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Articles of 2004

How High Should Riddick Bowe Go?

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Author's Note: This article was first published in the Spring of 2003. In light of Riddick Bowe's return to ring wars, it is republished here. I hope Riddick changes his mind. If he does not, I wish him well.

Hopefully, the one time heavyweight champion of the world Riddick Bowe will never fight again. His post career problems have been well documented.

The question now is, where does Bowe rank among the great heavyweights of all time? How would he have fared against Louis, Marciano, Frazier or even dream fights in his own time against Lewis or Tyson? Here is a boxer who may have never realized his full potential. When he was near it his career declined due to his own self-indulgence.

After Lennox Lewis stopped Riddick in the 1988 Olympics, Bowe was considered a risky project. Rock Newman took the risk of managing Bowe and convinced the skeptical but astute Eddie Futch to undertake the task of molding Riddick. The rest is history. Bowe progressed nicely thru the ranks, turning pro in 1989 by halting future contender Lionel Butler in two rounds. In 1990 he stopped faded ex-champion Pinklon Thomas in nine. He also destroyed Bert Cooper in two.

In 1991 he kayoed Tyrell Biggs in eight and outscored ex-champ Tony Tubbs. He later kayoed future titleholder Bruce Seldon in one round. In 1992 he cemented a shot at the title by halting South African Pierre Coetzer in seven rounds.

Finally Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe was in the ring facing heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield. The well-schooled and well-conditioned Bowe won a hard-fought but convincing decision and the crown. Was this the turning point of his career? Was it the beginning of the end? The night Bowe won the title from Holyfield he could have arguably competed with any heavyweight who ever lived. He was that good.

So where did it all go wrong? Did Riddick believe he was unbeatable? Easy defenses against ex-champ Michael Dokes and shopworn journeyman Jesse Ferguson did little to sharpen his skills. His weight as well as his ego began to swell. By the time he met Holyfield in their rematch he had become a different fighter. So had Evander, who had totally dedicated himself in training. Their second bout is mainly remembered for the “Fan Man” incident, but in reality it was a highly entertaining fight. Even at the height of his skills against an ill-prepared Bowe, Evander had all he could do to win the decision and regain the title. Without the championship, Riddick had become an enigma to himself. Would he rededicate himself or let the talent he had slip through his fists?

Riddick began his march toward reclaiming his crown. He would beat once highly regarded Herbie Hide and knocked out overrated Jorge Luis Gonzalez, who had beaten Riddick in the amateurs. He would again meet a now ex-champion Holyfield in a rubber match. He would pick himself off the canvas to knock out Evander and it appeared Riddick was still a prime player in the heavyweight sweepstakes. All that came crashing down following two brutal and highly controversial bouts against Andrew Golota.

Golota was a native of Poland. He was big, strong, talented and white. He was dubbed the next “White Hope” and a victory over Bowe would put him back in the thick of the title picture. Bowe was still considered too good for the upstart, but things changed abruptly when the fight started. Riddick lost too much weight too fast in training. He was weak and lethargic. Golota outboxed, outslugged and outfought Bowe, but he also landed repeated low blows. Finally the foul punches cost Golota the bout as he was disqualified in round seven.

In their rematch Riddick vowed to be in condition. It did not matter, Golota was again the dominant fighter and he was again guilty of repeated low blows that led to his disqualification in round nine. The Riddick Bowe who “won” dubious disqualification victories over Golota was only a shell of the Bowe who had won the crown from Holyfield.

That Bowe may have been able to beat the Liston who destroyed Patterson or the Dempsey that ravaged Luis Firpo. He may have beaten the Louis who crushed Schmeling or the Marciano who rendered Jersey Joe Walcott unconscious. He may have defeated the Joe Frazier who whipped Ali or the Ali who drubbed Foreman or the Foreman who bounced Frazier around like a rubber ball. Maybe he could have even beaten the Clay who humbled Liston.

Could he have defeated his amateur nemesis Lennox Lewis? Could he have handled the pressure of neighborhood rival Mike Tyson? Unfortunately, we’ll never know.

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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