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Articles of 2004

Andrew Golota: The Hype Has Always Escaped Me

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A few weeks back it was announced that IBF heavyweight champ Chris Byrd is going to defend his title against Andrew Golota on April 17th at Madison Square Garden. I only have one question, WHY? Byrd has carved out a career in which he has always sought and fought the best fighters. Or he has at least tried too. The last time we saw Golota in a big spot, he was quitting in his corner against Mike Tyson back in late 2000.

In his fight with Tyson, Golota wasn't doing badly. After getting up from a big Tyson overhand right in the second round, Golota fought with his corner and quit before the start of the third. Which is really foolish in a fight with Tyson. Tyson throughout his career has always been the most dangerous in the first and second rounds. Once a fighter gets through the early rounds with Tyson, the better the chances they have of winning. Tyson actually becomes less effective the longer the fight goes, and he loses some of his power. This is the complete opposite of past swarmers like Sharkey, Marciano, and Frazier. They weren't as ferocious as Tyson in the first couple rounds, but they got stronger and better as the fight progressed.

You would think Golota being the head case that he is, making it past the first couple rounds with Tyson would boost his confidence. No doubt the plan was to try and extend Tyson into the second half of the fight. Nope, not Golota. He quits at the time when he may actually have the best chance to win? Every time I think of some four round fighter getting up again and again for a couple hundred dollars, I think of this dog quitting for his millions against Tyson, and folding against Grant.

Since losing to Tyson, Golota has fought exactly two times after not fighting for three years. In his first fight he fought 18-10 Brian Nix, who he stopped in the seventh round. After Nix he fought 31-13-1 Terrence Lewis and stopped him in the sixth round. These two fights took place in August and November of 2003. I guess being active and connected carries a lot of weight. Actually there is no guessing about it, we know it means everything. I just can't believe that Golota can get a title shot based off of beating Nix and Lewis. Maybe it's true, nobody wants to fight Chris Byrd, even if it's for a title? How about signing with Don King in mid February and fighting for a title in mid April? That sounds more like it.

The whole Golota mystique has always escaped me. I never thought that he was so terrific. For a big guy he was pretty mobile and a decent boxer. However, he wasn't that fast nor was he a great puncher, and I have always questioned his chin and endurance. Other than against Riddick Bowe, who as an empty package when he fought him, who has he beat that is so good that affords him the press and hype that has usually accompanied him? Even in his fights with Bowe, especially the second one, he hit Bowe a million times and couldn't finish an already finished Bowe. In fact in their rematch, Bowe stretched Golota with one right hand after getting pounded.

In his next fight after the Bowe rematch, he was demolished by Lennox Lewis in one round. The fight with Lewis was one that more than a few picked him to win. After winning two unanimous decisions over inexperienced Corey Sanders and a 40 year old Tim Witherspoon, he fought Michael Grant. Golota put Grant down twice in the first round and almost finished him early. However, Grant showed much heart and weathered the storm and came back to stop Golota in the 10th round. Since beating Golota, Grant has regressed and is not even part of the heavyweight picture at this time. How special does a fighter have to be to get by Golota?

In his next fight after losing to Grant, he fought journeyman Marcus Rhode in China and stopped him in three rounds. After fighting Rhode, he decisions Orlin Norris. After beating Norris he fights Tyson and folds like a two dollar suit in a Hurricane. This is the body of work authored by Andrew Golota. Just how does he warrant a title shot, and why should any Boxing fans even care about him. He hasn't proven a thing since the Tyson fight. Other than having a familiar name, and a cult fan base, there is no reason for him to challenge for a title.

Again, the hype over Golota has always escaped me. If I look at him as a fighter, he's pretty good. However, he has lost miserably in every really big fight of his career. What is the dynamic about him that draws fans? Is it his skin pigmentation? I certainly hope not. Is it that he looks like Killer Ivan Drago from the Movie Rocky IV? Maybe that's it. He looks like a fictional fighter who also got taken apart when the pressure was turned up.

I just don't see it. I never thought Golota was anything special, and always felt he was very overrated by some fans and members of the press. He lost to every good fighter he ever fought, and in a terrible fashion to some. Just never saw why there was such a fuss over him.

I guess if he's in good shape his fight with Byrd could be interesting. I want to believe that he has no shot of winning, but I know better. Byrd is much smaller than him and isn't enough of a puncher to scare him. I would even be willing to bet that Golota will enter the ring versus Byrd very confident. Won't be surprised a bit if Golota doesn't embarrass himself in this fight. One thing is certain, all Golota has to do in this fight is not lose badly. A good showing, despite a loss will keep him around longer than I'd like to think.

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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