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Articles of 2004

The Least Deserving Challenger

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Boxing writers and fans can be very tough on the fighters we love and cheer. In fact in many instances we are too tough on them, including myself. We've all been caught up in the moment and yelled he's a bum, or he has no heart about one fighter or another. But I'm willing to bet that after our emotions have quelled we've backed off of those type remarks. We all know that who ever has the guts to step into a Boxing Ring most certainly doesn't lack courage. No way they could go through with it if they did. I don't know who coined the phrase “you don't play Boxing”, but I do know truer words may have never been spoken.

I'm willing to cut fighters some slack after an indiscretion. I was too tough on Vitali Klitschko after his fight with Chris Byrd, but I've backed off. Even with the way Wladimir Klitschko lost to Lamon Brewster this past weekend, questioning his heart may be a little to drastic. Remember, taking a punch and having a good chin isn't all about Heart, it's about genes most of the time.

That being said, there is one fighter who I won't cut any slack, because I ran out a long time ago. That fighter is Andrew Golota. Yes, he is a bum! When speaking of Golota I never use the moniker “Foul Pole” as many writers do. I think saying that gives him a pass on his lack of character and Heart, and hides the certified fact that he is a quitter in the truest sense of the word. Calling him a dog is an insult to canines.

When is the last time you saw a fighter at any level literally fight with his corner and tell them he didn't want to go out for the next round? Which is exactly what Golota did with his trainer Al Certo in between the second and third rounds of his October 2000 fight with Mike Tyson. He looked like a five year old baby boy fighting with his mother telling her he didn't want to go to bed. The next time I see that type of coward ness in a Ring will be the second, Golota was the first. If nothing else Golota is the Heavyweight Champion of quitters. I often wonder what warriors like Holyfield, Saad, and Gatti think when they see this big 240 pound sissy back down at the first sign of resistance? I have no doubt that it's an act they can't even fathom.

Golota has carved out a solid and well deserved reputation as being a gutless quitter, along with cheating Boxing fans out of their money. The fact that he's in a position to challenge for a piece of Boxings greatest honor, the Heavyweight title, is an outrage in my opinion. To think he is back in the thick of the division with a chance to be called Champ and make millions of dollars leaves a very bad taste in my mouth. And that's the exact situation Golota is in right now, due to his shot at Chris Byrd's IBF title tonight. How funny is that, Byrd has never been close to quitting once, despite giving up size and weight in mostly all of his fights. Yet he's forced to defend his title and possibly lose it to the biggest quitter who has ever challenged for such an honor.

Forget Golota's two DQ loses to Riddick Bowe, I gave him a reluctant pass on them. What I can't give him a pass on is his first round knockout loss to Lennox Lewis a year after the Bowe rematch. It's not so much that he was knocked out in the first round, but the fact nobody could find him an hour before the fight wandering on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. And then he shows up and looks at Lewis as if he saw Godzilla. Remember, this was Lewis only two years removed from being dumped in two rounds by Oliver McCall. It's not like anybody thought Lewis was unbeatable at that time. In fact many respected Boxing scribes actually liked Golota in the fight.

In his next big fight against Michael Grant in 1998, he quits again when the going gets tough. After having Grant down twice in the first round and nearly out, he gets dropped in the ninth round when Grant finally amounts an assault. What does he do when he gets up? He lets the referee know that he doesn't want any more and quits.

Two years after fighting Grant, if that's what it was, he fights Mike Tyson. After a decent first round, Tyson drops him with a beautiful overhand right in the second round. Golota gets up and actually fights back a little bit and makes it through the round. At this time Tyson is merely a three round fighter. Even at his best, Tyson was a dynamo in the first two or three rounds and then slowed down. After making it through what was probably Tyson's best in the first two rounds, Golota submits and quits in between the second and third rounds. To top it off, Golota was so hell bent on NOT fighting that he pushes his sixty something year old trainer Al Certo who tries to shove him out for the third round. Some fighter this Golota. Since quitting and showing the character and Heart of the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, Golota has stopped two journeymen since Tyson.

Now King has positioned this Mutt back into the title picture. What really sucks is that he has a very good chance to upset Chris Byrd and win the IBF title. How shameful is that? The really scary thing is that I have this awful feeling that King's luck and magic are looking over his shoulder, I think he's going to beat Byrd. It's not that I think Byrd isn't capable of handling him. It's just a feeling I have that things are going to break his way. If I ever wanted to be more wrong in picking a fight, I can't remember when.

Golota has many things going for him in this fight. He has the style to possibly jab and out Box Byrd from the outside. He has the power to hurt and maybe even stop Byrd if he feels he's behind and has to take some chances leaving himself vulnerable, and he has King who is probably tweaking everything outside the Ring insuring everything turns out right. Golota is so well set up for this fight that even if he loses, as long as he makes a somewhat respectable showing he'll be around for a while. The fact that on April 18th 2004 Andrew Golota could actually have Champ in front of his name is deplorable!!

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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