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Articles of 2004

For Shane Mosley, Wright Is Wrong

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In less than a month, former three time champ Shane Mosley 39-3 (35) will take on Undisputed Jr. Middleweight champ Winky Wright 47-3 (25). Wright is the Undisputed champ because last March 13th, he dominated MosIey over 12 rounds and picked up the WBA and WBC belts to go along with his IBF belt.

It wasn't long ago that Mosley was considered one of the top three or four most complete fighters in boxing. Complete is the word I use to describe boxing's best fighters. I think complete better describes a fighter who most consider one of the best pound-for-pound.

However, that was more than three years ago. Mosley hasn't been on much of a winning streak lately, going 1-3 in his last 4 fights. Since abandoning the lightweight division, Mosley has moved up three weight classes. As a lightweight, he was a beast physically. What I liked about Mosley was that he committed to his punches and wasn't always looking to get out. Whenever a fighter commits to his punches, he increases his chances of getting nailed in return. That wasn't a problem for Mosley while fighting at 135. Because he was much stronger than the other lightweights, his leaky defense wasn't a problem.

Mosley has always been there to be hit, especially with straight right hands. Now fighting at Jr. Middleweight, up 20 pounds from lightweight, Mosley hasn't adjusted and his chin ends of being his first and last line of defense. He isn't physically strong enough to take the same chances he used to in the Lightweight division. Now when he gets hit flush, sometimes he is stopped in his tracks. The only top fighter Mosley has looked good against since moving up in weight is Oscar De La Hoya. And that's because De La Hoya boxed Shane and moved away from him. A total contrast from the way Vernon Forrest, who took his Welterweight title, and Winky Wright, who took his Jr. Middleweight title, fought him. Forrest and Wright both took the fight to Mosley. By using their size and strength advantage they walked him down behind their long jabs.

In his last fight against Winky Wright, he lost a one sided decision. Shane had no answers for Wright's size and strength. Being unable to go through Wright physically, he seemed dead in the water. The one thing Mosley hasn't been successful doing throughout his career is adjusting and changing his attack. When Shane is confronted by fighters who were able to neutralize his speed with their size, he stops putting his punches together in combination, and looks for one big right to turn the fight around. If he had the right hand power of Thomas Hearns, that wouldn't be so bad. But he has the right hand power of Shane Mosley, and that's not enough. Against Wright, he got the worst of it when he tried to push the fight and attack, or when he stepped back and tried to box and counter.

When Mosley attempted to pressure Wright, he was greeted by the southpaws jab and sneaky straight lefts on the way in. After eating some hard jabs along with an assortment of hooks and uppercuts, Mosley tried to change his tactic. Instead of trying to pressure Wright, in the hopes of overwhelming him with two and three punch flurries, Mosley tried to step back and make him miss, figuring he could counter and take advantage of his faster hands. Unfortunately for Mosley, Winky is a top pro and knows what he's doing in the ring.

Sensing Mosley's shift in strategy, Wright changed his. Realizing Mosley was fighting more measured and looking to box and counter, Wright pressured him more. With his chin down and hands held high, Wright took advantage of his size and strength and forced Mosley back. By Wright forcing the fight, Mosley couldn't box and counter. He either had to try and fight Winky off, or tie him up to force a break, enabling him to get away and reset. This strategy allowed Mosley to survive, but virtually killed any chances for him to win a decision. Against Winky Wright, Mosley is in a catch-22.

Because Wright has the longer reach, Mosley has to get inside. On the inside Mosley can be the most effective, while at the same time reducing Wright's chances of catching him with anything big. The problem is he can't get inside. He  isn't strong enough to force Wright back, and he takes too many punches on the way in. On top of that, he doesn't have the power to keep Wright from coming at him. By going to Wright, he sets himself up to get caught with a big shot, and possibly stopped. And if he moves away and tries to box and counter, Wright just applies more pressure forcing him to fight or hold. By Wright forcing Mosley back and keeping him on his heels, he knows Mosley can't really hurt him. From a pure style vantage point, Wright holds every advantage.

The upcoming fight with Winky Wright is a must win for Shane Mosley. In Wright, he's facing a fighter who he doesn't match up with, and who is still very hungry. On top of that, Wright is fundamentally sound and loaded with confidence. After the way he controlled Mosley the last time, out boxing and out punching him, he'll be twice as hard to beat this time. And regardless of what anyone says, Mosley has to harbor some self doubt in the back of his mind. If Wright starts off quickly and dictates, it won't be long before Mosley thinks it's the 13th round of the first fight instead of the first round of the rematch.

The Jr. Middleweight division is currently very deep. Excluding his two fights with Oscar De La Hoya, Mosley is 0-3 against the best fighters he's fought since leaving the Lightweight division. If 0-3 becomes 0-4, Mosley will have some very tough decisions to make.

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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