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Articles of 2004

Larry Donald's Best And Last Chance

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It was in January of 1993 that former U.S. Olympian Larry Donald turned pro. Since turning pro Donald has compiled a record of 41-3-2 (24). That's a pretty impressive record. However, Donald is best known for losing in the big spot versus the upper-tier heavyweights he's fought. No, he's never been embarrassed or devastated, he's just never won.

In 46 fights as a pro Donald has won a few regional titles, but hasn't fought for a piece of the world title even once. His best wins probably came within a month of each other when he decisioned Jeremy Williams in March and stopped Bert Cooper in April of 1994. His record says he beat former two time heavyweight champ Tim Witherspoon. But that was a 39 year old Witherspoon back in December of 1997, who was nothing close to the same fighter who lost a disputed decision to heavyweight champion Larry Holmes in May of 1983.

Donald was quoted earlier this week saying, “I'm still trying to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.” At age 37 that doesn't appear to be realistic for Donald. However, a win in his next fight may put him closer to a title shot then he's ever been in his career. On November 13th, Donald will fight former four time heavyweight champ Evander Holyfield 38-7-5 (25) at Madison Square Garden in New York City. For the record, the 42 year old Holyfield is also trying to become the undisputed heavyweight champion.

Larry Donald should consider himself lucky. If there was ever a fight for him to finally clear the hurdle and earn a title shot, it's November 13th against Holyfield. Fighting Evander Holyfield in Madison Square Garden on a card that will feature at least half of the world's top ten ranked heavyweights is about as good as it could get for Donald, especially at age 37. If he doesn't bring his A-game and fight with a sense of urgency against a totally shot Holyfield, shame on him.

At his best Evander Holyfield was an all-time great fighter and would have been a threat to win the title during any era in heavyweight history. In fact, only one fighter has captured the heavyweight title since the end of the Ali era who ranks above Holyfield in my opinion, Larry Holmes. Luckily for Larry Donald that Holyfield is long gone. The only thing remaining in the Holyfield of 2004 is the name. Evander hasn't been anything close to the great fighter he once was since November of 1997 when he stopped Michael Moorer in defense of his WBA and WBC titles.

At 6'4″ and weighing in the 225-230 pound range, aided by an 81 inch reach, Donald has plenty of things in his arsenal to give Holyfield a tough night, provided he's in great shape. At this stage of his career, Holyfield has no legs, is vulnerable to a sustained body attack, and is barely capable of fighting in spurts let alone a full round. In all honesty, Holyfield hasn't fought a full round in since his first fight with Mike Tyson in November of 1996.

Maybe the biggest thing Donald has going for him is the fact that Holyfield can't get his punches off. In his last fight against James Toney, this was painfully obvious. Some think it was Toney who made Holyfield look bad. I disagree, and here's why. During his fight with Toney, there were several times that Toney was right there in front of Holyfield and wasn't punching or moving. And despite not having to look for him or facing any resistance, Holyfield still couldn't pull the trigger. You could actually see him going through the thought process of what he wanted to do. By the time he was finally set, Toney either beat him to the punch or was gone.

This is the opportunity of a lifetime for Larry Donald. This isn't Riddick Bowe of 1994, or an undefeated Kirk Johnson who is standing in his path. The last time Donald was on the verge of getting a title shot, he was stopped for the first time in his career by Vitali Klitschko in the 10th round. Now Vitali is the WBC heavyweight champ and thought to be the most formidable heavyweight in the world by many of boxing's top observers.

The Evander Holyfield who will look to win his first fight in over two years against Larry Donald can no longer fight at anything close to the championship level. Holyfield's last victory came against Hasim Rahman back in June of 2002. However, beating him and having his name in your win column still carries clout. Chris Byrd solidified his title claim by out-boxing a severely eroded Holyfield in December of 2002. James Toney is now the hottest fighter in the heavyweight division, based mainly off of his victory over an even more spent version of Holyfield than the one Byrd beat a year earlier.

Larry Donald has never fought for the heavyweight title and is considered by many to be an underachiever. A win over Holyfield almost guarantees him a fight with one of the three heavyweight champs promoted by Don King. In a twist of fate, Larry Donald's last chance is actually his best chance.

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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