as he flinched and turned away every time Johnson so much as feinted. He was forever moving backwards, and when he did connect, he rarely put his body into the punch. Simply, Jones was reluctant to commit to his punches. Why? Because the last time he did that, Tarver caught him with a counter left that he never saw. So he tried to punch while moving backwards – which is like trying to lose weight on Twinkies.

Jones was out of shape: Jones' game is using his speed and skill – which can only be properly utilized in the middle of the ring. Saturday, Jones voluntarily backed into the ropes because he didn't have the legs to box in ring center. You can say all you want about Jones growing old, but, when he unleashed an occasional flurry, he sure seemed to have the old ability. He just didn't have the endurance to sustain it. In his prime, Jones was so good, he didn't have to worry about being in shape. Saturday, he figured he could get by against a limited fighter as he did in his prime. He figured wrong.

Jones didn't realize the strength and size of Johnson: Johnson appeared much bigger than Jones and, when they began trading punches, seemed much stronger as well. It was just a year-and-a-half ago that Jones had moved up and beaten heavyweight John Ruiz. But, unlike Ruiz, Johnson used his physical superiority. He ran at Jones and muscled him to the ropes and pounded his body and roughed him up on the inside. He hit Jones with haymakers and was in condition to fight that fight for 12 rounds. Further, against Ruiz, Jones knew he had to stay away, and so he trained his legs accordingly. He apparently didn't train much for Johnson, and was forced to go to war against a bigger man. And that has never been Roy Jones' fight.

Jones displayed a lack of focus – again: Contrast the two ring entrances. Johnson entered the ring subdued and concentrated on the task at hand. Jones' entrance was standard Jones fare: Playing to the crowd, sneering and pumping his fists. Once the two got in the ring, it was obvious which of the two fighters had prepared for a boxing match and which had better memorized rap lyrics. Once again, Jones was so talented in his prime, that he could do pretty much as he liked before fights. Even play a basketball game. At age 35, he actually has to do as other fighters do: Prepare and concentrate. He did neither against Johnson.

Jones didn't listen to his corner: Again, another faulty Jones trademark that ultimately bit him on the tail. How many times between rounds did Jones virtually ignore trainer Alton Merkerson to listen to that mysterious hanger-on at ringside who always seems to have his attention during fights? Well, the hanger-on certainly didn't have the right advice this time. Maybe Merkerson actually had some good suggestions for his charge. If he did, Jones certainly wouldn't know it.

Jones' heart wasn't in it: Merkerson himself admitted that perhaps Jones wasn't properly motivated. No kidding. If he wasn't inspired for Tarver, he sure wasn't going to be fired up for Johnson. Who knows what Jones wants – but being a boxer appears to be near the bottom of his list. Conversely, Johnson is a veteran who has never really received his due. He was willing to die in that ring, and his preparation and focus proved it.

In the end, the right man won the fight Saturday. The man who sacrificed in training and paid his dues. Johnson will be rewarded with perhaps the biggest payday of his career against Tarver. Jones? He's done. Not necessarily because he's suddenly lost it overnight. But because he's not willing to sacrifice. He's not willing to listen. He's not willing to change.

Ultimately, it was that unwillingness to acknowledge shortcomings and face reality is what ended a great career Saturday in Memphis.

Articles of 2004

2004 Boxing Pound for Pound List



The final boxing pound-for-pound list of the year for 2004.

1. Bernard Hopkins: The top guy from beginning to end, Hopkins took care of Oscar De La Hoya with a body shot in the biggest fight of 2004. Now, he'll wait for Jermain Taylor to progress a little further, or he'll go the rematch route with Felix Trinidad. Either way, Hopkins stands to earn a lot of money in 2005 and extend that all-time middleweight reign.

2. Floyd Mayweather: How long has it been since we've seen Mayweather in a meaningful fight? Certainly not in 2004, when he outpointed the difficult DeMarcus Corley. He's slated for a January outing against a no-name. Enough stalling, already, “Pretty Boy”. Fight someone we care about (preferably Kostya Tszyu), or you'll lose your #2 position sometime in 2005.

3. Felix Trinidad: “Tito” stormed back with a magnificent knockout of Ricardo Mayorga in 2004, and now hopes to capitalize on it with big money fights. He'd like nothing more than a rematch with his only conqueror, Hopkins, but he may also opt for old nemesis Oscar De La Hoya. Either way, Trinidad is sure to fight a big fight sometime in the coming year.

4. Kostya Tszyu: What a difference one fight makes. As recently as late October, the boxing world was wondering whether Tszyu was even serious about the sport anymore. We found out with a second round demolition of Sharmba Mitchell. And that made the junior welterweight division very attractive. Tszyu has several options now, including Arturo Gatti and Mayweather or even a hop up to welterweight to challenge Cory Spinks. Let's hope one of them happens in 2005.

5. Manny Pacquiao: Pacquiao fought twice in 2004, and what a fight the first one was. His thrilling war with Juan Manuel Marquez was the best brawl of the year, and there is a chance that the two rivals will go at it again in 2005. If not, Pacquiao has a list full of options: Marco Antonio Barrera, Erik Morales, etc. Pacquiao will fight one of them in the next year.

6. Marco Antonio Barrera: Another guy thought to be washed up when the year started, Barrera resurrected his career for the second time with a masterful victory over Paulie Ayala and a close decision over rival Erik Morales in another great fight. Barrera is obviously shooting for a return with Pacquiao, who decimated him in November 2003. Barrera says it was an off-night. Hopefully, we'll find out if that was the case.

