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Articles of 2004

40 Years Ago He Shook Up The World

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This Wednesday marks the 40th anniversary that a 7-1 underdog named Cassius Clay upset World Heavyweight Champion Sonny Liston in Miami Beach Florida. *You're 40 years old if a day, and don't belong in the ring with Cassius Clay* The title changed hands when Liston refused to get up off his stool for the seventh round, claiming and injured left shoulder. This was no doubt the introduction and coming out party for the man who changed Boxing and Sports forever. Who knew at the time of Clay's upset over Liston that he would go onto become one of the most recognized people in the history of the world?

On Tuesday night February 25th 1964, Clay was viewed as nothing more than a colorful glib kid who won a Gold Medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics as a light heavyweight. Clay was known for his fast hands and feet, and his unorthodox way of pulling back and away from punches. *If you'd like to lose your money, be a fool and bet on Sonny* Although his unique skill was obvious too all, no one in the Boxing Universe thought he was anything special. The thought that he could beat Liston was non existent.

In the Month's and Week's leading up to the Liston-Clay bout, many writer's and Boxing historian's were comparing Liston to his good pal Joe Louis. In fact it was even thought by some that Liston was better than Louis and possibly the greatest heavyweight champ of all time. *I'm A bad man* Back in the early 60's, Liston was the most feared fighter on the planet. Sonny was the baddest man on the planet years before Jimmy Kirkpatrick met Mike Tyson's mother. The only difference was Sonny truly believed it.

Sonny Liston had been denied a title shot for years before he finally got it in September of 1962. Cus D'Amato, the manager and trainer of Heavyweight Champ Floyd Patterson sat on the title for more than four years. Cus knew Patterson had nothing for Liston. *I shook up he world, I shook up the World* While Cus played keep away, Liston demolished all the top contenders that the Patterson-D'Amato team avoided. After years of being accused of being afraid of Liston, Patterson went against the wishes of Cus and accepted a fight with him. On the night of September 25th 1962, Patterson defended the title against Liston. Two minutes after the bell for round one, Liston was the new undisputed champ.

By mid summer of 1963, Sonny Liston and Cassius Clay were on a collision course. In June Clay traveled to London to face British Champ Henry Cooper. Clay TKO'd Cooper in five rounds. However he was dropped by a beautiful Cooper left hook at the end of the fourth round, for the second time in his career. Clay beat the count but was in serious trouble as he went back to his corner. Clay's cunning trainer Angelo Dundee jacked around with his glove slightly delaying the start of the fifth round. Clay came out clear headed for the fifth round and reopened a cut over Cooper's eye causing the fight to be stopped. *To Prove I'm Great, he must go in eight*

One month later in July, Liston made the first defense of his title against the man he took it from, Floyd Patterson. The rematch turned out to be a rerun, and Liston TKO'd Patterson again in the first round paving the way for the Liston-Clay heavyweight title bout.

On November 6th 1963, Liston signed to defend his heavyweight title against the “Louisville Lip” better known as Cassius Clay. The fight was set for February 25th 1964 in Miami. Heading into their fight, Liston had no respect for Clay and thought he was nothing but a loudmouth with no heart. Liston truly believed that Clay would fold like a two-dollar suit in the big-spot. *If he wanna go to Heaven, I'll get'em in Seven*

Liston was feared, could punch with either hand, and was never off his feet. His only defeat was to Marty Marshall, a decision loss in his ninth fight when he suffered a broken jaw and lost a decision. Liston would defeat Marshall twice in subsequent fights before winning the title from Patterson. Sonny had a reach that measured between 82-84 inches. On top of that he was thought to have the strongest and best jab in heavyweight history. Something many still believe. Although Clay's jab was faster than Liston's, no one questioned whose' was better because it was a no brainer in favor of Liston.

Prior to fighting Liston, Clay had been down twice and was almost stopped by Cooper in his last fight. Cooper was a ranked contender when he fought Clay, but he was a lifetime behind Liston as a fighter. Most had predicted that Clay wouldn't make it out of the first round with Liston. In fact Liston himself led the charge o pinning that Clay won't make it out of the first round. *He'll be in a worse a fix if I cut it to Six* Most felt Clay wasn't as good or as experienced as Patterson. If Patterson can't make it past the first round with Liston, how can this kid with less than 20 fights do any better?

On the morning of February 25th, Liston and Clay weighed in at the Miami Beach Convention Center. When Liston came into's Clay's view, Clay went crazy taunting and shouting what he was going to do to him that night in the ring. Liston just glared back at Clay holding up two fingers signaling Clay's demise in the second round. Clay's conduct was so outrageous that he was fined 2500$. *If he keeps talkin Jive, I'll end it in five* The fight was almost called off when Clay's blood pressure was taken and it was off the charts. Many thought Clay was petrified of Liston and wanted out of the fight. Later when his blood pressure was taken it was normal and the fight was on.

On fight night when Liston and Clay were standing at ring center during the referee's instructions, Clay glared back at Liston and looked down at him. Something that was a new experience for Sonny. Once the bell rang for round one and the fight started, Clay's speed and boxing ability stood out. *If he keeps talkin like Moore, he'll go in Four* Over the first three rounds Clay had is way with Liston beating him to the punch and cutting him up. During the fifth round Clay was having trouble with his eyes and was blinking. Somehow the monsil solution that was used on Liston's cuts mysteriously got onto his gloves which then got into Clay's eyes. This was something other Liston opponents also claimed.

Once Clay's eye's cleared up, it was target practice. At the end of the sixth round, Liston went slowly back to his corner a beaten fighter. Liston told his trainer Willie Reddish that he couldn't lift his left arm and couldn't continue. When it was apparent Liston was done for the night, referee Barney Felix went over to Clay's corner and raised his hand signaling the new champ, Cassius Clay. *Yes the crowd did not dream when they put down their money, that they would see a total eclipse of the Sonny*

The next day Clay announced that he was a member of the Nation of Islam, and wanted to be referred to as Cassius X. Two weeks later Elijah Muhammad would re-name him Muhammad Ali. Down the road there would be a rematch with Liston, Vietnam, a fight with the Government, an exile, a comeback, Frazier, and Foreman among others. There would also be Parkinson's disease and the lighting of the Olympic Torch to open the 1996 Olympic Games. *The crowd is getting Frantic, but our Radar stations have picked him up, he is somewhere over the Atlantic* He would come full circle from being one of the most hated men on the planet, to being one of the most loved. February 25th 1964 was the start of it all. It was the night that Clay upset Liston and Shook up the World!!

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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