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Articles of 2004

Tszyu – Mitchell Reminds Boxing Fans of Past Rematches

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When Kostya Tszyu and Sharmba Mitchell finally hook up to settle their differences for the undisputed junior welterweight title, it will mark the first of three intriguing, big-time rematches that will highlight boxing in November. Besides Tszyu-Mitchell – a fight that has been postponed more times than anyone cares to remember – Winky Wright and Shane Mosley will get it on again, and Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales will battle for the third and final time.

But if history has anything to do with it, all three November fights will be, well, disappointments compared to the originals. Rarely is a return fight as good as the first fight.

Here are five high-profile rematches, and how they mostly paled compared to their predecessor.

Sugar Ray Leonard KO 8 Roberto Duran, Nov. 25, 1980: The first, dubbed the “Brawl in Montreal” on June 20, 1980, was one of the best fights of that year. And it was also one of the richest non-heavyweight fights of all time. Duran was the legendary Latin lightweight champ moving up to battle America's pretty boy, Leonard. All the elements were right: Leonard was the boxer, Duran the puncher. But the bigger Leonard decided to brawl, and lost a decision – the first of his career. But the strategy switch for Leonard made the fight exciting, with several big exchanges and both fighters being repeatedly stunned. In the rematch, he boxed, using his natural gifts to frustrate Duran. Suddenly, in the 8th round, Duran quit, uttering the infamous words, “No mas”. It ended a strange night in New Orleans that lacked the excitement and electricity of the first.

Sugar Ray Leonard D 12 Thomas Hearns, June 12, 1989: An exception. The first time around, Sept. 16, 1981, resulted in the legendary “Showdown”, in which Leonard the boxer turned puncher and Hearns the puncher turned boxer. It ended with Leonard pounding Hearns helplessly along the ropes in the 14th round. Leonard then retired due to a detached retina, returned twice, and upset Marvin Hagler in the eight-year interim. Hearns had picked up three more world titles, but had seemingly grown old, and was a big underdog in the Las Vegas rematch. But he surprised Leonard by surviving his assaults and dropping him twice, in the second and 11th rounds. The decision was bogus, but Hearns seemed to know that he had gained his revenge. Not as good as the first, but almost.

Julio Cesar Chavez KO 8 Meldrick Taylor, Sept. 17, 1994: The original will forever live in boxing history. It was March 17, 1990, when Chavez, behind on points, knocked out the undefeated Taylor with two seconds remaining in the fight. But the controversy overshadowed the fight itself, which was one of the most brutal in 140-pound history. And while Taylor was winning, he was paying a dear price with his flesh. When Chavez connected with that final right hand, Taylor sunk sickeningly to the deck before somehow rising. Referee Richard Steele thought better of it, and stopped it. After that, Chavez continued to reign supreme before being exposed by Pernell Whitaker and Frankie Randall, and Taylor faltered – unable to exorcise the demons of that fateful night. The pair finally met more than four years later, when both had obviously faded – Taylor much more than Chavez. Taylor started out good enough, but soon tired, and Chavez punished him to the body before knocking him out in the eighth. It was more event than fight.

Evander Holyfield DQ 3 Mike Tyson, June 28, 1997: The first fight was 1996's “Fight of the Year” and “Upset of the Year”. Not only was it a magical night for Holyfield in which the “Real Deal” recaptured his youth against his longtime rival, but it was a heck of a brawl. Holyfield held a lead throughout, but Tyson was always there, threatening to end Holyfield's night with a single bomb. Holyfield flourished down the stretch, but Tyson took his beating standing up. The rematch was originally scheduled for May 3, 1997, but an injury forced it back six weeks to June 28. The crowd was electric, and it was a pay-per-view bonanza. But Tyson destroyed what was turning out to be another good one when he bit Holyfield twice on the ear, getting himself tossed by no-nonsense ref Mills Lane. Some theorize that Tyson pulled the stunt out of frustration, and it did seem that Holyfield was getting the better of him again. Whatever the case, Tyson got himself suspended and never really recovered. For that matter, neither did Holyfield. The fight itself was one of the more disappointing in recent memory.

Shane Mosley W 12 Oscar De La Hoya, Sept. 13, 2003: The first fight, fought on June 17, 2000, was a hotly-contested affair in which Mosley started out slowly before rallying to take De La Hoya, and the WBC welterweight title, down the stretch. But it was a fight in which Mosley, a natural lightweight, was desperate for the limelight that De La Hoya owned. “Sugar Shane” fought like it, and De La Hoya didn't respond like a millionaire. He fought back, and it resulted in an entertaining fight. The rematch was fought three years later, and De La Hoya was a big favorite after stopping rival Fernando Vargas. Mosley had hit hard times with back-to-back losses to Vernon Forrest. As it turned out, both fighters fought as if past their primes. It was slow and a little boring – nothing like the fierce exchanges that were featured in the original. In the end, Mosley won another decision, which was so controversial that De La Hoya himself said he'd launch an investigation. But the reality was that the controversy overshadowed the fight for a reason: It wasn't very good.

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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