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Articles of 2004

Antonio Tarver: He Backed It Up This Time

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It ain't bragging if you do it.” That phrase was coined by former Heavyweight Champ Muhammad Ali back in the 1960's. It basically means you can pop off at the mouth as long as your actions back up your words. Heading into their first fight, Light Heavyweight Champ Antonio Tarver shot his mouth off about what he was going to do to Roy Jones. In their first fight I felt Tarver fought tentative and somewhat glove shy. Tarver had Jones on the brink of defeat and didn't finish the fight like the Champion be proclaimed himself to be. Too me Tarver's lack of grit and determination cost him the fight enabling Jones to pull it out.

Heading into their rematch Tarver picked up the same verbal redderick as the first fight. Basically, Tarver was disrespecting and putting Jones down again. I found much fault with that based on how he fought down the stretch of their previous fight. Well that's history now because in the rematch Tarver did what he said he was going to do. Tarver actually backed up his words with action and devastated Roy Jones in two rounds recapturing the Light Heavyweight title. All I can say is my hat goes off to Mr. Tarver. In my opinion Antonio Tarver has earned the right to brag and pop off at the mouth because he did exactly what he said he was going to do, he kicked Roy Jones' ass. Something that he didn't do back in November of 2003.

Now Tarver must get all due praise for beating Jones beyond all doubt. On top of that Jones has no excuses, at least that are legitimate. He knew what he was up against this time regarding Tarver. Jones and Tarver shared a ring for 12 rounds six months ago and in that fight neither fighter distinguished himself superior over the other. Only the last time Jones had something he doesn't have this time, a legitimate excuse. Last time Jones had to drop 20-25 pounds prior to the fight. The drastic weight loss left him weak and drained, thus hindering his performance during the fight. That was not an excuse last time, it was a fact. Any objective observer could see that Jones was drawn and not the same fighter that Boxing fans had grown accustomed to seeing.

Roy Jones does not have that same luxury this time around. No, this time Jones employed a fitness guru to help him get in great condition. He also had plenty of time to Box and game plan for Tarver, who showed in the last fight that he had a style to give Jones some difficulty. No, Jones has no excuses this time. Tarver beat him fair and square in a very spectacular fashion in the rematch. Tarver showed that he wasn't just speaking words this time by living up to all the bluster he had promised.

On May 15th 2004, Antonio Tarver showed up on a mission. His mission was to prove that he is a better fighter than Roy Jones. His mission was to erase all doubt and leave no unanswered questions. Mission accomplished. In this rematch Tarver not only erased all questions about who is the better fighter between him and Jones, but he did it on a very big night. What makes this even more special for Tarver is that he did it on a night when the burden of proof was on Jones as much as himself. In this fight Tarver was going to get the best of what Jones had to offer. This was because Jones superiority over another fighter had never been questioned before heading into a fight. Throughout Jones' career, it was always assumed that he was the master fighter. It wasn't a case of if he was going to win, but more like when and how. This was certainly not the case versus Tarver because Jones really didn't prove he was the better man in their first fight. For the rematch it was assumed, and rightly so that Jones was definitely bringing his A-game.

In this fight Jones had to have his best because he had a lot on the line. For many this was a career defining fight for Jones. He had to prove he was the better man against Tarver, and he couldn't. Despite being ready for Tarver this time, Jones got taken apart in a fashion that no Boxing fan could've ever imagined. This is a huge win for Tarver. Even though Jones is not what he was two or three years ago, Antonio must be paid homage for beating Jones on a night where Jones had the most to lose. In many facets this was the biggest fight of Jones' career. Jones had to prove that he was the better man against the only fighter who had ever fought him to a virtual standstill in 50 fights. Tarver saw to it that Jones didn't make a statement in the Biggest Spot of his career, and now he's the Light Heavyweight Champ with all the bragging rights any fighter could ever hope to have.

Going into the Jones-Tarver rematch, I definitely felt that Tarver was more than capable of giving Jones a very tough competitive fight, but never did I imagine he was capable of knocking him out. He did what he said he would and can chirp about it all he wants, it's no longer just hollow words. To those like myself who wished he'd shut up prior to the rematch with Jones, now we have to shut up. You won't hear a peep out of me. Tarver beat Roy Jones in a Big Spot, something many including myself didn't think he would do.

Antonio Tarver has gained my respect as being the World's top Light Heavyweight. The fact that he destroyed Roy Jones in one of his signature fights is a monumental accomplishment. That being said, I'm not ready to declare him one of the all time great Light Heavyweight Champions in history. Just the best of today. Although I'm absolutely certain that there is a faction out there that will already speculate on how he could've beat the likes of Bob Foster and Michael Spinks. Today it is in fashion to declare a fighter an all-time great based off of one impressive fight. It happened with Wladimir Klitschko, it happened with Naseem Hamed, it happened with Ricardo Mayorga, no doubt it will happen with Antonio Tarver.

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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