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Articles of 2004

Kali Meehan: Make, Break or Mismatch?



On November 13th at Madison Square Garden, Hasim Rahman and Kali Meehan meet to determine whether “Checkmate” Meehan has the right moves or if “The Rock” Rahman will continue his roll. Upon reviewing the resumes of each fighter, this fight looks to be a make or break it type for both. It also could be a decided mismatch.

Kali Meehan appears to be in grossly over his head in taking on the former champion Rahman. Whereas Rahman has fought the best of the best, Meehan had fought nothing better than Australian pugs until meeting Lamon Brewster in his last fight. What seems to be overlooked in the fight with Brewster is that, while it was an entertaining bout between two former sparring partners, Meehan lost.

So starved is boxing’s heavyweight division these days that fighters are rewarded for losing. Danny Williams blew out Meehan in one single round in his only real test prior to fighting Brewster in September. Meehan was able to parlay the Williams loss into a WBO Heavyweight title shot by pointing to Williams after he knocked out Mike Tyson and saying, “See, I’m not that bad, he beat Tyson too!”  Then again, we all seem to have forgotten the shadow of a fighter that “Rusty Iron” Mike Tyson has become.

As losing begets title shots, Meehan was rewarded with the right to fight for the WBO title against Lamon Brewster who got his title, in reality, from a fight he lost. While the record books show Lamon Brewster W TKO5 over Wladimir Klitschko, those who saw the fight witnessed Brewster being beaten for most of the five rounds. Brewster never won the fight, Klitschko lost it. For four full rounds, Brewster absorbed heavy shots from the mammoth Ukrainian and was fortunate that Klitschko ran out of gas and couldn’t even make it back to his own corner as the fifth ended. If the strategy was to allow Klitschko to beat him from pillar to post, it worked like a charm. Brewster can take a punch and that is one heck of an attribute in boxing, especially as a heavyweight, it’s just that champions are usually made of a bit more.

Prior to the Klitschko Collapse, you have to really debate the merits of what Brewster had done. His biggest wins were against the likes of Nate Jones and Tommy Martin, who aren’t even close to being the best of the division’s best. The Indianapolis fighter who now calls Los Angeles home was unable to outbox neither Clifford Etienne nor Charles Shufford in losing unanimous decisions in those bouts. Still, Brewster got a title shot and made the most of it. Now Meehan lost to the man who fell into a championship belt and will go on to test Rahman.

Hasim Rahman has fought the likes of Lennox Lewis – twice, David Tua – twice, John Ruiz, Evander Holyfield, and Oleg Maskaev. To say Rahman was unlucky in a few of those fights is a bit of an understatement. He was out-boxing David Tua for the first nine rounds of their first fight before being rocked after the bell, and was knocked out on still-shaky legs once the tenth started. In the rematch with Tuaman he won the fight, but the judges saw fit to call it a “draw.” Rahman was ahead on all cards against Maskaev when he was knocked out of the ring by a vicious right late in the bout. Against Holyfield a grotesque growth emerged from his forehead thanks to either a Holyfield punch or head butt, depending which version of the truth you subscribe to.

In South Africa Rahman took advantage of a distracted Lennox Lewis to win the WBC, IBF and WBO Heavyweight titles in the ‘upset’ of the year. In the rematch he gave them back as quickly as he won them in the “payback” fight of the year. Still, Rahman has been in with world-class boxers and has won. He seems to be dedicated to getting back to that championship form and has been extremely active as a means to get there, having fought four times already this year. Perhaps most notable from those four wins – three of which came by second round knockout – is that he has been kinder to the Toledo scales each time out, dropping nearly 10 pounds from his first fight of 2004 to his most recent outing.

Rahman, 39-5-1 with 32 KO’s, possesses one of the best jabs in the heavyweight division and comes behind it with a jackhammer right hand. When he works the jab he is nearly impenetrable as it can rock his opponents back on their feet. The jab alone was enough to drop Terrance Lewis and end their fight in July.

Meehan, 29-2-0 and 23 KO’s, will try to avoid being the sacrificial lamb on the heavyweight pay-per-view showcase. His claim to fame so far is that he lost to Brewster,  and his upright stance and lack of mobility are tailored for the heavy-fisted Rahman. He was tried and found wanting against Danny Williams, having failed to see the end of the first round against the hard-hitting Brit.

Kali Meehan has already lost his way into – no, not out of, but ‘into’ – the Top 10 of the WBC Heavyweight rankings and finds himself two spots ahead of #7 Danny Williams. Yes, that Danny Williams who has only lost two pro fights and starched Meehan in 32 seconds.

If Meehan fails against Rahman he will likely disappear into the same “out of nowhere” that he came from before the Brewster bout. Should Rahman lose it will likely spell the end of the championship dreams for a fighter who never really loved his work in the first place.

It truly is a make it or break it fight for both fighters as Meehan will either be exposed as a fraud or Rahman will fall flat on the big stage once again. On paper Kali Meehan looks to be custom made for Hasim Rahman and in way over his head. “The Rock” has the superior hand speed, power and pedigree that suggests this one is a mismatch.

Articles of 2004

2004 Boxing Pound for Pound List



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




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




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 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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