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Articles of 2004

The Boxing Drought is Almost Over

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Hold on boxing fans, you've nearly made it through this dry spell that rivals any drought that the Sahara Desert has experienced. Since Felix Trinidad's emphatic return to the ring three weeks ago at the Madison Square Garden against Ricardo Mayorga, boxing has taken an early hibernation.

But as the leaves turn and the calendar turns to the month of November, boxing finishes with a flourish and embarks on an unusually busy end to the calendar year. Starting on the first weekend of November till mid-December, you'll see a downpour of high-profile fights.

NOVEMBER 6TH

Kostya Tszyu- Sharmba Mitchell II: This is an eagerly anticipated rematch that has been postponed twice in the past year. Their first bout, which took place in 2001, was a hard-fought and competitive contest that saw Tszyu win by TKO as Mitchell had to call it a day with a bum left knee.

Regardless of what the sanctioning bodies say, Tszyu is still the recognized jr. welterweight champion of the world. But, while Mitchell has stayed busy and bided his time, Tszyu has not fought since stopping Jesse James Leija in early 2003.

When they finally meet again (knock on wood), this is a battle between the two premiere 140-pounders in the world.

NOVEMBER 13TH

Chris Byrd- Jameel McCline, John Ruiz-Andrew Golota, Hasim Rahman-Kali Meehan, Evander Holyfield- Larry Donald: This pay-per-view card being put on by Don King features his squadron of heavyweight titlists in pretty competitive bouts, but in truth, this really a high profile 'Heavyweight Explosion.'

And call me a sicko – I've been called worse – but there's a part of me that is actually looking forward to the streetfight between Ruiz and Golota. The only thing missing when these two hook-up at the Madison Square Garden will be the chains and knives.

And while this isn't exactly the golden age of heavyweight boxing, it's still good to see the best face each other in any division – even the heavyweights.

NOVEMBER 20TH

Winky Wright-Shane Mosley II: The only reason this bout is being made is because it has to happen contractually. Let's be realistic, their first hook-up in March was so lopsided in Wright's favor that many believe a return match isn't warranted at this time.

But there is some drama involved here, still. Can Mosley make the proper adjustments with new trainer Joe Goossen to turn the tide? Also, if Mosley should drop another fight to Wright, is his career as a world class prizefighter over?

NOVEMBER 27TH

Marco Antonio Barrera- Erik Morales III: Hey, does anything personify the spirit of Thanksgiving and the holidays like two heated rivals beating the hell out of each other?

To boxing fans, no.

Barrera and Morales are the Mexican version of the Hatfields and McCoys. The bottom line is that they have an absolute hatred for each other and you figure that no matter what stage of their careers they are at, they will always bring their 'A' game to the table when they square off.

Now, you hope that this trilogy doesn't go the way of Chiquita Gonzalez-Michael Carbajal, a series that got more tepid as it went along. But, you never know, it could go the way of Ali-Frazier, which after a historic first meeting, had a rather dull rematch, before the memorable 'Thrilla in Manila.'

DECEMBER 4TH

Jose Luis Castillo- Joel Casamayor, Jeff Lacy-Omar Sheika, Samuel Peter-Jeremy Williams: This tripleheader, which will be televised on Showtime is your classic 'fight fans card.' No, it won't attract anyone outside your usual die-hards, but it figures to be an attractive card top-to-bottom.

Castillo, is considered by many to be the premiere lightweight in the world, and he faces the classy Casamayor. Lacy faces the shopworn, but still heavy-handed Sheika in his first defense of his IBF super middleweight crown. And then Peter, 'the Nigerian Nightmare' (with apologies to Christian Okoye) faces his first test when he fights the resurgent Jeremy Williams.

There are dueling shows this night as HBO will be televising Jermain Taylor-William Joppy. While Joppy is a recognizable name in the middleweight division, you wonder just how much is left in his gas tank after the frightful beatings he has taken against the likes of Felix Trinidad and Bernard Hopkins.

DECEMBER 11TH

Vitaly Klitschko- Danny Williams: Williams is here because of his upset win over Mike Tyson in the summer. He tries to play the role of giant killer again when he faces Klitschko, the current WBC heavyweight champion.

Klitschko always seemed to play second fiddle to his more highly acclaimed brother Wladimir, and while he may lack his grace and offensive skill, he possesses certain things that Wladimir lacks, namely the ability to take a punch. He's come a long way since he was dubbed ' Quitschko' for his calling it a day against Chris Byrd in 2000.

DECEMBER 18TH

Antonio Tarver-Glen Johnson: OK, this match-up has not been finalized, but it is being discussed seriously.

But if it does happen, being in the middle of December and the start of the college bowl season, this bout should be dubbed 'the Roy Jones Bowl' as both Tarver and Johnson have shattered the myth of 'RJ.'

Currently, these two are universally recognized as the top two light heavyweights in the world. Both fighters are out to prove that their wins over Jones were no fluke.

Now, by this time our thirst for boxing should be satisfied.

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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