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Articles of 2004

Two Glamor Division's Now A Boxing Waste Land

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Throughout boxing history, the heavyweight division has always been the signature division. The saying, “as goes the heavyweight division, so goes boxing” has been beat to death. Unfortunately, it is true. Only the real boxing fans know who the top fighters are in the divisions below heavyweight, besides the obvious superstars like Roy Jones and Oscar De La Hoya. Another boxing cliche that has been worn out is the one where it's always being stated how bad the current heavyweight division is. A topic that definitely doesn't need to be addressed again.

The positive aspect about the heavyweight division dominating the other weight divisions, is that it takes the spotlight off of them when they are bad. Which has been the case over the last 10-12 years. The dearth of outstanding fighters in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions has not been a focal point. But the fact is these two glamor divisions are very bad at this time.

Today's boxing landscaped is stacked with quality fighters from featherweight to junior middleweight. From 126 to 154, boxing is littered with some outstanding fighters and a few greats. However, if you take a close look at the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, the same cannot be said. The middleweight and light heavyweight divisions feature two all-time great champions in Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones, but that's it.

I have often heard it said that these two divisions look so inept because Jones and Hopkins are so terrific. There may be something to that, but I don't buy it totally. Granted, Jones and Hopkins are both great fighters, but other past great light heavyweight and middleweight champions have dominated in much deeper eras. Michael Spinks and Marvin Hagler to name two.

Today when there is a light heavyweight fight that features two of the top contenders, it's actually hard on the eyes. In his title winning effort prior to fighting Roy Jones, top contender Antonio Tarver decisioned former title holder Montell Griffin. This fight typifies the so so standard of boxing that has become the norm for fights in the light heavyweight division not involving Jones. In the Tarver-Griffin bout, Tarver did nothing but lunge forward throwing nothing but one-twos, in hopes of ending the fight with one punch. Griffin did nothing but lay back and try to counter Tarver with big overhand rights, again, in hopes of ending the bout with one punch. Griffin, actually fought as if he didn't find out that Tarver had the much greater height and reach advantage until standing at ring center listening to the referees instructions. Neither Tarver or Griffin did anything in this bout to distinguish themselves as anything more than two main event fighters.

The scenario in the middleweight division is the same as it is in the light heavyweight division. When there is a fight between two of the top contenders, the two fighters look nothing more than ordinary. In his last major fight before fighting undisputed middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins, former champ William Joppy decisioned undefeated contender Howard Eastman. This fight was nothing more than a fight and was just as hard on the eyes as the Tarver-Griffin fight. Again, neither fighter did anything to stand out, and most likely all that saw it had forgotten it by the next day?

The fact of the matter is the light heavyweight and middleweight divisions today are dreadful. If you really think about it, they are only one fighter deep. The light heavyweight division's outlook really looks bleak. Most fans and writers today look upon Ring Magazine's rankings as the best and most legitimate. As of this writing, Ring Magazine's top 5 ranked light heavyweights after Roy Jones are, 1-Antonio Tarver, 2-Julio Gonzalez, 3-Dariusz Michalczewski, 4-Glencoffe Johnson, and 5-Eric Harding.

The best of those five is Tarver. However, at age 35 Tarver's best days are probably behind him. And there have been some rumblings that he's going to challenge Chris Byrd sometime in 2004. Forget about Michalczewski and Johnson. Michalczewski is 35 and shot, and never was that spectacular. Johnson is 34 and has shown at best, he's a good fighter. Gonzalez, at 27 is probably the brightest star in the light heavyweight division. He has been in with the best, and outside of Jones has held more than his own with them. But after Gonzalez, who is there? That's been the problem with the light heavyweight's since the mid to late eighties.

In the middleweight division, the theme is repeated. Ring's top 5 ranked middleweights behind Hopkins are, 1-William Joppy, 2-Howard Eastman, 3-Robert Allen, 4-Rodney Jones, and 5-Sergey Tatevosyan. Of those five, who is the fighter that can carry the interest in the division after Hopkins? Joppy is 33 and is probably going to retire after being taken apart by Hopkins in his last fight. Howard Eastman is 32 going on 33, and he has nothing for Hopkins. And even without Hopkins in the division, Eastman is nothing close to being a special fighter, let alone outstanding or great? Third behind Hopkins is Robert Allen. Allen has already lost to Hopkins twice, and at 34, where's he going? Rodney Jones is a former junior middleweight who figured he could advance better fighting in the no-name middleweight division. On top of that, he couldn't get past Harry Simon? Sergey Tatevosyan has beaten nobody, and lost to the best fighter he fought.

That leaves number 6, Jermaine Taylor. Unlike the light heavyweight division which shows no signs of life after Roy Jones, the middleweight division does have life after Bernard Hopkins. He is Jermaine Taylor. Taylor is 18-0 and has shown all the things you could ask for in an up and coming prospect. As long as Taylor is not matched with Hopkins any time soon, the middleweight division could be his. The problem is other than Taylor, who is there?

For any division to garner the publics attention, there must be some compelling match-ups that can be made. With only one outstanding fighter in the division, it's impossible to have a Super-Fight. Today's light heavyweight and middleweight divisions are in bad shape. After Jones and Hopkins, there is no reason to watch or care about them with maybe the exception of Taylor. Even at that, who can Taylor fight down the road which could create fan Interest? Maybe fellow former Olympian Jeff Lacy, but Lacy will probably end up fighting at 175. And if Lacy goes to 175, he'll face the same dilemma Taylor will be facing at 160? Not enough challengers to capture the interest of the boxing public?

Articles of 2004

2004 Boxing Pound for Pound List

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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

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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

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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 Inc.in 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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