7. Winky Wright: Winky entered the “superstar” realm in 2004 with a pair of decision victories over Shane Mosley. The first was very impressive, as Wright practically shut Mosley out. The second was closer, but proved once again that Winky was the superior fighter. He'd like a shot at Trinidad or Oscar De La Hoya, but neither will happen. He'd probably be best off shooting for a name like Fernando Vargas or Ricardo Mayorga.

8. Juan Manuel Marquez: After several years on the outside looking in, Marquez is finally in a position to make some money after his courageous performance against Pacquiao. He rose from three first-round knockdowns to wage the fight of his life in a fight that was ruled a draw. It would also be interesting to see Marquez against countrymen Barrera and Erik Morales.

9. Erik Morales: “El Terrible” fought another great fight against Barrera, but, again, it was in a losing cause. He has now lost two of three to his fierce rival, and probably wants nothing to do with him anymore. But, eventually, talk of Barrera-Morales 4 will come up again. In the meantime, Morales could shoot for Pacquiao or Marquez.

10. Glencoffe Johnson: The newest entry, Johnson pumped some life into boxing in 2004 with a pair of upsets of Roy Jones Jr. and Antonio Tarver. Now, he's set to make some really big money in rematches with either, or a shot at old conqueror Hopkins. Either way, Johnson is better than anyone imagined.

11. Jose Luis Castillo: Castillo made some comeback noise of his own in 2004, beating Juan Lazcano for his old vacant title and decisioning Joel Casamayor for another big win. He says he wants Kostya Tszyu next, and if that materializes, boxing fans will be in for a treat. If not, Castillo vs. Diego Corrales is a great fight.

12. Oscar De La Hoya: Hard to erase that picture of De La Hoya grimacing in agony courtesy of a Hopkins shot to the ribs, but the “Golden Boy” had no business fighting at 160 pounds. He should drop down to junior middle or even welterweight again if he has any hope of regaining his past form. But 2005 could be the final year for one of boxing's all-time great attractions.

On the brink: Antonio Tarver, Diego Corrales, James Toney

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Articles of 2004

Heavyweight Joe Mesi Bringing Lawsuit




As reported by the Buffalo News, Joe Mesi is suing the New York State Athletic Commission and the MRI center that conducted tests on the heavyweight boxer after his bout with Vassiliy Jirov. Mesi reportedly suffered brain injuries in the Jirov bout, which has left his boxing status uncertain.

The lawsuit alleges Mesi's medical records were improperly released to the NYSAC. The records, the lawsuit goes on to allege, were then released to the media, prejudicing Mesi's right to have his status reviewed by the appropriate boxing authorities.

The lawsuit does not seek specific monetary damages, as the extent of damages will be affected by whether Mesi is able to resume his career as a leading heavyweight contender.

Mesi hopes to have his status reviewed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission within the coming month. The ruling of the NSAC promises to be key in whether Mesi will be able to resume his boxing career.

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Articles of 2004

The Best in Chicago Boxing Returns




Dominic Pesoli's 8 Count Productions and Bob Arum's Top Rank Incorporated along with Miller Lite presents SOLO BOXEO DE MILLER, THE ARAGON RUMBLE, another installment of The Best in Chicago Boxing on Friday, January 14th, broadcast live internationally as part of Telefutura's Friday night professional boxing series.

The newly remodeled Aragon Ballroom is located at 1106 W. Lawrence Ave. near the corner of Lawrence and Broadway in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood and is easily accessible, just 4 blocks west of Lake Shore Drive and just 4 miles east of the Kennedy expressway. There are three large parking lots located within a 1/2 block of the Aragon Ballroom. Additionally, the Howard Street Blue Line stops just across the street. Doors will open at 6pm with the first bell at 7pm.

Headlining the action packed card is the American debut of super-bantamweight Ricardo “PIOLO” Castillo, 12-2 (6KO's) of Mexicali, Mexico as he squares off in a scheduled ten rounder against WBO Latino Champion, Edel Ruiz, 24-12-3 (13KO's) of Los Mochis, SI, Mexico. Castillo will be accompanied to the ring by his brother, World Lightweight Champion Jose Luis Castillo.

In the co-main event of the evening, one of Chicago's most popular fighters, middleweight “MACHO” Miguel Hernandez, 14-1 (9KO's), battles hard swinging local veteran “MARVELOUS” Shay Mobley, 7-4-1 (2KO's), of One In a Million a scheduled eight rounder.

The huge undercard bouts include;

Carlos Molina vs TBA, six rounds, junior middleweights
Frankie Tafoya vs TBA, four rounds, featherweights
Ottu Holified vs. Allen Medina, four rounds, middleweights
Francisco Rodriguez vs. LaShaun Blair, four rounds, bantamweights
Rita Figueroa vs. Sarina Hayden, four rounds, junior welterweights

Said Dominic Pesoli, President of 8 Count Productions, “it was a terrific evening last month and our fans were thrilled to be at the Aragon to watch David, Speedy and Luciano. David Diaz's fight against Jaime Rangel was a fight people will talk about for a long time. Our commitment to our fans is to make every event of ours better than the last one. This main event is terrific, both guys are very tough Mexicans who won't take a step back.

The fans love Miguel and Mobley figures to be a very tough opponent. Him and David Estrada had a six round war last June at our show. And the undercard showcases a lot of new, younger talent that is coming out of Chicago right now. Tafoya and Holifield have both had very successful beginnings to their careers and Francisco Rodriguez comes with fantastic amateur credentials and David Diaz says he has all the talent to be a great pro.”

“We've got big plans for 2005 and this show should take up right where last months show left off. The huge crowd loved the action last time and I'm sure they'll say the same thing this time.”

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