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Articles of 2004

A Feeling On Andrew Golota

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One of my biggest frustrations in life is being right when I wanted to be wrong. What makes this a double whammy for me is this usually unfolds letter perfect when the thing I feel will happen is something I don't want to. I have that feeling about one of my least favorite fighters, Andrew Golota. I can forgive almost anything once, but Golota has flat-out quit in more than a few of his biggest fights while being paid millions of dollars. Every time I see some four round fighter get up again and again for a couple hundred dollars, I think of him quitting.

Golota's last misdeed came in October 2000 in his fight with Mike Tyson—a fight he quit in between the second and third round. The fight ended with Golota fighting with his trainer Al Certo, telling Certo that he was not going out for the third round. Just as I asked then, when is the last time anyone saw a fighter at any level tell their corner he's not fighting anymore? I often wonder what went through the mind of warriors like Saad, Holyfield, Frazier, and Gatti when they witnessed Golota submit?

Golota retired from boxing after the Tyson fight in October, 2000. In August of 2003 he returned to the ring and stopped Brian Nix. Two months later he stopped Terrence Lewis. In February of this year Golota signed a promotional contract with Don King. Two short months after signing with King, Golota fought IBF heavyweight champion Chris Byrd, who is also promoted by King. Golota said before the fight that his past was behind him and he knew this was his last chance to right his career. Golota showed up for the fight with Byrd in great shape, and never looked more cut. Against possibly the trickiest fighter in the division stylistically, Golota fought well and never came close to losing his composure. The fight was extremely close and was declared a draw when the judges’ scores were tabulated.

Based on his good showing against Byrd, Golota has been given another title shot. On November 13th Golota will fight WBA heavyweight champ John Ruiz. This is a great opportunity for Golota, because on paper he matches up well with Ruiz style-wise, assuming he doesn't implode mentally. Golota has size, strength, and the ability to put two and three punch combinations together to compliment his better than average boxing skills.

Ruiz is a tough mauler who is physically stronger than he looks or is given credit for. He's not a big puncher and usually doesn't land many clean shots on his opponents. One of the problems for Ruiz in this fight is that he's right there to be hit and often leads with his face. Which means Golota, who is pretty accurate with his punches, will not have much trouble tagging him.

I see Ruiz vulnerable to fighters who can punch, as we saw in his fight with David Tua. The fact that he's not hard to hit leaves him a sitting duck for a good puncher. The other style Ruiz is vulnerable to is a good boxer with speed, as was the case in his fight with Roy Jones. Obviously Golota doesn't punch like Tua, and isn't as fast or the boxer that Jones is. But he combines them better than any fighter Ruiz has faced recently.

Heading into his last fight with Chris Byrd, I had a very strong feeling Golota would bring his A-game and begin the resurrection of his career. And that's exactly what he did. Against Byrd, I figured he would hold up emotionally. Since Byrd wasn't a puncher, Golota wasn't concerned about getting knocked out or embarrassed. And the fact that he was three inches taller and thirty pounds heavier than Byrd helped him psychologically.

Right now the heavyweight division is starving for something to get excited about. And I don't think the November 13 Heavyweight card in New York lessens the hunger. Lewis-Klitschko was the last heavyweight fight that really stimulated boxing fans. And that was in June of 2003.

Presently, Vitali Klitschko is viewed by most fight observers as the most formidable heavyweight in the world. What other heavyweight brings enough to the table to get excited about seeing him confront Klitschko? If you inflate the case for one or two of them, maybe you could hype the fight. However, I'd bet a focused Andrew Golota would generate some excitement?

I'm not a believer in the so-called bigger heavyweights of today. But in Klitschko's case, it may be a lot of why he's the top fighter in the division. He has the toughness and just enough skill to beat the other real big heavyweights, and he is too big and strong for the others. That's why Golota is part of the perfect storm that may be coming together in boxing's flagship division. Golota has the size, power, and boxing skill to present Vitali with a challenge. That is provided he doesn't show up on fight night already defeated. Something that can't be ruled out as a possibility based on his past. The pressure of a big fight is something he hasn't been able to cope with.

My feeling is Golota is more serious and determined than he's ever been in his career. He is well aware of what the stakes are and that this is his best and last shot to win a piece of the title. John Ruiz is a tough fighter and has been an overachiever in the heavyweight division. However, I think it's Golota's time and think he'll be a title holder soon. Again, just a gut feeling and I wouldn't be upset if I end up being wrong.

In boxing, things have a way of working out so the best fights can be made. Klitschko-Toney would be compelling, but the way Toney's body is breaking down, nothing is written in stone with him. Nobody wants to see Klitschko-Ruiz or Klitschko-Byrd. It's hard to make a case favoring either Ruiz or Byrd over Klitschko. On the other hand, Golota has the size and skill to make it interesting against Klitschko.

I see Klitschko-Golota as a major attraction in today's pedestrian heavyweight division. I have a feeling after Ruiz-Golota and Klitschko-Williams, the talk of Drago vs.Drago will begin. And that has Klitschko-Golota written all over it.

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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