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Articles of 2004

What A Year: Lewis, Klitschko, and Sanders

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What a difference a year made in the heavyweight division. On March 7th 2003, Wladimir Klitschko was the talk of the heavyweight division. Wlad was actually being touted as being the fighter most likely to succeed Lennox Lewis, and not just by Jim Lampley? On March 8th 2003, South African heavyweight Corrie Sanders derailed the Wladimir bandwagon with one straight left hand to the chin. When Sanders stopped Klitschko in the second round, and took his WBO heavyweight title, he changed the landscape of the heavyweight division.

Back in 1996 when Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko turned pro, it was a widely held opinion that Wladimir was the better fighter of the two brothers, and had the better future. He was the more Americanized fighter with better balance and more fluidity. He had faster hands, was a better boxer, and more versatile. Basically, Vitali was considered second string when compared to his younger brother Wladimir. Boy, have things really changed in the last 365 days? Now most view Vitali as possibly being the fighter to succeed Lewis, and Wladimir with trepidation and doubt.

Since Wladimir's stoppage defeat by Corrie Sanders, he has had two fights which have proved absolutely nothing. Nor have the questions hovering over his durability and chin ceased. And they won't go away until he steps up and fights one of the world's top heavyweight's. I doubt his next opponent, Lamon Brewster, is the one to change that perception.

On the other hand, Vitali's career has skyrocketed. It was just a few short years ago that the heart and toughness of Vitali were being questioned. After Vitali resigned in his corner after the ninth round against Chris Byrd, due to a torn rotator cuff, some closed the book on him and his career. Just as some are now doing the same to Wladimir. Over the course of the last year, Vitali has been on a roll. In June of 2003, Vitali gave recently retired heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis all he could handle in losing after the sixth round due to a severely cut eye. Six month's later, he destroyed one of the world's top ranked contenders, Kirk Johnson, in two rounds. Now the perception of the Klitschko brothers has totally flip-flopped.

Corrie Sanders, the man who landed the shot heard round the heavyweight world last year, has done nothing since. All he has done is kept his pace of fighting once a year. Fighting once in 2001, once in 2002, and only Wladimir Klitschko in 2003. Sanders has been an enigma. Before fighting Wladimir, he wasn't viewed as a serious contender, and thought to be a set-up for Wlad. In fact Wladimir was even ridiculed for fighting Sanders, due to his disappointing loss to Hasim Rahman in May of 2000. Since beating Klitschko, now some think he's the most dangerous heavyweight in the world? Don't count me among them. He just turned 38, and has fought a total of five rounds in the last three years. Lucky for him, he finally may have parlayed his big win over Wladimir into a big fight with Vitali for the vacant WBC title this coming April 24th.

Lennox Lewis this time last year was still basking in the glow of his utter destruction of Mike Tyson. Three month's later he would have one of the toughest fights of his career with Vitali Klitschko. The fight with Vitali took a lot out of Lennox mentally and emotionally. And probably had a lot to do in influencing the decision he would later make to retire. It's quite possible Lennox realized he wasn't the same fighter he was just a year or two ago?

When looking back over the last 365 days, Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko had the best year. Corrie Sanders didn't capitalize on his victory over Wladimir Klitschko. And Wladimir hasn't done anything to make anyone forget the Sanders fight. In early April Wladimir fights Lamon Brewster, and Vitali fights Corrie Sanders. Most likely these two fights will start to pave the heavyweight landscape for 2004?

Last March Wladimir Klitschko was supposed to be the main man in the heavyweight division. Now there are legitimate questions about his chin and durability. Corrie Sanders was a non factor, and thought to be nothing more than a stepping stone for Wladimir. Although he has not fought since then, he is in line to fight for the vacant WBC title versus the other Klitschko. This time last year Vitali Klitschko still hadn't erased the stench of the loss to Byrd. Now he has replaced Wladimir as the main man in the heavyweight division and is about to get a second title shot. And this time last year, Lewis was three month's shy of making the last defense of his heavyweight title. Now he is a retired ex-champ, who will most likely never fight again. Lewis beat the odds by retiring champ with good health and more money than he'll ever need. If he never attempts a comeback, his legacy will no doubt endure and grow through the years. What a difference a year made in the heavyweight division.

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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