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Articles of 2004

Lord of the Ring: Kostya Tszyu stops Mitchell in three

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For two years, many have contended that Kostya Tszyu’s absence from the ring had kept the rest of the junior welterweight division on hold. After three rounds in Arizona Saturday night, he put everyone right back on alert.

Finishing what he started three years ago, Kostya Tszyu returned to the ring after a twenty-two month layoff to drop rival Sharmba Mitchell four times en route to a third round stoppage Saturday night in the main event at the Glendale Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The win reaffirms Tszyu’s position as the best in boxing's fully-loaded junior welterweight division, while Mitchell is forced to ponder his next move at age thirty-three, as tonight proved to be “Finished Business” on Showtime.

Known for being a slow starter, Tszyu uncharacteristically raced off of his stool nearly three-quarters across the ring to meet Mitchell at the start of the contest. Sharmba quickly adjusted, working behind his jab and offering a lot of movement early, as expected. Left hands were the main weapon of choice for the interim IBF titlist throughout the round, as he proved to be effective over the first two minutes. Tszyu was able to score with occasional uppercuts and left hooks, but seemed to be getting slightly outworked over the course of the frame.

A clash of heads in the final minute of the round produced a cut over the left eye of Tszyu. Most would panic, and in some instances fold, under such circumstances. For the long reigning leader in the deepest division in the sport, it served as little more than a motivator to get to the job done.

“Nothing concerns me in here,” explained Tszyu of his reaction to the cut, which was ruled in between rounds by referee Raul Caiz as an accidental head butt. “Anything can happen to the hands or face… it’s a tough business.”

Mitchell was about to find out just how tough the business – and Tszyu’s right hand- could be. Having won the first round, Sharmba looked to build on his early lead, landing an uppercut to start the round. After a series which including clinches and borderline low shots on the referee’s blindside, Mitchell got caught with a Tszyu right uppercut. A straight right hand moments later rocked Mitchell, who would eventually go down from an ensuing flurry.  Sharmba beat the count, but could not seem to regain his composure.

“He caught me with a real good punch, and I just couldn’t catch my head,” Mitchell described in the post-fight interview. “But one thing I would do is fight on. I’m a warrior… if I go down, I’m gonna get back up.”

That he did, though it proved to merely prolong the inevitable.

Confident that the tide had permanently shifted his way, Tszyu came out for the third looking for the kill. A right hand seconds in stunned Mitchell, with a follow-up right flooring him for the second time in the contest. Once again, he beat the referee’s count, but once again, Tszyu was able to close the gap and score with a big right. To his credit, Mitchell bravely fought back, landing a right hook to escape from the corner, though it wasn’t enough to stop the champion from finishing the job.

A right hand backed Mitchell to the ropes, where he was met with a right and a left to the body. Two follow up rights would produce the second knockdown of the round and third of the fight. For the third time, Mitchell got up, but would return to the canvas seconds later, courtesy of straight rights from Tszyu. This time, Caiz offered no count, waving the bout off with just twelve seconds to go in the third round.

Though he was pleased to be done with the night after only three rounds, even Tszyu was surprised with the early success he had, especially with the right hand.

“I never expected to reach so early in the fight with the right hand. With my left hand, yes. But not with the right. But… we spent a lot of time working on this particular punch, and it’s working out.”

It has certainly worked out well for the past seven years, as Tszyu is now 13-0 (12KO) since his lone career loss to Vince Phillips. His record overall stands at 31-1, 1 NC (25 KO), and with the endless list of names at 140, his future never looked brighter. Though for whom he elects to fight remains to be seen

“I want only big fights,” proclaimed Tszyu to Showtime’s Jim Gray during the post-fight interview. “If you guys show me the big fights, let’s do the business again. Otherwise, we’ll have to consider something else.”

For the moment, that is exactly what Team Mitchell will be doing.

“It wasn’t my night tonight,” said Mitchell, gracious in defeat, his first since the injury stoppage loss to Tszyu three years ago as he now falls to 55-4 (31KO). “I shall move up (to welterweight) and go on. I’m able to fight another day.”

After the first knockdown, Tszyu was somewhat surprised to see Mitchell get up to fight another round.

“He took tremendous shots, and to come back from those punches and fight the rest of the round. I take my hat off to him. He’s a great champion.”

For Sharmba, the feeling was mutual, despite all of the negative comments that have surfaced through the press in the past.

“One thing we (fighters) all understand, is that this is a business. That’s what I told him after the fight, that for me, it’s never personal… it’s about getting the business done, about getting the money and fighting each other.”

Thirty-nine months after their first contest, they once again did just that. After less than minutes of action, Tszyu once again won.

After twenty-two months, the rest of the junior welterweight division once again has its ruler back.

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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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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