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Articles of 2004

Evander Holyfield: Most Significant Heavyweight of the 90's

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Fourteen years ago on October 25, 1990, Evander Holyfield became the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World. Holyfield turned pro in 1984 and won the Cruiserweight title in July of 1986 from the very tough and formidable Champ, Dwight Muhammad Qawi, in only his 12th fight. Many historians regard the Qawi-Holyfield title bout the best Cruiserweight fight in the history of the division. Something I fully endorse.

As Cruiserweight champ, Holyfield spoke often about fighting for and winning the Heavyweight title. At that time not many viewed that as realistic. Most fans and boxing writers were becoming intoxicated by the emergence of a twenty year old Heavyweight named Mike Tyson. Tyson was going through the Heavyweight division in much the same manner that Joe Louis did before he was stopped by former champ, Max Schmeling.

Holyfield was easily accepted and regarded as being head and shoulders above any other Cruiserweight in the world. It was only when he talked about fighting Tyson for the Heavyweight title that he wasn't taken seriously. The thought of Tyson losing to another Heavyweight wasn't even a thought, let alone a Cruiserweight who was built like a super-fit Light Heavyweight.

The presence of Tyson practically engulfed Holyfield. Even in a Heavyweight division with no Tyson, Holyfield was viewed as being too small and light physically. Another common belief was he lacked the strength and punch needed to defeat the upper-tier Heavyweights. Despite the doubts and negativism hurled his way, he was never deterred and continued cleaning out the Cruiserweight division.

After a couple of years of speculation, Holyfield abandoned the Cruiserweight division and began fighting as a Heavyweight. In March of 1989, not even a full year after moving up to Heavyweight, Holyfield scored his biggest win when he stopped former WBA Heavyweight Champ Michael Dokes in the 11th round. The Holyfield-Dokes fight was one of the better Heavyweight fights in recent memory. Holyfield had his hands full with Dokes and was tested physically and mentally throughout the fight. By the end of 1989, Holyfield proved he was at least a man among men in the Heavyweight division.

When the first Heavyweight ratings of 1990 came out, Evander Holyfield was first in line for a shot at Mike Tyson's undisputed Heavyweight title. By mid January of 1990, Holyfield was on the verge of signing to fight Tyson. The only obstacle remaining was Tyson had to beat Buster Douglas in his next title defense in early February. Since Douglas never beat a top Heavyweight prior to fighting Tyson, and folded in his last title shot against Tony Tucker, Tyson beating Douglas looked like the safest bet in history.

On February 10th, 1990, Tyson was knocked out in the tenth round by the 42-1 underdog, Buster Douglas. After months of lawsuits, broken contracts, and buy outs, resulting from Douglas' contract with Don King, Douglas was finally free from him. Douglas signed to make his first title defense against number one contender Evander Holyfield for 25 million dollars at the Mirage in Las Vegas.

On the night of October 25th, 1990, Evander Holyfield knocked out Buster Douglas with a perfectly timed right hand counter in the third round to become undisputed Heavyweight Champion of the World. In his first defense, Holyfield won a unanimous decision over 42 year old former Champ George Foreman, the same Foreman that Mike Tyson declined to fight in June of 1990. Holyfield's second defense was scheduled to be against Mike Tyson in November of 1991. The fight was cancelled when Tyson injured his rib training.

From 1990-99, Evander Holyfield was the most important and significant Heavyweight in the world. Holyfield was involved in just about every big PPV Heavyweight bout during the 1990's. He fought everybody and gave boxing some of its most thrilling and exciting fights as champion. Seven of his fights between 1992 and 1999 were against the three greatest Heavyweights of the era—Riddick Bowe, Mike Tyson, and Lennox Lewis.

Holyfield lost and won the title from Bowe, won it and defended it against Tyson, and drew with and lost it to Lewis. He also fought every other top Heavyweight in the division. Despite being the smaller fighter in stature in just about all of his fights as Heavyweight champ, he was always the biggest man in the ring.

At his best he could fight non-stop, and had the ability and savvy to change and adjust his style depending on the opponent. He had a way of figuring out what his opponent didn't want to do, and gave him as much of that as he could.  Inside his chest was the heart of a champion, and he could never be counted out in any fight. Not to mention he had a cast iron chin and a will to win that exceeded his own limitations.

Evander Holyfield was thought to be too small and lacking the strength and power to ever be a top Heavyweight fighter in the 1990's. Not only did he prove he was a legitimate Heavyweight, in my opinion, when at his best only former Champ Larry Holmes ranks above him in the last 25 years.

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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