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Articles of 2004

Why We Missed The Battle Of Youngstown

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Since this article was first published in 1997, Harry and Ray have put any animosity behind them.

Let us make believe that it is 1984 again and the management of Ray Mancini decided NOT to defend his W.B.A. lightweight title against Livingstone Bramble. Instead they opt to unify at least part of the championship against cross town rival Harry Arroyo, the I.B.F. title holder. The bout would be held in their home town of Youngstown, Ohio and be televised live nationally. The whole city of Youngstown and its surrounding areas are buzzing with excitement and anticipation. The TV executives predict a bonanza rating since both boxers are proven crowd pleasers. In the days preceding the FIGHT, there is electricity in the air. The city is divided in its loyalty. Mancini seems to be the fans favorite, but Arroyo has a faithful contingent too. The fight has been a sell out for weeks and the local betting has been heavy. This is a bookmaker's dream and Mancini's going off as an 8 to 5 favorite with decent action on the Arroyo short end.

Mancini, short, muscular and aggressive with bread and butter left hook -VS- Arroyo, tall and lean with a stiff jab and a stiffer right cross. What a match up! Alas this possible scenario never took place. Why? Who is at fault, if anyone? Did one boxer avoid the other as has been hinted? Did Ray or his management plan on a payday against Arroyo after a victory over Bramble or is it possible Harry was never in their plans?

To understand this further, let's explore the careers of each boxer. Even as an amateur Ray caught on like wildfire. In his hometown, the son of a former contender, Mancini's story line is very attractive and after turning pro the media blitz was on. Handsome and personable, Mancini had it all. In the ring he was an action fighter. There was never a dull moment when Ray was on the tube. His manager, Dave Wolf, moved him wisely and cautiously. In Ray's only real test preceding a title shot he won a convincing decision over future champion Jose Luis Rameriz. His title fight with Alexis Arguello may have been his finest moment even in a losing effort. Arguello is an all time great and Mancini gave him one of his toughest fights before fading in the fourteenth round.

Ray's title winning performance against mediocre Art Frias and defense against over matched Duk Koo Kim, Orlando Romero and Bobby Chacon did little to enhance his fistic reputation. The loss to Bramble was a real surprise. Had they underestimated Bramble's ability? The fact remains that Mancini never won another professional fight.

Arroyo on the other hand also came up through the amateur ranks, but with much less fanfare than Ray. As a professional, Harry worked his way up the ladder earning a rating with a victory over tough Robin Blake. He secured on I.B.F. title bout with “Choo Choo” Brown and won the crown in a true action fight. Come from behind defense against “White Lightening” Brown and Terrance Alli made Arroyo a TV fan favorite. Unable to entice Ray into the ring with him, Harry fought and lost his crown to Kronkster Jimmy Paul. As in the case of Mancini, Arroyo's career declined rapidly after his title loss. A shocking KO defeat to Sammy Fuentes and a one sided decision loss to then up coming Vinny Pazienza took Harry out of the picture. A one round loss to future junior welter weight champion Loreto Garza relegated Arroyo to rank of an also ran. So by fate the paths of Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and Harry Arroyo never crossed in a professional prize ring.

Arroyo still lives and works in the Youngstown area while Ray now resides on the West coast. Mancini is still idolized in his home and this may have caused some bitterness for Harry. Ray's claim of not wanting to box Harry because of their “friendship” may bear some looking into. According to sources close to Arroyo, the two never even had a cup of coffee together. So much for a friendship that deprived Youngstown of a true super bout. The courage of both men goes unchallenged. The feeling here is that the Bramble loss completely disrupted any of Mancini's future plans. He wanted Bramble again, got him and almost beat him in their rematch.

Arroyo won the I.B.F. crown only two months before Ray's first loss to Bramble. Who knows if the Mancini camp planned to meet with Harry of Ray would have gotten by Bramble. Mancini remained inactive for several years after he lost his title. By the time Ray was ready to box again Harry's star had dimmed considerably and Mancini secured lucrative bouts with Hector Camacho and later Greg Haugen before retiring.

Ray Mancini and Harry Arroyo, both men, champions and winners. The only loser in this story was the hard luck city of Youngstown, Ohio.

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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