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Articles of 2004

Don't Do It Lennox

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Let me just say that if Lennox Lewis comes out of his brief retirement to fight newly crowned WBC Champ Vitali Klitschko, nobody will have been more wrong than me! If Lewis fights Klitschko, I will have completely misjudged him. I for one felt that Lewis got out of boxing at the perfect time. He is one of the few Heavyweight's Champions who came out on top in every way possible. I really believed and thought he was different then the others and could resist the lies that his healed body and mind are whispering to him.

Lennox Lewis left Boxing as the World's top Heavyweight. In his last fight as Champ he beat the fighter that many thought was going to be the heir apparent in Vitali Klitschko. Lewis also has his money and achieved respect as a great fighter on top of never facing a fighter he couldn't beat. Coming back and beating Klitschko again would prove absolutely nothing. Winning the title again won't improve his standing as an all-time great. And if he lost to Klitschko, I'm not sure his legacy could take the hit historically. Again, he already beat Vitali in June of 2003.

I don't want to hear the crap that Klitschko was leading on the cards when the fight was halted, they only fought six rounds. The bottom line is Vitali couldn't continue. He couldn't continue because Lewis busted his face up with his two gloved fist. It's not like Lewis kicked him, or bit him, or head butted him. He busted his face apart with solid punches, that's why Klitschko couldn't continue. The fact that Vitali was leading in the scoring proves nothing other than he was a more than worthy challenger. The fight was only half over. Nobody knows how those last six rounds would have played out, nobody. In the end Lewis beat Vitali Klitschko on a night that he may have been the least prepared of any night during his title tenure. On the other hand, it was one of Vitali's best nights. Lewis gains nothing by beating Klitschko in a rematch, and his legacy takes a hit if he loses. Remember, he's only been retired a short time, it's not like other cases where the returning Champ was coming back after a lengthy lay off. Lewis won't be afforded such an excuse.

And to those who think that I'm some Lennox Lewis apologist, you couldn't be more wrong. I'm someone who believes that over the last 30 years, Ali and Holmes would've tortured him, Foreman would've gone through him, and prime Holyfield was better and should rank ahead of him. I'm not even sure prime Lewis was better than prime Bowe, but acknowledge he must be considered the better fighter due to his long list of accomplishments.

No, I'm a boxing purist. Lewis has worked too hard and long to risk his legacy becoming spotted for money and trying to please the fans. Another title won't make anyone view Lewis in a higher standing than he is currently viewed. Money can't buy a legacy. Legacy is something I personally wish more of the great fighters cared about, however I guess it's hard to turn down 30 or 40 million dollars, I wouldn't know and I doubt anyone reading this knows either.

Lewis is in the enviable position of actually seeing his legacy grow more and more if he never returns. Like with Larry Holmes, the more time goes by the more Lewis will get the deserved accolades that great fighters receive. There can be no denying that when a fighter goes out on a winning note, his legacy seems to endure better. Seeing a fighter having his hands raised in his last fight always endures the test of time.

When you never see a fighter get shellacked at the end of his career, it's hard to envision it when you match him up in mythical fights with past greats. That's why Marciano's memory is so enduring. It's easy to say he fought a lot of old greats, but the fact that he always found a way of getting it done makes it easier to believe that in the mythical match ups in our mind, he would've found a way. There's just something about seeing a great fighter winning in his final bout.

The risk reward for Lewis is not worth it. Not that this would happen to Lewis versus Klitschko, but look what the Tyson fight did to Michael Spinks. The last memory anyone has of Michael Spinks is him getting destroyed in 91 seconds. Nobody will ever convince me that losing his last fight in a spectacular fashion hasn't hurt him somewhat? It definitely hasn't with me, but I know I don't speak for the majority. Same with Sugar Ray Leonard. Those who want to shred his legacy love pointing out how Terry Norris and Hector Camacho took him apart. They never mention his age when he was beaten by them. Leonard and Spinks are both in the top five of all time Welterweight and Light Heavyweight Champions, yet in some circles they are admonished because of how they fared in their last fight. I don't think it is a bit fair, but neither is life.

