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Articles of 2004

Heavweights Discuss Boxing Battle for Supremacy

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Don King's 'Rendezvous with Destiny: Battle for Supremacy' boxing extravaganza at Madison Square Garden on Saturday features a number of the top contenders in the heavyweight division.

CHRIS BYRD
“Jameel McCline and me are good friends.  Our wives are good friends.  But this is a competition.  And I am really looking forward to the fight.  Style-wise, I love this match-up.  Jameel is the biggest, most athletic guy I have ever fought.  I think when the fans first see us in the ring, they will think he will beat me easily.  But I know how to fight big guys and by the third or fourth round, it will be a different story.

“The key in all my fights is to frustrate the guy in front of me and keep him off balance.  At this level, you cannot take anyone lightly.  This is going to be a great fight.”

HASIM RAHMAN
“I am looking to make a statement.  I don’t just want to win a decision.  I want a devastating knockout.  I feel better and smarter now than ever before.  I have got all the pieces to the puzzle.  It is just a matter of putting them together.  Meehan is a tall, durable guy with a good jab and good speed.  He comes to fight.  But with a world title shot on the line, there is no way he can beat me.”

MARK JANSSEN—KALI MEEHAN’S TRAINER
“We were hoping to get a few more fights under Kali’s belt after he fought Damon Reed.  He has sparred over 200 rounds with the likes of Lamon Brewster, Owen Beck and other great heavyweights leading up to his fight on the undercard of Brewster-Klitschko.  We received the opportunity to fight for the title sooner than we thought, but we had to take the opportunity.  We felt we won the fight.  We got robbed.  It shocked me that he didn’t stop Brewster.  We were just 70 per cent for that fight and we should be at 90 per cent for this fight.  In another six months time, Kali will be at his best.

“Don King had faith in us.  No one had ever heard of us.  Everyone said we were cannon fodder and we were slow as a turtle.  That all motivated us. 

“Brewster was a tougher style for Kali.  Kali is a very good fighter and he will prove that on what he does to Rahman.  Rahman doesn’t handle distance well.  Kali has better all around skills and speed. 

“We were a little tentative against Brewster, but that was a very big moment for us.  We used to fight in a little club in Australia.  Now all of a sudden we hit the bright lights of Las Vegas and we are fighting before a very large crowd on television at Mandalay Bay.  This has been unbelievable for us.  It is like hitting the lotto.  We were making peanuts in Australia.  Now it is limos, Mandalay Bay, Madison Square Garden…it is a Cinderella story.  We have to pinch ourselves.  Is this really happening?

“We were 100 per cent robbed.  They couldn’t give it to Lamon.  I keep looking at the tape again and again and we won that fight.  Lamon is an awesome fighter, but we won that fight.

“Kali started fighting at 13 years old.  His uncle was a fighter.  I have been with Kali for a couple of years.  We were introduced by a mutual friend.  I had been in boxing for many years and then I got to renovating homes for seven years.  Kali and I went for a workout and I felt that we have the makings of a champion here.”

JOHN RUIZ
“I feel my mental focus for this fight is better than it’s ever been. In every single fight I’ve always looked for a win and I just have to go out there and do it all over again.
 
“I’m going to work Golota real hard right from the beginning because I know he’ll get frustrated. Expect me to be very active in the ring, throwing a lot of punches and moving around.”

LARRY DONALD
“I was very heartened by the big turnout today at my media workout in my hometown of Cincinnati.  Everyone came out to support me before I head off to New York.  I’m looking forward to one of the biggest challenges of my career in facing Evander Holyfield in Madison Square Garden on Saturday night.  It can’t get any bigger than that.”

ANDREW GOLOTA
“The reason I am coming in at 235 is because I have to be faster for this fight.

Ruiz will try to make the fight a wrestling match. But I will try to keep him away with the jab. The uppercuts.

”I will try to move as much as possible so he can't hold me and lay on me.

But that is all I can say because I know the Ruiz people are reading the papers.

For me…if I don't win this fight I retire.  I'm getting too old to train this hard for this many weeks for nothing.”  (Golota has been training for 3 months for this fight)

Saturday's Rendezvous with Destiny: Battle for Supremacy extravaganza at Madison Square Garden will be broadcast domestically on HBO Pay-Per-View.

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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