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Articles of 2004

IF Mesi Jumps On Jirov It Could Be Over Quick

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If  Joe Mesi jumps on Vassiliy Jirov this coming Saturday night, the fight could be over quick. Over the last few weeks I've read where more than a few think Vassiliy Jirov is the perfect foil for Mesi. I don't see it that way. In fact I actually see it the other way around. I think Jirov is the perfect opponent for Mesi to look good against. I sense Mesi will enter this fight versus Jirov very confident, as he should because he has all the advantages. He and his management team must know this? Which I'm sure is one of the reasons they took the fight. It's a chance for Joe to possibly score an impressive win over a name opponent in front of a National HBO audience.

In this fight with Jirov, Mesi no doubt has all the advantages. He is the bigger and stronger fighter, and he can probably get the better of Vassiliy fighting inside or outside. Mesi is also the better puncher and is equipped with a faster pair of hands. As far as chin's go, this is a little bit of an unknown. At Cruiserweight Jirov has shown a very good chin and was only really hurt by Toney. However, we've never seen Jirov cracked by a heavyweight who could punch. Mesi may not have Tua power, but power is not one of his shortcomings. As far as Mesi's chin, the jury is still out. What bodes well for him is that Jirov is not really a big puncher in my opinion. I doubt Joe's chin will be a liability in this fight.

The problem as I see it for Jirov is that he's a very limited offensive fighter. He has a typical European style southpaw jab, and just pushes it out. Although he steps with it, he still pushes it instead of snapping it. Basically, his offensive strategy is to push his opponent to the ropes with his jab, and then ram his straight left hand to the body. The problem is, he doesn't have any hook or finishing punch behind it. James Toney exploited this throughout their entire fight.

When ever a fighter goes to the body with his power shots exclusively, he is open to be countered, something Toney did all night against Jirov. Toney was cooperative in going to the ropes with Jirov because he knew what was coming. After he was backed up by a couple right jab's, he knew the left to the body was right behind them. He also knew that Jirov's hands would be low and he was wide open to be countered. And Toney was clockwork like executing his counter attack. Jirov was very lucky that Toney was not a big banger, which enabled him to go 12 rounds before Toney dropped him.

Two other things standout to me regarding Jirov's aggressive body attack. One thing you must remember is that to land solidly to the body, you must get close to your opponent. Does Jirov really want to be in constant range for Mesi to be able to reach and touch him at will. Especially when he has a habit of keeping his hands low after he unloads? I'm sure Mesi would welcome that scenario.

The other thing that stands out to me is, how devastating of a body puncher is Jirov? He hit Toney at will to the body, and too me it didn't appear that he took much out of James, if anything? I question how much Jirov's body punching will really hurt Mesi, or slow him down? Assuming he can even implement a sustained body attack?

So just how does Jirov pull this one out? His biggest asset of going to the body can very well be his undoing. Getting close to Mesi and trading isn't a strategy I'd advise him. I don't think he's a good enough boxer to stick and move while using the ring to win from the outside. On top of that, I question even if he is the better boxer and he definitely has the slower hands.

If I'm advising Mesi, I tell him to come right out and jump on him like he did DaVarryl Williamson. Mesi is a fast starter and is at his best in the early going. Although I do think Mesi may have a tendency to fade in the second half of the fight. Jirov on the other hand gets better as the fight progresses. However, it takes him a few rounds to get in sync, I sense he may be vulnerable to a Tysonesque early barrage.

I just see Mesi as having all the advantages in this up coming fight. If Jirov shows Mesi respect, and moves away and doesn't hold his ground, Mesi's confidence will soar and he'll be very tough to beat. If Jirov goes at him and tries to make Joe respect him, he could be playing into Mesi's hands. Again, I think Mesi has everything on his side in this fight.

The two questions I have heading into this fight is one, could I be grossly underestimating Jirov's strength? I don't think so, but if I have done that, my above scenario could very well go out the window. It's just that I've never been blown away by Jirov overall as a fighter or puncher, and who has he really fought? The other question I have is what does this fight do for Mesi other than providing him a nice payday. Believe me, I'm not putting anybody down for getting paid. I wish all fighters were paid like they had the following of De La Hoya or Mesi. It's just that if Mesi goes through Jirov, what does it say about him as a bona fide heavyweight contender?

If Mesi blows through Jirov, what will it really tell us about him. On the other hand if Jirov beats Mesi, most will say that Mesi was a nobody and nothing more than a media creation. I just hope that it's a good fight, and opens the door for some others down the road in the heavyweight division. I just think if Mesi jumps on Jirov, there is a good chance that it ends early.

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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