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Articles of 2004

April 12th: Shared By Two Boxing Immortals

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They are two of the biggest and most important names in Boxing history, that is something that even the most casual Boxing observer couldn't deny. Along with that they are two of the greatest fighters who have yet lived in any weight class. They are loved and respected by all of those who have come after them. One of them in my opinion is the most faultless and fundamentally perfect fighter of all time. The other one in my opinion is the greatest fighter who has ever had a Boxing glove laced over his fist. And lastly, you cannot consider yourself any type of legitimate Boxing fan/historian if you don't know about them and their story. I'm talking about none other than Joseph Louis Barrow born 5/13/14 better known as Joe Louis “The Brown Bomber”, and Walker Smith Jr. born 5/3/21 better known as “Sugar” Ray Robinson, the original Sugar Ray!

Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson are two of the three most significant fighters who have ever Graced the Sport of Boxing. The other of course is Muhammad Ali. It's also no coincidence that Louis is the fighter Ali is most measured against, and Robinson is the fighter who Ali most emulated himself after.

Joe Louis won the Heavyweight title on June 22nd 1937 with an 8th round knockout of Champion James Braddock. He held the title for nearly 12 years and made a record 25 consecutive successful defenses of it, a record that still stands to this day regardless of weight class. Louis made his last defense of the title versus Jersey Joe Walcott on June 25th 1948, scoring an 11th round knockout. Shortly after defeating Walcott, Louis retired as Heavyweight Champion. Louis would un-retire and come back in 1950 and lose a decision to Heavyweight Champion Ezzard Charles failing to regain what seem to belong to him forever.

Joe Louis was the best offensive fighting machine in Heavyweight History. He had a dynamite left jab, a devastating short crisp left-hook which he delivered to the head and body with almost laser type precision and accuracy. His right hand had one punch knockout power and was delivered with the speed and accuracy of a striking Cobra. That awesome speed and power was packaged by the best pair of combination punching hands the Heavyweight division has ever witnessed before or since. On top of that he was a great finisher, nobody ever made it through once Louis had them hurt. Louis also had a tight defense, carried his hands high and didn't waste punches. He was great at cutting off the ring, and no fighter who he ever got a second look at made it to hear the decision.

Sugar Ray Robinson won the Welterweight title on December 20th 1946 with a 15 round decision over Tommy Bell, after turning pro in October of 1940. Robinson only suffered one defeat on his way to capturing the Welterweight title. That was a decision loss to top Middleweight contender Jake LaMotta who couldn't get fights against the other top Middleweights. LaMotta was a big Middleweight who rarely came in at the 160 pound limit. Robinson wasn't even a full fledged Welterweight when he fought LaMotta, and spotted him anywhere from 12 to 19 pounds in their first five fights excluding their fight for LaMotta's Middleweight title in 1951.

After making 5 successful defenses of the Welterweight title over the next four years, Robinson challenged for the Middleweight title as the Welterweight Champ. His opponent was his old Nemesis, Jake LaMotta. This would be the sixth and final meeting between these two. Heading into their Middleweight title bout, Robinson held a 4-1 edge in the rivalry. On February 14th 1951 Robinson stopped LaMotta in the 13th round and captured the Middleweight Championship of the world. Shortly after winning LaMotta's title, Robinson vacated his Welterweight title with a perfect record of never being defeated by a welterweight. Robinson would lose the title and win it back from Randy Turpin also in 1951.

On June 25th 1952 Robinson challenged Light Heavyweight Champ Joey Maxim. Robinson failed in his bid to win Maxim's title when he collapsed from heat exhaustion and couldn't come out for the 14th round. It was so hot in New York that summer night that the referee also collapsed from the heat after the 10th round and had to be replaced. After failing to win the Light Heavyweight title, Robinson retired.

Two and half years later Robinson came back and won the Middleweight Championship three more times from 1955 through 1958. It actually should have been four more times winning the title, had it none been for a horrendous decision in his third fight with Middleweight Champ Gene Fullmer in December of 1960, which was declared a draw. That decision was an outright robbery. It was a clear Robinson win, however at that time Ray had rubbed some of Boxing's top powers the wrong way and was not going to get the benefit in any close call. That being said, Robinson definitely beat Fullmer in their third fight and should be 2-2 versus him instead of 1-2-1. Robinson would fight for five more years but never again challenge for the title after 1961. On December 10th 1965, Robinson retired for good.

In my opinion Sugar Ray Robinson is the greatest fighter who has yet lived. He had no weakness and could do it all. He had blinding speed, he was a great boxer and a terrific puncher. He could throw any punch with power and speed. Sugar Ray could adapt to any style, fighting effectively moving away from his opponent, or moving towards his opponent applying pressure. Robinson knocked fighters out with a jab, he knocked them out moving backwards, and he killed them with hooks, right hands, and uppercuts. And to go along with all that weaponry, he had great foot speed and movement, and had a killer instinct complimented by a concrete chin. Robinson was never stopped in over 200 fights other than collapsing against Maxim in the scorching heat and who also out weighed by just about 20 pounds. Yes, Sugar Ray Robinson was the greatest of all time!

The reason I wrote this is that I can't believe that two of the three most famous and greatest fighters in Boxing history were both born in the month of May and are the same Zodiac sign. And more Ironically, they both passed away on the same day, April 12th. Joe Louis died on April 12th 1981 at age 66 and Sugar Ray Robinson died on April 12th 1989 at age 68. This is something I cannot fathom why it hasn't been written about more. Just for the record, Joe Louis is the standard by which all Heavyweight greats are measured, and Sugar Ray Robinson is the standard by which all non Heavyweight greats are measured.

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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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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