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Articles of 2004

April Heavyweight Title Wrap Up



In the last fight of this mini Heavyweight tournament in the month of April, Vitali Klitschko stopped Corrie Sanders to capture the vacant WBC title. As it stands right now, there are four fighters who can go around claiming to be the Heavyweight Champ. The WBC is represented by Klitschko, the IBF by Chris Byrd, the WBA by John Ruiz, and the lightly regarded WBO by Lamon Brewster. Yes, we have four title holders but not a fighter who can claim to be The World Heavyweight Champion.

Being the Heavyweight Champ used to be the most prestigious honor in all of sports. Sadly, that isn't the case today. This topic has been beat to death over the last 6 or 7 months that some are bothered hearing it. That's just too bad. If you don't want to hear the truth, than cover your ears and stop watching Heavyweight boxing. The truth is that this division is awful. Downright awful! I watched all four fights with much hope and guarded enthusiasm. I was hoping to see one fighter stand out as the fighter who can really be something special or great. I didn't see him. There is not one Heavyweight in the World right now who can have the word great attached to his name when speaking of him. Vitali may be today's signature Heavyweight, but he hasn't approached greatness yet. Maybe in time, but not as of now.

Today, most point to the late 60's and 70's as being the Heavyweight Golden era. In order to get a true barometer on how good or bad an era was, it must be evaluated when it is complete. Nobody was saying during the so called Golden era as we were living through it how great it was. It's only in the context of looking back can we truly appreciate how many good/great fighters there were that actually fought each other. The 90's were also another great generation, and they weren't lauded at the time when we were living through them either. It's only now in the prism of looking back do we realize how good/great Holyfield, Lewis, Tyson and Bowe really were. However, as this division now stands there is only one fighter who has a chance to go on and possibly be remembered as a great and achieve greatness, Vitali Klitschko, and that is certainly nowhere close to being a given.

With the conclusion of four Heavyweight title fights in 14 days, Vitali Klitschko is the fighter most writers and fans believe is the top fighter in boxing's flagship division. I guess I pretty much agree with that sentiment too. However, what is that really saying? I wasn't impressed with the quality or skill level of fighting that I saw. Call me negative if you want, but I can only call it the way my eyes saw it. Klitschko showed us he may be the man as of right now, but if he were never to fight again it wouldn't be long before I would probably forget about him. That being said, he is not done adding to his legacy. I'm just speaking in the present tense. I'm not ruling out a long title reign for him, but I'm also not betting on it either.

In his fight versus Corrie Sanders he proved again how tough he is. He also showed the ability to move back and tie Sanders up when he was shook or in trouble. Other than that I wasn't impressed or blown away by him. His jab is a pawing range-finder, he doesn't throw his right hand straight and doesn't get full torque and power behind it. He looked glove-shy and easily discouraged at times. To make matters worse, his eye opened up again after the fourth round, despite not getting hit on it very much. And lastly, Klitschko is not quite the puncher I thought he was. Did Sanders all of the sudden become Chuvalo/Cobb like tough, or maybe Vitali isn't the one punch banger some pass him off as being. Maybe even Lennox Lewis was showered with a little too much adulation for his toughness in regards to the shots he took from Klitschko. I seriously believe that had it been Tua, Tyson, or Lewis smashing so many power shots on Sanders' chin, he would've been on the floor.

Sanders on the other hand was very disappointing. Other than showing never seen before toughness and durability, he was exactly what I expected. He went for the early kill. After he didn't get it he fought in spurts and wasn't busy. Once he tired he took punches in order to set Vitali up for a sucker shot. To Vitali's credit he didn't fall for it. He totally out-thought and out-fought Sanders. I also think Sanders was in deplorable condition and was there trying to catch lightning twice in the same bottle. I questioned his desire before the bout and saw nothing from him in the fight to change my outlook. Many writers and fans were all over this scenario before the fight. It definitely wasn't a hard fight to handicap.

What lies ahead? The fight most probably want to see is Klitschko-Golota. Don't look for Don King to let that happen. Not with Golota's heart and toughness still an issue. Remember, it was easy for Golota to remain brave and focused versus Chris Byrd due to his lack of size and knockout power. I would love to see how Golota would hold up under Vitali's mental and physical pressure. Although I doubt Don King will risk his top drawing Heavyweight versus a fighter who he can't sign an option agreement with. If Vitali beat Golota, which I would definitely pick him to do, Golota would be done as a major draw. King can make plenty of fights for Golota with fighters that he controls, like Holyfield, Byrd, and Ruiz. If Golota beat them, than maybe King would let that fight happen if it became a huge PPV attraction, providing Vitali is still the WBC Champ. And even at that it's not a guarantee King would go for it. Most likely he will play the waiting game in the hopes that Klitschko gets knocked off.

Who else is out there? I love and appreciate Chris Byrd's style and toughness. However, I don't think he is big or strong enough to beat Vitali in a rematch. Although I'd love to see it. John Ruiz holds the WBA title. Again, not to pick on John Ruiz, but no way could I see him beating Klitschko. He just isn't skilled enough. He would need much more than just his gameness and toughness. Lamon Brewster? No, I don't think he has a shot either. Guinn, Mesi, or Gomez? How really outstanding are they in all honesty? The only other name that keeps being mentioned as a Klitschko opponent is James Toney. I'm in the minority, but I need to see Toney beat another Heavyweight beside an empty package wrapped up as Evander Holyfield. On top of that, Toney is recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon. Toney would definitely need his legs versus Vitali, and there is no way of knowing if they'll recover completely. The odds are against them recovering to where they were the last time we saw him in the ring.

Couple Vitali's size and toughness with his adequate skill, and he is probably too much for any other Heavyweight who makes up the current Landscape. Vitali will most likely be the boss in this division for a little while. That is based on the fact that the division is so-so at best, more than it is a statement on how great he is. The division is just really bad. This is not a negative statement from someone who wants to reminisce about a different time and era. I can only go by what my eyes see. I see a weak division, one of the weakest ever. I also see Vitali Klitschko as being the only fighter who can possibly stabilize it, despite not believing that he is the next Holmes, Holyfield, or Lewis.

Articles of 2004

2004 Boxing Pound for Pound List



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




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




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 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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