I want to see one great Heavyweight Champ in my lifetime stick to his words just once and not fall prey to mother nature and father time. Lewis has worked hard and long to build his legacy as a great. He managed his career brilliantly in and out of the ring and beat the system in many ways. However, the fact that he was knocked out by one punch twice and lost the title is something only he can claim. Even though only Louis, Ali, and Holmes have won more Heavyweight title bouts than him, his two one punch knock out loses hold him back in the overall pantheon to some. I don't think his legacy could withstand that type of scenario again.

Rocky Marciano turned down a fortune to fight Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston. Some short sighted fans try to say he was afraid, which is idiotic at best. The fact is it was very smart decision. He hadn't fought in years, those two were at or close to their prime. He was smart enough and not delusional enough to try and convince himself that he could be the same fighter in 1960-61 as he was in 1953-54. He didn't sell out because he didn't want either Patterson or Liston to be able to say they defeated him when all they really beat was the name. For anyone to infer that he was afraid is simply a ridiculous and uninformed opinion. Just like Marciano beat Louis, Johnson did Jeffries, Holmes did Ali, and Tyson did Holmes, Rocky knew that the legacy is forever and it outlast the money, why risk tarnishing it if you don't need the money. The Marciano detractors can piss and moan all they want about who would've or could've beat him, but nobody ever did and that holds a lot of weight.

Gene Tunney made one defense of the title after beating Dempsey in their rematch and retired champion and never fought again. The most poignant memory we have of Tunney is him beating Dempsey. Joe Louis retired Champ and came back to get schooled by Ezzard Charles and mutilated by Marciano, but poor Joe needed the money, Lennox doesn't. Ali regained the title from Spinks in 1978 and came back and was taken apart by Holmes in 1980. Ali succumbed to his ego, and couldn't turn down the money. Evander Holyfield won the title back and defended it against Mike Tyson in 1996 and 1997 and he is still fighting. Since beating Tyson, he has lost to Lewis, Ruiz, Byrd, and Toney. I don't know what he's thinking. Imagine how differently he'd be thought of if he left after beating Tyson in the rematch. If time didn't stand still for Louis, Ali, Holmes, Holyfield, Leonard–both Leonards–along with other past greats, it sure as hell isn't going to make an exception for Lennox Lewis.

I know the drive and determination that the greats exhibit is who and what they are. I just wish it didn't come back to hurt and destroy them all the time. After reading what Lewis and Klitschko have said over the past week, I feel it's just a matter of time before Lewis joins Jeffries, Louis, Ali, Holmes, and Holyfield in another way, as fighters who were too good for their own good. The way I see it, Lewis already proved that he is the better fighter than Vitali Klitschko. Anyone who has watched both of them at their best can only draw that conclusion. Lewis was the better boxer and puncher who was more versatile. Lewis has won 15 Heavyweight title bouts compared to Vitali's one, (I'm not counting the WBO). On top of that he has already beaten Vitali up so he couldn't continue. He has nothing to gain or prove by coming back and fighting him, nothing.

Former Heavyweight Champion Joe Frazier has one of the best sayings I've ever heard when it comes to describing Boxing. It goes something like this, “Boxing is the only sport where you can get your brains shook, your money took, and name in the undertaker's book.” Lennox Lewis was lucky enough to avoid all three of those pleasantries. I say blaze the path of Tunney and Marciano and be remembered for going out on top! I say ignore those lying thoughts and voices and stay retired allowing your legacy to continue to foster and grow. You may never be in this position again if you come back. Enjoy the good life that you have made for yourself and kickback and smell the roses. Let the rest of us argue and debate whether or not you would've beat Klitschko if you fought him again! If you never fight again your legacy will only continue to become more legendary. That is something that can never be taken away.

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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